How do I find a rescue?
Internet searches and asking at Your local shelters or avian vets are the best way to find small rescues - many have to survive by word of mouth or a small website because they don't have the money to print up flyers, place ads, etc. because their money goes to the birds. Be sure you find out their mission statements, etc. though, because there definitely "rescues" out there that are looking to take in free birds and make money adopting them out. On the other side of that equation: Mickaboo spends an average of $5k a month on vet care. ANY bird we take in that needs vet care gets it, many rescues don't do this - and we never raise the fees for any particular bird that required excessive vet care before adoption. We pay all those costs up to the time the bird is adopted.
What's with the home visit?
I'm not adopting a child, what are they looking for, a spare bedroom painted pink? Many folks (including myself)
will draw the line right there and just go buy a bird. Many responsible and capable bird folks are lost with just this one requirement.
No, you're not adopting a child - but you are taking on a life that will be with you for potentially longer than you live and which is as complex a creature as many children. The home visit Mickaboo requires is to make sure that what the people put on their application is true. We've had people put down they have no other pets, to find they breed dogs (but they're not "pets" they tell us), who do smoke in the house (or the one family that said they don't smoke but failed to mention you can smell the incense they burn from the street), to be sure the house is clean (tidy is optional) - we dont' poke into every closet, or ask to see every room. We want to know that the bird is going to a safe environment and that the family has room for the bird they want.
Why are their restrictions on which species of bird I can adopt?
The restriction commonly placed on prospective adopter's on which birds they are capable of adopting. What? You never had a big bird, and you want a macaw? Hmmm, well how about a nice little conure? We can't give you a
big bird unless you have big bird experience. If I already had big bird experience, I'd likely already have a big bird given their life expectancy.
Mickaboo now has this rule (we didn't used to) because of the sheer number of big birds that end up coming back to us when people take in a macaw or amazon as their first bird - and the further damage it does to the bird being moved yet again, dumped yet again. That said, we DO allow families with no big bird experience to learn what they're getting into by visiting homes with other big birds, taking in bigger birds as fosters, etc. We won't "force" a smaller bird on a family if their heart is set on something larger, although if they've never had birds at all, we will ask them to foster something like a conure or a Poi to get a feel for what it is to have a bird in your life, and an understanding of how much work those smaller birds are - many people realize from that they could never handle the additional time/noise/mess of a larger bird.
I have to own my home in order to adopt a bird?
Pfftt.. I'll just go buy a bird!
Mickaboo doesn't require this - I rent and have a Severe I adopted from Mickaboo (along with several other smaller species I adopted from them). All we require is that, for larger birds, we get a letter from the landlord saying they're ok with the adoption if it's a larger bird (since they can be very destructive as well as louder than the smaller ones - sometimes. My 'tiel gives the macaw a run for his money most days). It's great when people do own their home, even with the landlord's ok we still get birds back when the new neighbours that just moved in after the bird has been living there for three years announce he's too loud and/or the property gets a new owner who declares "no pets!" ... but we don't require ownership (heh, in this area especially - home ownership is not something within the financial means of even some of the most affluent of our volunteeers!)
E: The adoption fee is practically the price of a fully weaned baby that
will grow and bond with you almost immediately.
Yah, that one pisses me off too. And rescues that *require* you buy the cage they have for the bird even if you want to get something bigger or better - wtf?
Mickaboo regularly reviews "going prices" for baby birds and sets adoption fees significantly lower. That said, not all store bought babies will bond to you just because they're young, and there's no guarantee it will grow up into a bird with a great personality. My Severe, who was badly abused and neglected as a baby, is the sweetest Severe my vet has ever met (and she's been an avian vet a long time!) and I know how blessed I am to have him in my life.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not anti-rescue. However, the restrictions,
cost, and invasiveness is more than many folks are willing to bear. If it
were easier & less expensive, more people might be open to the idea of
adopting vs. buying a baby (myself included).
Here's a view from other side of this particular fence: The birds in our system have been given up at least once already. Many have been abused or neglected, have lived in cages that are too small, been fed crappy diets. When we take them in, we take responsibility for their future well-being. We commit to getting those birds into the best possible new home, and do everything in our power to be sure that the bird will be well-loved, well-cared for, and be in a forever home. And despite that, we still get birds back when the kids get older and the family announces "we just don't have time anymore" or "we decided to have a baby and a bird doesn't fit our lifestyle anymore" etc. However, the majority of our birds do end up in homes that are well-educated (we do require a free 2-hour bird care class for *everyone* because despite years of bird ownership, you can't tell me you know EVERYTHING and are totally up to date on new thoughts/advances in avian care. And we have had vet techs take our class and say afterwards "wow, I didn't know that" so even those in the pet care industry have room to learn new stuff! Plus, the classes give us a chance to get to know the person a bit face-to-face so we have feedback from one more volunteer about who they are.)
Yes, many people decide it's "too much work" and go buy a bird - but you know, if it really is too much hassle and a person can't see why we're doing it and how it's because we care more about the birds in our care than the pride of the human, then they're not the type of people we want adopting one of our birds anyway. Yes, they might well have been a great adoptor and a wonderful home for our birds, but how can we KNOW that if we don't take the time to be sure? And how could we sleep at night, or live with ourselves, if we were to say "Oh, you have had birds all your life? Great!" and hand over a bird only to find later they are hoarders or they refuse vet care for their birds because it costs more than the cost of getting a new bird instead, etc.
There are many many MANY people out there who have had birds since childhood (my Dad used to breed budgies in England and has been around me and my birds for the last 4 years - when he took in a foster flock for us he asked "now, where do I get grit around here?" because he didn't know any better!) The only way we can be sure that the birds in our care have the best chance of a forever home that is safe, educated, and wants more than a "trophy" for their collection is to take them through our process.
I do understand the frustration, especially when so many rescues give the whole concept a bad name due to their adoption fees, excessive requirements (I know of one rescue that requires you pay to attend several classes and then foster birds for two years before you qualify to adopt - and one that doesn't let people adopt at all, the bird is always the property of the rescue and they ahve the right to take the bird back at any time for any reason - again, wtf?) ... but I just have to hope that over time, rescues that truly have the best interests of the birds at heart will turn the tide of what people think of when they hear the words "parrot rescue"