Friday Grey Matters: Michigan Bird Education and Rescue Program

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What do you do when your pet African Grey parrot, which have a lifespan of 65-80 years, will likely out live you? Well, you have to make sure that it is provided for in your will, according to Dottie Kennedy, head of Rainbow Feathers bird club in southern Michigan.

"You have to be sure the bird's taken care of," said the Livonia [Michigan] resident. It's part of the message Kennedy and members of the Rainbow Feathers Bird Club deliver in educational programs they present at libraries, preschools, churches and in exchange for donations to fund the club's bird rescue program.

The club was founded in 1997 and draws members from throughout southeastern Michigan. In addition to its educational programs and bird rescue -- "We take in birds, we don't buy them," said Kennedy -- it also raises money for scholarships for avian veterinary students at Michigan State University and to support avian research projects.

It started its rescue/relocation program in 1998 and has taken in almost 100 birds. Carol and her husband, Dave, along with Kathy Tromblay coordinate the rescue program for the club.

According to Carol, the reasons for surrendering birds can range from allergy problems to the birds being too loud.

"People will buy the bird because they think it's cool or cute and don't realize how long it can live or the noise it makes," she said.

"We try to help them keep their bird, but if they can't, we find a place for them."

Parrot education and rescue is vital in trying to make potential owners understand that having a bird is like having a perpetual 4 year old for the rest of your life. Which, can be a delightful thing, if you're prepared for it and can respect the bird as a companion rather than a pet.

Info: The Rainbow Feathers Bird Club meets at 2 p.m. the fourth Sunday of the month at the First United Methodist Church, 6443 Merriman, south of Ford, in Garden City, MI. Information about the educational programs is available by calling Dottie Kennedy at (734) 525-6833. For bird rescues, call the Dave or Tammy Carol at (734) 422-5981 or Kathy Tromblay at (734) 941-1517.
smason@hometownlife.com | (734) 953-2112

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