I was somewhat taken aback by some of the comments on one of our Parrot Garden videos that I shared. The insinuation was that our birds lived in cramped and tiny cages, where they had nothing to do but pull out their feathers from stress. The person making these accusations was here, once, many years ago. Apparently she didn’t bother to ask questions or learn what we do to help enrich the lives of the birds in our care.
She obviously doesn’t realize that our caregivers give their all for these birds each and every day. She doesn’t know that we spend a lot of time following research, so we can meet the emotional and nutritional needs of our charges. That caregivers take their responsibilities so seriously and bond so tightly to their kids that they become members of our extended family. That we rejoice in each positive step forward. That each bird is considered an individual, with his or her own care plan for rehabilitation.
She doesn’t have a clue that many, if not most, of the birds come here after years or decades of a crap diet, suffering from nutritional deficiencies that affect their health. She wasn’t here when we took in a cockatiel who had vitamin a deficiency blindness from years of living in a dark basement on an all seed diet.
She has no idea how many birds come to us with stereotypical behaviors from years of living ignored in tiny cages. Feather destructive behavior, self-mutilation, screaming and biting all come from natural behaviors which have been amplified by captivity.
She is ignorant of the fact that most of these birds have been hand-raised by humans, and have never had the opportunity to learn the most basic of skills from their parents. They have no clue they are birds and they suffer from the anxiety of not knowing the things that would allow them to live a happy healthy life. The parental deprivation basically ensures they will live life as emotional cripples.
She is ignorant of the fact that many birds, not knowing they are birds, are terrified of our open flights. That sometimes it can take months to convince them it is safe with all that space. That some birds will never be comfortable outside of a cage. That is how they come to us, and that’s where we have to start. We work hard to find the least restrictive environment for every single one of our birds.
She isn’t aware that many of our birds came to us after being inappropriately handled by humans who didn’t realize full-body stroking could lead to mate bonding, and even more emotional problems.
She hasn’t seen our beautiful outdoor garden area where each bird has an enclosure planted with bird safe food to forage from, like dandelion, clover and millet.
She doesn’t understand that a bird missing feathers isn’t necessarily stressed or unhappy…that the feather destruction comes from a natural grooming behavior which has gone haywire. That once a bird started destroying feathers it is often a life-long issue….even if they have the best possible of lives.
She hasn’t seen the care we take to find the best possible home for each of our kids. How we worry and agonize as we see them out the door.
She isn’t here when we are having to say “no” to hundreds of birds who need to come here…part of the growing crisis of caged-birds in this country.
She is oblivious to the fact that our organization has never said “no” to any need we have wanted to meet, for any of our birds.