When you give a whole bunch of nests to a whole bunch of finches, you end up with a whole bunch of babies. Then when you have to go in the hospital and nobody knows how to take care of the birds, disasters can happen. The caretaker called us after more than a dozen birds had been found dead, thinking there was something toxic in the environment. We arrived to find that there was no finch food, only a conure seed mix, and the tiny birds were unable to eat the larger seeds so they were starving to death. A little pile of fluff on the bottom of the cage appeared to be yet another fatality, but when we picked her up she moved weakly.
We rushed her out, and Aubrey the technician began handfeeding her tiny drops of food every few minutes. She took forever to learn to eat on her own, and Aubrey carried her everywhere she went for weeks. Her name is now BBZB, short for Baby Zebra, and she is the coolest, tamest finch ever!
Why did Simon the Hahn's Macaw start chewing his feet until they were bloody? Nobody knows, and three different veterinarians were unable to stop him. In desperation his owner finally drove for hours from another state to surrender him to our rescue so we could try to help diagnose and treat him. His feet were covered with a thick layer of Clotisol, a liquid blood clotting solution used for bleeding toenails or feathers, but something we don't usually recommend for flesh wounds. It took repeated soakings to get all of the material, that had hardened like cement, to peel off of his little toes. Meanwhile blood samples and swabs were sent to the lab for testing. Test results all came back normal, and Simon never chewed on his feet again. What an easy cure! He is now happily living in a new home where he has remained healthy for months.
"THE PRESTIGIOUS PIGEON PALACE"
When nobody else in town seems to want to help pigeons, we stepped up to take on the job. Since they are not actually native to the US, wildlife rehab facilities won't care for them. Few bird rescues have the room to set up a flight cage, and we have found that pigeons in a smaller cage tend to just sit around and not do much. We had two chain link pens that were 10 by 10 feet and 6 feet tall, and so we moved them together and opened the doors so they can stay in the side that is covered and sheltered on three sides, or go into the open side. They have a small tool shed filled with plastic pet carriers that serve as private rooms in their pigeon hotel, and each one has developed a preference for particular spaces that they call home. They put themselves to bed each night and we lock the doors, and in the morning when the doors are opened they emerge to fly and flirt and enjoy the day.
Pigeons can be great pets because they don't bite, scream, or destroy your property. Email us if you would like to discuss adding a couple of pigeons to your family. If you plan to let them live outside as we do, it will require a commitment of hundreds or thousands of dollars, but they can be happy living inside when allowed to come out of their cages for exercise and play.
When you buy a male and a female of any species and put them in a cage with a nest, guess what happens? Yep, the two birds soon became 23. Yet the owner did not try separating the parents, removing the nest box, or buying larger cages for the growing family. At some point a second small cage was brought in, but there were still 12 birds in one cage and 11 in the other. Each cage was suitable for one or two birds to live in, not 12! The cages hadn't been cleaned in months, the water looked like sewage, and food dishes were coated with fecal matter. Surprisingly these lovely pastel blue, yellow, and white budgies are healthy, they are gorgeous, and they are available for adoption.
"LOST AND FOUND"
He was the bright yellow bird at a feeder usually visited by grey and brown birds, so he really stood out from the crowd. For months he was spotted visiting the same back yard almost every day. The homeowner found us through an internet search, and borrowed a cage that we filled with seed and tied a long piece of string to the cage door that could be used to pull it shut. When he took all of the seed out of the bird feeder and set the cage up next to it, he caught the little rascal within less than an hour! This doesn't always work, but we have caught several loose birds this way.
It is a sad fact that the vast majority of small pet birds that are loose outside are never reclaimed by their owners. We suspect that this is because the people no longer wanted them, and rather than take the time to look for a rescue or shelter that will find them a good home, they just cruelly turn them loose, where almost all of them will die. Every year we take in around a dozen birds that were found outside, but some of them die despite our best efforts because they were attacked by a predator or ate something toxic. This little guy, who we named Joel, was fine and has found a loving new home.
"THE CASE OF THE MELTING FACE"
Every year we have to help find homes for those cute little baby ducks that someone bought for their kids or grandkids for Easter. Apparently they think that the birds will stay this size forever, and never poop on the floor. When the fluff balls get bigger and the messes get bigger, the now unwanted ducklings get dropped off at a pond, left to wander the neighborhood, or in a few lucky cases the owners call us and we connect them with adoptive homes that are set up for ducks. The same thing happens with baby chicks and bunnies. Pet ducks cannot fly, and will not survive outside with no way to escape predators.
Rubba Ducky, whose name is a combination of Rubber Ducky and Bubba, was found with a nasty looking facial wound that made it look like his skin was melting. It turned out the wound was not as serious as it first appeared, and he healed quickly with treatment. We wish the feed stores and duck breeders who engage in selling these babies to people who don't know how to care for them properly would stop caring more about profit than they do about the lives they are endangering. But every year it just keeps happening, and we keep trying to spread the word that it is vital to do your research before getting any kind of pet. Not all animals fit into every home. Please help spread the word: No Easter Animals!
"THE BIRD BOX"
One of the oldest birds we have ever taken into our rescue is Jane, the African Grey Parrot. Believed to have been born in the 1970's, Jane spent most of her life as a breeding bird. She and her mate would hide in the nest box whenever humans entered their room. Her mate passed away some years ago, we aren't sure exactly when, leaving Jane to hide in the box alone. The owner had stopped breeding birds, and did not want to sell her to someone who would try to use her for breeding again at that age. When Jane came to our rescue, we all knew it would be a challenge to find just the right home for her.
She was terrified when anyone came within 6 feet of her cage, and we placed her in the quietest corner of the room with other African Greys nearby, covered 3 sides of her cage, and finally gave her cardboard boxes to hide in so we could feed and clean her without scaring her. It took us a couple of months to find just the right person to adopt her, someone who would be extremely patient with her, and would still care for her even if she would never allow anyone near her. Now two months later, Jane has actually climbed onto her new human's arm a few times, and accepts treats from hands that use to terrify her.
"THE CASE OF THE CANTAKEROUS CONURE"
Mango can sure be a grumpy guy. He came to us in 2018 when his first owner no longer wanted him. We aren't certain what the issue was, but it became apparent while he stayed with us that he didn't like everyone (to put it nicely). He took a liking to one potential new companion who came to see him, and they adopted him. Unfortunately he didn't like everyone in the family, and after a year in his second home, he ended up coming back into the rescue program.
He was adopted from us into his third home, but it was a short lived affair because he just couldn't bring himself to be nice to all of the members of his new family. So back he came, and this time, in his fourth home (fifth if you count our rescue as a home), he seems to be happy living with a single person.
Parrots are typically monogamous in the wild, choosing one mate to live with forever. It is unfair for humans to expect them to suddenly like everyone when their instincts and hormones tell them to just love one partner. We suggest that families accept that a parrot may not like all of them, it is part of the package when you share your life with an animal that had not been bred in captivity for thousands of years. Parrots are wild animals, and we need to stop expect them to behave like a domesticated dog who loves everybody.
"THERE ARE HOW MANY COCKATIELS???"
We were told there would be around 17 cockatiels coming into the rescue on an already busy Saturday. We had large cages ready to hold 3 or 4 birds each, and the plan was to divide them up so that we could tell them all apart and keep their medical records straight. Three of us attempted to count them and determine how many of each sex and each different color mutation there were. It may not be that tough from looking at the photo, but imagine when they are all moving!
Every year we get large groups of birds from breeders who have gotten sick, retired or passed away. Our biggest intake this year was a group of 41, including 28 cockatiels and 13 parrots (macaws, cockatoos, amazons, and more). We strongly discourage allowing any birds to breed unless they are a threatened or endangered species in the hands of a knowledgeable and financially secure breeding facility with a plan for who will take over if one person is no longer available. There are so many birds in rescues and sanctuaries that need good homes. Adopt, don't shop!
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Few animals are as amusing, interesting, sassy, and expressive as a Quaker Parakeet (aka Quaker Parrot or Monk Parakeet). Illegal to own in many states, including Kansas, these green and grey guys and gals are intelligent and very hardy, able to live and breed in climates all over the US, and they are considered an agricultural pest for eating farm crops. There are flocks of them in Florida and Texas and California, but also in colder climates like New Jersey and Chicago.
Quakers are often very territorial about their cages, but may be snuggly once out of their domain. We found that to be true with some of our elderly Quaker patients who had to come into the rescue this year. Three of them in their 20's (life expectancy is late 20's to early 30's) have been available for adoption, and Marty is still waiting for someone to love him despite his gruff exterior. Hopefully someone who doesn't mind a grumpy old man who may not want to be handled will come along and decide he needs to live with them.