This is how NOT to care for a bird.
I have been contemplating various topics for my first post in my bird care 101 category. There are many things that can be covered: the dangers of Teflon, proper diet, providing proper exercise and mental stimulation, and many other, well, basic topics. Some facts regarding bird care are straightforward and unchallenged, such as Teflon kills birds. Yet this tragedy is something I hear about nearly every week and so discussing the dangers of Teflon seemed like a good place to start. It should be basic knowledge, but apparently that is often not the case. Other topics are perhaps more, well, I hate to use the word controversial with so many REALLY controversial topics in the world today, but as opinions vary wildly on many topics regarding bird care, and people tend to get quite heated up about their particular viewpoint, that would be apropos.
People have various opinions. That is what makes life interesting. But I doubt anyone will argue with me when I say the above photo illustrates how to NOT care for a bird. The Yellow-naped Amazon in the post has spent years, probably close to 30, living in this filthy cage in a cluttered, windowless basement. He had a companion, a Sulphur -crested Cockatoo.
Unfortunately, the cockatoo ended up strangling on a toy before he could be removed from the home. I have been aware of this situation for quite some time; my friend has been trying to get the birds, along with a number of cats, removed. I won’t get into all the specifics, but just know that it isn’t always as easy at you might think to remove animals, or children, from such a home.
As horrific as this is, know that this bird is now safe. I am saddened that we could not save the cockatoo., but moving forward, the life of this amazon will be a whole lot better. Do you know what actually brought me to tears about this situation? Not the squalor. Not the filth. Not the evidence that this bird has endured years of neglect. To be blunt, after 25 years of helping rescue birds I have seen it all, from physical abuse to emotional neglect to birds with crippled feet caused from spending decades curled around one small dowel. While I wouldn’t say I am desensitized to the grim realities of neglect, you do reach a point where you become somewhat insulated so that you can move forward. I tend to focus on the changes I can make, not what I am unable to do, or the birds I never can help. But my friend said something that has stayed with me since we talked.
She said he couldn’t stop looking at the sunshine when she put him out on her screened in porch. Those words, and the image they evoked in my mind, encapsulated for me more than anything else the plight of so many neglected birds. How many more are sitting and waiting for their lives to change? How many will never see that day at all? For this bird at least, after thirty years of darkness, he has found the sun. That thought is what allows me to continue to help where I can.