Our top 10 bird rescue stories of 2013:

We received a phone call from a woman who had just been awarded a house in her divorce, and discovered that her ex-husband had moved out and left his 4 macaws and 2 cockatoos running loose.  There was no electricity and no gas, so the only heat was whenever the man would stop by and throw some wood into the wood burning stove, and he would leave some seed and water on the floor for them to eat out of filthy dishes.

The birds had destroyed the walls, chewed on the wiring, and were living under furniture and trash like rats.  The cages were standing open with piles of feces inside as much as a foot tall.  The temperature in the room was in the 40's on that February day.  Our rescue of these birds was covered by the Kansas City Star newspaper as well as several local television stations.  You can see video at 


and at 


or see


We captured the birds and moved five of them to our shelter (one went home with the ex-wife who found them), where they all had extensive laboratory testing and treatments to get them healthy before they were adopted out to their new families.


A woman with Alzheimer's had allowed her two or three pairs of doves to breed and breed and breed for several years.  By the time her daughter checked on the situation, there were 30 birds crammed into small, filthy cages.  Fortunately we had just received several large flight cages donated by the St. Joseph MO animal control, so we had the perfect place for these birds.  They enjoyed fresh food, clean water, and enough space to actually fly a bit.  

Finding homes for this many doves at one time was a challenge!  There was no way we would let them go to people who wanted to turn them loose in a barn or put them in some homemade cage outside in the cold when they had spent their entire lives indoors.  We usually have four to six doves a year in our rescue program.  We eventually transferred eight of them to our friends at Nebraska Parrot Rescue, and another eight to our friends at A Parrot's Perch Rescue in Springfield MO.  


In July we received a call from a man who had spotted a big exotic bird on the roof of a two story house!  The bird had been screaming for a couple of days, but nobody seemed to be looking for it or trying to capture it.  We showed up with a long extension ladder and a big bowl of food, and one of our volunteers went up the ladder and lured the bird onto her shoulder.

After she came down the ladder and we got the bird safely tucked away in a carrier, we brought it back to the clinic where it was happy to spend the next several hours eating and drinking.  Later we located the owner, who said another vet had told her the bird couldn't fly, so she had been taking it out on her back deck every day.


Another one of our cases was seen on television.  When we heard about this, we volunteered to treat Mr. Camo the turkey t no charge to his family.  This poor pet turkey was shot when a deputy came on the owner's property and claimed the bird was attacking him.  We did surgery at no charge, but Mr. Camo had injuries that could not be repaired, and he had to be put to sleep while he was under anesthesia.

See the video at 


or read the story at

http://www.kctv5.com/story/22000216/bates-county-man-says-deputy-wrongly-shot-familys-pet-turkeyead the story at


​Nicki has been with Burge Bird Rescue for over a year.  He had chewed on and mutilated his flesh for so many years that scarring of the skin caused his wings to heal to his body so he can't even spread them open any more.  We have spent hundreds of dollars on laboratory testing, medications, collars, and bandaging trying to help him heal.  

He will never grow back his feathers, but at least we have managed to get his bloody wounds to heal so he is not in pain.  Many people, including some rescue groups, would have given up on Nicki a long time ago, but we think he is the sweetest bird ever and deserves a chance to have a happy, healthy long life.


In 2013 we and our amazing volunteers spent a tremendous number of hours catching 28 abandoned ducks and 2 pet geese!  These domestic breeds were originally developed for meat and egg production, so they tend to have heavy breast muscles and short wings, meaning that most of them are unable to fly.  Since they can't migrate south when the ponds around here freeze over, they usually die in the winter when they either starve or they are killed by predators.

These two were the survivors of the original three baby ducklings that were sold as Easter pets by a farm supply store.  The owner was told by store employees that when the birds got to be too much trouble, they could just be dropped into a lake and they would figure out how to take care of themselves.  One bird disappeared and was presumed killed by coyotes.  The white one, Mary Jo, had wounds requiring 16 stitches after she was grabbed by the neck by some kind of hawk or dog.

There were ducks that we were never able to catch.  At least 10 birds that we couldn't capture in 2013 have vanished and are presumed dead.  The good news is that thanks to so many generous donors, we have now been able to purchase a bigger boat to go along with our little inflatable boat, and a cargo van that can hold all of the equipment we will need for saving more lives in the coming years.  We were also able to build two outdoor pens for temporary housing of ducks, geese, chickens, turkeys and pigeons, so they can enjoy some fresh air, sunshine, and a wading pool while they wait to go home with their new families who have safe, fenced ponds and sheds where they can sleep at night away from the monsters that want to kill them.


This year we took in 14 pigeons, some wild, some homing (racing), some fancy breeds, and some white ones that are often released at weddings or funerals. Most were brought to us after someone found them sick or injured. A couple of them we captured by setting a trap full of food.

So few people care about what happens to wild pigeons, and most shelters just euthanize them. The wild pigeons stay with us until they are healthy enough to be released. If they are banded racing birds we try to find their owners or place them with other pigeon owners. The white and fancy breeds go into our adoption program so they can find new homes where they won't be turned loose to get lost and starve to death.


Bobby the cockatiel came to us because his human wasn't taking care of him, and Mom was sick of doing all the work.  Now we have heard that story dozens of times before, when birds belonging to the kids or grandkids weren't being fed or cleaned as they should have been.  This was the first time that Mom said the irresponsible party was Dad!  

We never suggest getting birds as pets for the children unless the adults in the house want to be responsible for their care.  No child can be expected to remember to feed and water a pet every single day.  Adults have to be willing to check on the animals daily, and be ready to take over full ownership when the kids lose interest or they go off to college.  Even little birds like Bobby the cockatiel could live 20 to 25 years, and these beings deserve better than to live in filth, starve to death, or be passed from home to home to home.


We had several birds come in over the last couple of years after they were abandoned in foreclosed houses or apartments.  This little camera hog, Opie, is a sweet, tame guy who loves to whistle the "Andy Griffith Show" theme song.  Why would someone just leave an animal behind, not knowing if they would be found in time or if the poor creature would die of dehydration or starvation?  There are always alternatives to abandoning an animal.  Rescue groups are standing by to take in unwanted pets, or at the very least someone on Craig's List would probably be willing to take the animal if it is being given away for free.

Animals can feel pain and fear, and they will suffer greatly just like a human if they are locked in a cage with no food and water and left to die!


These 5 little budgies demonstrate why people shouldn't be allowed to let their pets breed.  It wasn't cute that you got a couple of birds from the pet store and then let them have clutch after clutch of unwanted babies that you think you can just bring to us when you don't want them.  Do you think a dog and cat shelter wants another litter of puppies or kittens?  Do you know that approximately 4 MILLION animals are euthanized every year in shelters because they can't find enough good homes for those pets?  While we have not reached this critical stage with our birds, some shelters in other parts of the country are forced to kill healthy birds because they cannot find homes for them.

Not sure how to stop your birds from having babies?  Call us!  We will help you figure out what to do to prevent an overpopulation problem.

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