Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

tags: , , , ,

Image: orphaned (like the birds).


For the last five years or more, the San Francisco peninsula parrot rescue organization, Mickaboo Companion Bird Rescue, has been taking in injured or sick members of the wild Telegraph Hill parrot flock and finding homes for them. At this time, Mickaboo is overwhelmed with wild parrots. Jennifer Erlichman, the wild parrot rescue coordinator for Mickaboo is seeking homes for these birds — I believe, but don’t know for sure, that she wants these birds to go to homes that are located in northern California (but you’ll have to contact her to learn more).

The birds in question have had their immediate issues tended to and are accustomed to human beings. If any of you are interested or know someone who might be interested in giving a home to one of the Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill, please contact Jennifer Erlichman at wildparrotjenn@yahoo.com.

Comments

  1. #1 pk1154
    May 23, 2010

    Oh, *whew* homes for rescued birds. Momentary panic. With no text until you clicked through, I was worried that something was threatening all the Telegraph Hill parrots.

  2. #2 Betty Schmidt
    May 23, 2010

    These birds should be returned to the wild as with wild birds. They are not destructive, the same like native birds and are used to being free as well as a people bird. There are plenty of parrots who are flying free and are doing well.

  3. #3 joshua
    May 23, 2010

    It should be illegal to keep large macaws and cockatoos. These birds almost always outlive their owners (or more often the owners just give them away).

    Parrots bond for life and frequently have very bad reactions to being separated. They pluck their feathers out and go into a depression.

  4. #4 "GrrlScientist"
    May 24, 2010

    betty: these “telegraph hill” birds that are available for adoption were injured (broken wings, legs, etc) and cannot be returned to their flock. the birds could instead have been euthanized or allowed to die after their injuries — you know, the “let nature take its course” philosophy, which would have mostly prevented this problem. but people love the birds so a non-interventionist method of dealing with injured feral parrots is simply not practical.

    further, the flock, which was only a few dozen birds at first, now numbers over 300 individuals. as i understand it, the city has some concerns about the large (and rapidly growing!) size of this flock of parrots.

    joshua: do you have any research to support your claims? if so, i’d like to see it because, even though i’ve been involved with parrots (as a breeder myself) for nearly all of my life, i’ve never seen any stats to show what you are saying, and i’ve also not experienced this in my own “insider” perspective.

    also, parrots do NOT bond for life. they are like any other bird with regards to the pair bonds they form (which can be broken by death or divorce and reformed with another bird). and feather plucking in birds is a complex issue that is poorly understood with no simple answer or solution. it has different triggers for individual birds, but once it gets started, it is a behavior that is likened to obsessive-compulsive disorder in humans (and interestingly, it responds to the same suite of medications that are used for human OCD sufferers).

    on one hand, i do agree with you that MOST PEOPLE should NOT be allowed to have large parrots as pets, but i’ve always openly advocated that MOST people should not be allowed to own ANY parrots, nor dogs or cats, nor have children, either, because they lack the knowledge and desire to learn about properly caring for them, or they are too stupid, cruel, abusive, neglectful, their lives are too unstable, etc., etc., etc.

    on the other hand, not even these criteria should be too strictly followed since i was “too unstable to have a pet” because i was unemployed or underemployed for nearly all of my adult life. even though i acknowledged this and wrestled with giving up my parrots to adoption for most of that time, i somehow managed to keep my birds housed and fed and well-cared for anyway. although i freely give credit to my readers, who supported me in so many ways and made this possible for me to do.

  5. #5 joshua
    May 24, 2010

    Grrlscientist, if I was wrong about parrots bonding for life, then mea culpa. You are the expert here.

    In David Attenborough’s “Life of Birds”, they show the result of parrots abandoned by their owners, and it was something I will never, ever forget: A parrot rescue center full of brooding, depressed, plucked birds.

    I’ll bet 85% of people who acquire a large parrot do end up giving it away.

  6. #6 joshua
    May 24, 2010

    Let us not forget the key difference between large parrots and other household pets: A macaw or cockatoo will almost certainly outlive its owner.

  7. #7 "GrrlScientist"
    May 24, 2010

    joshua: large parrots do live a long time, and i’ve seen a fair number of cockatoos and macaws that are family members who grew up with the kids and then end up living with one or another of the adult kids after the parents retire, begin traveling, die, etc. (in fact, when caring for animals in NYC, i cared for several amazon parrots who were family members).

    that said, i am not sure how long you think most parrots live, but the claims that they can live 150 years are GREATLY exaggerated. in fact, the average, well cared for amazon or grey parrot will live 20-35 years while a cockatoo or macaw will live for 30-60 years in captivity, depending upon which species we are talking about. so it is true that a parrot CAN outlive its owner, especially if the owner got the bird when the person was in his or her 40s or more, but having a parrot outlive its owner is not as common as people think.

  8. #8 sara
    May 24, 2010
  9. #9 Jana
    May 24, 2010

    Joshua, yes, abandonment is a huge issue. It is with every animal any human has ever owned. Horses, dogs, cats – they can all fill shelters and make a story that will break your heart.

    But with regards to your 85% number – well, 75% of all statistics are completely made up on the spot; 83% of all people know *that*. If your argument is based on one documentary, I don’t think you have a clue what you’re talking about.

  10. #10 joshua
    May 24, 2010

    Jana:

    First of all, your mean spirited jibe at me is uncalled for.

    Second, just look at the pets section of your local Craigslist. There are macaws and cockatoos for “rehoming” every single day.

  11. #11 Jana
    May 25, 2010

    Joshua – meaner spirited than telling people involved in aviculture, bird medicine, and bird welfare that (based on one documentary), you know more than we do? You picked your number out of a hat! I could make just as accurate a documentary about people I know and work with who have incredible, loving, healthy, long-term relationships with their birds that are better than some people manage with their kids. It’s a complicated issue and you are reporting, inaccurately, only one tiny component that happens to fit your biases. As GrrlScientist said above, if you have any kind of global report (i.e. one that looks at rehoming in the context of all bird ownership, not just on its own), I’d love to see it.

    For reference, I’m a veterinary student who works with birds – wild and companion – and has for years.

  12. #12 Margrethe
    May 25, 2010

    People advocate banning bird ownership because one owner might not be able to properly care for their bird and it ends up in a rescue. People get really emotional on the subject. But humans dispose of their children all the time – on grandparents, foster care, even abandoning the completely but no one rallies to stop people from having kids. More people will get involved with or worry about some 300 birds in San Francisco but never give a thought to the hundreds or even thousands of humans in that city who are neglected and/or abused. Bird ownership is an emotional issue often involving an opinion without verifying the necessary facts.

  13. #13 Stephanie
    July 14, 2010

    I’ve seen a few documentaries on the “Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill” and honestly, I really don’t have an opinion on the subject. I am, however, a very responsible avian enthusiast and have the absolute pleasure of coming home to 3 parrots of my own. I worked countless hours with and assisted a reputable breeder in our town and learned as much as I could, hands on, before I actually purchased Dio, my first large “feathered child” (Yellow Nape Amazon.) Being a bird parent/owner is alot of hard work and many people buy one for the novelty of having a talking pet, but to their and their bird’s detriment, they rarely ever really get to know the bird. They’re amazing creatures with so much personality, amazing intelligence, and a spark that I haven’t seen in any other animal I’ve owned. Bird ownership is a privileged, an honor, and a joy that shouldn’t be taken for granted.

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