If any of you are considering purchasing a parrot, please talk to Dr. Dave before you do anything rash. Parrots are actually not good pets, since they are wild animals just a generation or two back. The following pamphlet summarizes why you should think twice about parrot ownership:
Dr. Dave’s parrots are birds that other people for various reasons were unable to take care of, and he has at least one bird that will outlive him. People often call him saying they have or know of a parrot needing a home, can he take one more? It’s a big problem, and rescue organizations lack funding for the many parrots whose people decide they are tired of the noise and mess after a few years. Greyhaven is an example of an organization swamped by unwanted parrots; they have all kinds, not just Greys. Greyhaven
Having a parrot is similar to having a child–once you’ve got it, you’re responsible for it, and it will probably outlive you. Unlike a child, it’s not going to support you in your old age. In addition, many species of parrots are threatened or endangered, and while most birds in the United States are captive-bred, there is still a tremendous amount of bird smuggling going on to satisfy the pet bird trade.
If you absolutely want to have a parrot, some of the rescue organizations do link up prospective owners and unwanted birds. This is a bit like adopting a juvenile delinquent–many of these birds are behavior problems–but it’s a chance to do some good. Phoenix Landing can put you in touch with adoption agencies, or you can travel back to North Carolina and pick up your child from them. Greyhaven also re-homes birds, but since they are in Canada there are problems getting birds to the US. There are also unwanted parrots in Port Townsend on a regular basis, check at the pet stores, or ask to be put on Dr. Dave’s list of potential care givers. Center Valley Animal Rescue also occasionally has parrots needing a home, check out their website at www.centervalleyanimalrescue.org.
At left is the kind of damage parrots consider good beak exercise. It was behind the cage, and my first inkling was a pile of shavings one day when I moved the cage to clean it. It’s actually pretty cute, except there may be electrical wires back in there. Also, once they go inside, there’s no way to get them out, except by holding a walnut at the opening and hoping they are hungry. For a parrot weighing less than four ounces, it’s really amazing how quickly Sprocket chewed up that much paneling. Expect this kind of damage if you keep parrots, unless they are locked up all the time. Chewing holes like this helps keep them from getting bored, as it’s nesting behavior–in this case they’re not compatible species, so no babies will result.