Last Updated on by Mitch Rezman
Shelle P. has concerns for her bird’s future,
Hi Catherine and Mitch, I have followed your birdy brunch and multiple bird store locations around Chicago for years.
I’m owned by 2 beautiful DYH and 1 grey who is way too smart. Anyway, I’m getting up in years and have health problems and need to start thinking about where my babies can be rehomed or sanctuary.
Just wondered if you have any thoughts or experience with others on how to start this difficult process/point in life. My family is small and are not “bird people”. I’ve tried some google searches of areas and am not sure how reliable they are. Thanks!
Yes, we are well aware of our aging issues. I just had a call earlier today from an older woman with an 18-year-old African Grey and an 18-year-old Quaker. She has no family that can take them. We are 65 and 70 here and have 3 small parrots and 9 parakeets. The 9 parakeets I am not worried about, their life span is on the short side (usually 5-12 years these days).
The small parrots we have, Keto the African Ringneck came to us at about 16 and is now maybe 21 years old. They live 20-40 years, but my last Ringneck only lived till 20 so we don’t expect him to outlive us.
However, in 2020 we took in Barney the cockatiel and Chili a quaker, both 8 at the time and now 10 each. They may very well outlive us.
We have no family to speak of, Mitch has a couple of sisters that he doesn’t speak to and we would not wish to leave them the birds anyway as they couldn’t manage to care for 2 parakeets due to indifference to their care, so we are on our own here.
Yes, it is a common thought, well, leave them to our friends, well our friends are no spring chickens either.
So that leaves Bird Rescues, pet shelters, Bird Clubs, bird sanctuaries but they are often overloaded without resources to help all the birds. Plus they are not always local to the birds when the time comes. Most are run by volunteers which can be fleeting.
Keto, our African Ringneck came to us from an emergency rehoming as the owner of 7 small parrots had passed away unexpectedly, leaving them in the hands of a volunteer caretaker.
The birds had to be rehomed immediately as there was no one designated to take them and in a day, the county would have come in and collected them. No idea how that would have been handled as most municipalities don’t have housing for birds like they do dogs and cats.
They likely would have been euthanized or put into inexperienced hands and then again, who knows what would have happened.
So volunteers worked to find homes quickly.
We were contacted as I had a Ringneck before, so Mitch drove 400 miles to pick up Keto. When he got there, he found they had found home for 5 of the 7 birds and after Mitch left with Keto, they were taking the two remaining conures with them until they could be placed. These 7 birds got lucky that these people helped.
Chili came from a woman whose migraines were aggravated by his calling out and she couldn’t take it anymore. She adopted him after his previous owner had passed. Barney the cockatiel came to us from a call from a woman who found him in the darkened home of a hoarder who also had just passed.
How could we say no to any of these birds? But we are now full up. And now have to make plans for them as well down the line.
We are in decent health now, but that can change in a flash at our ages. Daily I make up the 5 water dishes, 5 veggie dishes, and 6 seed dishes and then the replacement water dishes 2-3 times a day. That is almost 2 dozen dishes to wash daily, not to mention cage maintenance. The bending and reaching get harder all the time.
Without family, we have talked about leaving the store, the birds, and all our remaining inventory and personal items to a local rescue for their care. However, that needs to be written up in a will.
Writing a will is never fun and is often put off until it is too late to actually have things go as desired. But it is important. Don’t wait.
You can also join a local bird and meet others who are bird lovers and get to know them. They are valuable resources for rehoming birds.
Next is to contact your local independent pet shop. They are often willing to take in and rehome birds. Yes, they would likely charge a fee for them, but they also are taking on the expense of housing and feeding the birds for as long as is needed.
Meanwhile, enjoy your feathered babies while you can.
Thank you for writing.