Let's make the world a better place for our avian friends!
I wasn't sure if this is the right place for this... So today hubby was off, so the three of us decided to take in a movie and run errands. For Christmas, Bubbles got a monstrous two story play gym with hooks for toys and ladders,and we've been slowly decking it out. We went into a local chain (not a big box store like PetSmart- a smaller, regional franchise) for toys, and they had a pen FULL of American type budgies. There were all kinds of mutations, so we all crouched down, got out the IPhone, and went to the Cute Little Birdies site to practice our skills. We noticed one sitting puffed and shivery, and within a few minutes it was evident that it was very ill- panting, tail bob, etc. We went and told an employee, and to their credit, she went and got a manager, who got a cage, and they began to work to separate the bird. Alex stayed to help them identify the bird, but watching them herd the sick, scared bird, he became so sad- it just hurts his heart. We almost can't go in pet stores anymore- it's painful to see these beautiful, intelligent creatures being caged and sold with no knowledge of how they will be treated. We went to buy dog food at a Petco last week, and they had Quakers, Conures, and a Canary Winged Parakeet all waiting for homes in glass boxes. Those are big, loud, smart birds to care for- how many people really understand the involvement, and how many see pretty feathers?
We comforted Alex that at least now the sick bird can get help, and the others aren't being continually exposed, and talked about breeders and quarantine and what not. He was really wanting to buy one before we saw the sick bird, so we talked about why we chose to get Bubs from an awesome breeder. We talked about how having Spiral be so ill helped us know that bird was sick, so Spiral is still meaningful even though he's gone. On the way out, he asked, "Don't you wish we could buy all the birds and help them, Mom?" And I do- I want to rescue ALL the birds from this. We talked about the ethics of that-if you "rescue" a bird from a chain, and you wish the chains wouldn't carry birds, your money just supported that practice. What do you do, those of you who feel this way? Do you guys go in pet stores, or do you just order things online?
Thank you for our signature, Deb.....
Last edited by Hollen; 01-04-2017 at 01:28 PM.
Admittedly, I go in to pet stores for supplies. But I also buy online. And I'm curious to look at the new budgies they've brought in, and I report the sick ones to a manager. I've had some success in the latter where the ill birds were seen by a vet.
Perhaps if knowledgeable people continue to report to managers, when they see ill birds, the message could get through.
I also complain to manufacturers about products. Providing reasons why they're unsafe and why bird owners don't want them. And that avian vets advise against them.
My ultimate goal is that people organize and/or write to legislators to get labeling laws passed and some other rules (i.e. I think cages should be required by law to state what the size is suitable for in terms of housing. Where, what if tiny cages were labeled ("for transport or quarantine only, not recommended for a permanent bird habitat.")
I know in the US that Senators Toomey and Sen. Blumenthal have sponsored animal rights bills in the past.
I also think a project for future would be a concisely written petition to manufacturers to stop making certain products. (How about no more small round cages.)
I saw a petition on MoveOn.org late last year, directed at PetCo to stop selling exotic birds. It has about 400 signatures, but it probably received no exposure. 400 isn't bad for what it is. Just a petition by one passionate bird owner who was moved to action.
I've seen stats that there are over 14 million pet birds in the US. The #3 pet behind cats & dogs.
I'm optimistic for the chance for laws to be passed because I've seen recent laws passed around other exotic pets (such as rabbits for instance, they're not allowed for sale in NY -- only adoption)... & with the right efforts and organization, perhaps it's possible. The laws bird owners would want, are fairly common sensical, and no one objective humane and reasonable person could dispute them. There are such laws to protect cats and dogs.
A dream would be someone like Gwen Stefani (who owns 2 pet birds that I'm aware of)... to get behind a petition or some sort of organized effort.
Another dream is what if Morgan Spurlock (documentarian known for "Supersize Me") did a documentary about budgies (and thereby also other exotic birds.) I can see it starting out in the pet store, and then tracing that bird's path to where it came from. etc. These things have an affect, just as the movie "Blackfish" caused orca whales to be phased out from SeaWorld.
Those are my dreams & goals.
But on a micro level, it's my humble opinion, that the more people that walk-in to a store and point out to a manager that the birds are ill ... the better. Objectively, this might be a start.
I love your dreams and goals, BlueBird. I think you are right on so many points. Every time I see a humane society/ASPCA type of commercial, I wonder why the abused, abandoned, neglected birds aren't being shown. It's easy to feel helpless. Alex and I try to remember that while we can't help every bird, we can spoil Bubbles, educate others, support ethical businesses... small steps.
I couldn't find the source for this, but the oft quoted statistic is that "85% of parrots are resold, given away, or abandoned within two years". That is very, very scary. There are usually a lot of birds for sale on Craig's List.
I think part of the problem for budgies is that they are not very expensive so my guess is that they are frequently impulse buys. Once you have factored in a good cage and vet care, they are more expensive to take care of than one might expect, and it isn't as if the typical pet store is advertising that fact.
With the larger parrots, people really just don't know what they are getting into. Most of the larger parrots that the rescue has are listed as requiring previous experience with birds and, depending on the bird, they don't want there to be too big a leap. If you've only had budgies, they most likely are not going to let you adopt a macaw. Prospective adaptors don't always understand the reasons for this (despite clear and nicely worded explanations ) and want an african grey or macaw as a first bird. When the rescue says no, they might listen or they might go get a bird some where else.
Most of the birds that go through a rescue are with an avian specific organization, at least around here. I just looked on Petfinder, and there were 70 listings for birds within 50 miles of my zip code. Almost 90% of them are with a bird rescue. I think that's why organizations like the ASPCA don't feature them in ads.
We have 16 parrots in foster care at the moment, 4 of them budgies (Lemon, Lime, Lucy, and Benjamin ). There are 3 parrorlets, 2 cockatiels, and the rest are Amazons, African Greys, Cockatoos, etc.
One thing I love is knowing there ARE so many others of you that love birds and are taking steps to help them. Thank you, Leah, for fostering! Too many birds being bought, returned, passed around- it's heartbreaking. I also love seeing posts and hearing about children who are passionate about birds- Alex is one who wants to change their world, and his heart is so tender for them. I hope he and his fellow bird lovers can continue to make progress for parrots as they grow up. It's easy to feel like birds don't have advocates in a pet store, but coming on here is such a comfort.
I am aware how difficult it is for members to find ethical and responsible breeders.
The forum frequently has members asking for recommendations and although I continually do searches for them, finding breeders I feel comfortable recommending isn't easy.
Additionally, even when a good breeder is located, not everyone has the means to either have budgies shipped safely via air or make long distance road-trips to pick up their budgie(s).
Before joining the forum in 2011, I searched for breeders in the DC/MD/VA area for several months. Most I tried to contact either didn't return my emails, calls or no longer existed. Out of sheer frustration, I ended up buying Sunny and Shelby from a chain pet store thereby falling into the mind-set that I was at least rescuing those two birds.
I realized later just how incorrect my thoughts on the matter were. For every bird that is sold, another simply takes its place.
I loved my little Sunshine Boys very much and tried to give them both the best lives possible.
However, they were never very healthy and their lives were shortened due to their genetics.
I am fortunate that I have been able to make multiple trips (7.5 hours each way) to get my next budgies from a reputable breeder.
Unfortunately, as long as people continue to buy from the big box pet stores, the practices of the birdie mills are being supported and will continue.
Many people think they are "rescuing" the birds when they buy from the pet-stores but they are, in actuality, supporting the unethical breeding practices and the idea of quantity over quality. (As mentioned, I too fell into that "trap" in the past myself)
My hope is that as more and more members become educated with regard to the practices of birdie-mills, those individuals will come to recognize the problems perpetuated by the big box stores and will strive to help become the solution in the future.
To me, truly rescuing a bird is taking in the ones that have been purchased and then end up in shelters, at bird rescues or are being re-homed because the initial owners didn't take the time to research before getting a pet or were unwilling and/or unable to continue to care for it and are thus re-homing it.
Every day I am thankful that there are people such as lbeckman (Leah) in this world who give of their time, love and attention to help these unfortunate little creatures.
As we educate more and more members and children such as Alex take an active role in spreading awareness and advocating change, there is hope for the future.
I prefer to buy my pet products on-line rather than visit any of the pet stores.
Member of the Year 2016//Exceptional Service Award August 2016//MOTM May 2013
What a blessing TB members and youngsters like Alex are requiring others with companion animals to love and improve the quality of life and care of each species.
Your family is an example of life in the future in all the world. Blessings,and thank you, Jo Ann
Yes, thank you! I was feeling so discouraged when I posted. I don't judge anyone who has purchased from pet stores- I think most people genuinely don't know about the plight of pet birds. We didn't- and we went through a similar experience to you, Deb, losing Spiral to genetic issues. I'm so grateful to those of you doing the hard work of actual rescue. We were recently in a position to possibly rehome a Pionus-after coming to the "other birds" board and asking for insight, we were gently guided to realize that we as a family really weren't ready for the responsibility of taking on a larger parrot with issues yet. That bird found a forever home with a woman who was ready to devote her full time to rehabbing a traumatized bird, and they are happy now! As we continue to read and learn, our family hopes to find those ways we can help, whether it's writing to our legislators as BlueBirdNYC suggested, finding a wonderful breeder and spreading the word with JoAnne and Deb's help and counsel, and maybe one day being able to really rescue birds who need us, or at least actively help those who do, like Leah. You are all our heroes
Thank you for our signature, Deb.....
Last edited by Hollen; 01-04-2017 at 09:36 AM.
I enjoy the foster budgies so much that I consider them a gift in my life, particularly now that I have two to call my own.
Mods, feel free to edit this out if it is not appropriate! Most avian rescues also do education outreach, so by supporting them, you are helping that effort as well as helping the birds. As you can imagine, the vet bills involved with some of the rescues are high. If you don't already know about it, Amazon Smile is a program that donates a small portion of your purchases to a a designated organization and there are several avian rescues on it. iGive is another one that I don't know much about. If you walk or cycle, https://resqwalk.com partners with some animal businesses to make small donations for the distance you log. Trust me, every little bit helps and it adds up. Also, donations of items that you no longer need and are usable are very welcome, particularly for a rescue such as ours that sends the adaptors home with the a basic setup!
TalkBudgies helps incredibly in terms of education, but I've been told that a lot of budgie owners are incredibly resistant to hearing that their birds need a different/better type of care than what they are receiving. It's never going to be the case that all budgies are receiving A+ care, but the norm is much more below the ideal than it is for, say, cats and dogs. Chipping away at it will help. As well as educational outreach programs (we and others do them, but not at big box chain stores), working with companies and stores to improve the products made and sold, my "brilliant" idea last night was to see if some of the avian social media celebrities would do spots on proper care. I have seen a few, but I don't spend that much time on social media. Except for talkbudgies, of course. Disco the talking budgie comes to mind. Any other celebrity budgies who have a lot of followers who you can think of??