Why I Don’t Make a Good “Permanent” Home for Rescue Birds

Photo by Dave
Location: Moab, UT
With: Blue throated macaw “Jinx”, Camelot macaws “Tusa” & “Comet”

One of my FAVORITE things is taking in other people’s birds and totally transforming them. Me doing this lead to our Total Transformation Course at BirdTricks where we realized we should be sharing these tools we use to change other people’s birds with those people so they can learn how to do it themselves. It was a great thing and even after the fact, I still enjoy doing it because every bird teaches me something new, and getting the experience of learning different species of parrots body language is priceless to me. I really love taking on “case studies” and working with other people’s birds, but my favorite part about it is giving the bird back to the person afterwards and watching their relationship change into something positive and new.

Photo by Dave
Location: Waynesboro, VA
With macaws: Camelot macaws “Tusa” & “Comet”, blue throated macaw “Jinx”

When I do these case studies, as I will call them, with other people’s parrots, I do them when I am in a steady environment like at my home in Florida (this is a time when I worked with blue fronted amazon parrot “Storm” and hyacinth macaw “Hymie”). Other times I was in Coney Island, NY for three months and Dave took on a blue and gold macaw baby named Coco.

My lifestyle as it is, is WAY too stressful for a rescue bird, rehomed bird, or someone else’s bird to handle. Going from the home they are used to – to a part in my life is crazy. It’s going from boiling hot to freezing cold. You’re talking about a person who thrives on changes, LOVES moving (that’s right, I actually enjoy packing and unpacking boxes and going through my things – redesigning my next bedroom and home…)

My lifestyle is something that can be dangerous to a bird if it’s not raised into it like all my birds have been. That’s why every bird I’ve taken in (adopted) out of feeling bad or pressured, or like “I’m the best home possible” has ended in me passing the bird onto a place that is actually right for that bird because my lifestyle proved too much. When taking on a case study bird I’ve made a commitment to stay still for the betterment and change of that bird.

Photo by Dave
Location: Moab, UT
With me: Blue throat macaw “Jinx” & Camelot macaw “Tusa”

Prime examples were taking on Crash (military macaw) and Ace (rose breasted cockatoo). I literally took Ace on as we were about to go on tour… for 2 years… moving each week. Sometimes mid week. But really I moved more than that because I’d pull over to freefly or stay the night at a friend's house and hang with our parrots the next day in the yard. So I wasn’t just getting to the next place, I was taking my time and moving more than just weekly. Ace got insanely sick the first few months into tour, and thankfully he made it through, it was metal toxicity, but birds are more susceptible to illness when stressed and the only time Ace did well with me was when we were steady in Coney Island, NY and I spent every day sitting in the aviary with him for an hour before every show (twice a day) with one day off. This type of routine and steadiness he loved and thrived on, but the minute we were up and moving again the stress would ensue. My lifestyle isn’t something you put a parrot into and hope it hangs on, it can be dangerous and learning that was a hard lesson but a real one – my birds can do it with me because they know nothing else. This is how it has always been. Heck, I remember picking up Bondi in Oregon while working at fairs and then going to Kansas immediately after with her. I recall getting our macaws while on a cruise ship. We got Bandit and immediately traveled up to Idaho with him while he was still hand feeding. We were hand feeding all our babies over Christmas one year in the northwest…

Cressi was picked up in Las Vegas while Chet and Dave were there and came across her at a used car battery place. Our budgies were born in Saipan while performing nightly at a dinner theater for 13 months. Everyone was not only born on the road but used to it from day 1.

For me to take in a rescue bird and expect it to keep up is just unthinkable. Which is why I’m not adopting any birds into my flock.

Photo by Dave
Location: Orlando, FL
Shown: Camelot macaw “Comet”

I literally can’t. I get off the road from a two year tour and tell everyone I’m taking time off – then head out 3 days later for the Bahamas, 1 week after that for Aruba, a few days after that Virginia, a week after that California. I’m home now and already have plans to go to Washington state in a few days, travel all around Florida for the entire month of January into February and then go to the British Virgin Islands after that and maybe Las Vegas. It just seems impossible for me to sit still – mainly because of what I do for a living. Work takes me places and I have to be able to provide for my loving flock, and this is how I do it.

Photo by Dave
Location: Orlando, FL
Flying at my face: Galahs “Bondi” & “Bandit”

My next big adventure of 6 months is in Athol, Idaho to perform at Silverwood Theme Park; it will be my most steady place yet. And getting new birds for the show is a huge endeavor. I’ve had so much fun planning what we will train and what we already have in place for the ParrotFX show. We decided to get some new smaller birds to fill Bondi’s role – she will be performing Catapoultry in the new ParrotFX show but we took away anything else she’d be having to do and wanted to replace her so that she can be more of a pet status. Ever since her yeast infection and minor abnormal behaviors we wanted to go easier on her without putting the weight on the rest of our flock to perform more, instead we have given them all their own tasks and decided to bring on new birds to carry the on the other routines. We wanted small birds because we feel our medium sized and large sized parrots are not enough.

With a little help from our facebook fans in deciding, we decided on sun conures and this post came about on its own because of course, like great bird owners, they were all telling us to adopt the new birds we would be adding to our flock. And being me, I did look on a few adoption websites to see what was available. I found that I had a very hard time finding already bonded pairs of sun conures that were fully flighted. And unless I wanted to adopt single sun conures and work on socializing, waiting for flight feathers and molts, and excessive training – it wasn’t going to happen in time for our Silverwood contract opening in May 2012. I just knew adoption wasn’t an option for what I needed from these birds and more importantly, I know that I’m not the right home for those birds.

Photo by Dave
Location: Cruise ship
Kissing: Galah “Bandit”

However of course I feel guilty that for me, adoption doesn’t work out best for the bird which is why I’ve given any birds I’ve adopted out of feeling guilt for them to better places where they can actually thrive. I’ve learned not to take them on in the first place anymore, as much as I feel responsible for needing to (don’t we all?) and I ADMIRE people who can offer a thriving environment for those birds. I’m just not it and it’s something I’ve had to come to grips with. I can, however, use my strengths to give the people the tools to BE LIKE that and offer the birds they’re about to give up on a thriving environment as well as a fun loving relationship with their parrots that they never dreamed was possible.

You don’t have to raise your bird from a baby to have an awesome relationship with your bird and thankfully, few people live their lives like I live mine and carry on my lifestyle – making it more possible for people to adopt and with the right tools, have lifelong companions out of their parrots.

Jamieleigh Womach has been working with parrots and toucans since the age of 17. She isn’t homeless but is home less than she prefers to be. She travels the world with her husband, daughter, and a flockful of parrots with whom she shares the stage.

2 comments

pearl

beautiful new babies how about princess for one i have a grey that tells me what todo when to do it and how also seems like a babysitter in a cage will tell the kids what they have to do when to go to school when to get up and to stop fighting lol did not know they are that smart and would not part with her for the world she was a rehomed bird she is my baby

pearl
DEIRDRE (DEE) WILLIAMS

i THINK YOU ARE DOING A GREAT JOB AND WISH i WAS UP TO IT TO, i USED TO DO BIRD RESCUE YRS AGO FROM UNWANTED PETS DUE TO BAD HABITS TO WILD BIRDS THAT HAD TO BE RESTED UP BEFOR RELEASEING AGAIN i LOVED IT. i HAVE AN aFRICAN GREY hARLEY 3YRS OLD HE WAS A TERRIBLE BITER WHEN HE WAS BOUGHT FOR ME BUT i WAS AS STUBBORN IF NOT MORE SO THAN HIM AFTER 3 MONTHS WITH FINGER CONSTANTLY PLASTERED DUE TO BITES HE REALISED i WASN’T THAT BAD AND i SURE WASN’T SCARED OF HIM NOW HE LOVES ME TO PEICES ESPECIALLY GETTING TICKLES HE WILL COME TO ME WHEN CALLED AND TALKS UP A STORM HE HAS TAUGHT OUR 5YR OLD SENEGAL HOW TO OPEN HIS CAGE THERE IS NO OTHER EXPLANATION AS TO WHY TIKO HAS STARTED DOING IT. wE HAVE HAD TIKO SINCE HE WAS A BABY AS i ASKED BREEDER FOR A SMALLER PARROT I COULD FINISHE HAND REARING, HE WAS IN A TUB WITH LOTS OF BABY BIRDS ASSORTED CONURES i HANDLED THEM ALL EVERY TIME I PICKED TIKO UP THE NAME CAME INTO MY MIND COULD BE MY PSYCHIC TENDANCY, WHEN WE GOT HIN HOME HE KEPT FALLING OFF HIS PERCH AFTER A QUICK LOOK AT HIS FEET NOTICED ONE WAS THE WRONG WAY ROUND IT HAD A RING ON THAT LEG SO IT CAME TO ME IT HAD GOT BROKEN THROUGH ROUGH HANDLING, I RANG THE BREEDER HE SAID HE WOULD SWAP HIM AND USE HIM FOR BREEDING THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN IMMPOSSIBLE AND I JUST KNEW HE WOULD RING HIS NECK SO REFUSED THE OFFER. aS I AM A REIKI CRYSTAL THERAPIST I WORKED ON HIS FOOT WITH MY CRYSTALK MAKING EVERYTHING A GAME IT TOOK A WHILE BUT I DID GET IS STRAIGHT JUST 1 TOE TURNS UP BUT HE CAN HOLD THE TINIEST THINGS HE’S A LITTLE POPPET AND ADORES MY HUBBY (LUCKY AS HARLEY JUST WANTS TO BITE HIM AS HE KNOWS HUBY IS SCARED OF HIM). wOULD LOVE MORE BIRDS BUT WE ARE BOTH DISABLED AND THE BUNGALOW IS JUST TO SMALL, i HAVE A WILD BIRD SECTION IN MY GARDEN AND HAVE A WIDE VARIETY OF VISITORS FROM JENY WRENS TO A RAVEN WITH A WHITE FEATHER IN IT’S WING(NEVER HAVE CAMERA HANDY WHEN IT COMES BUT MY FAVORITES ARE THE RING NECK DOVES WOULD LOVE A DOVECOTE AND A COUPLE OF WHITE DOVES GOT THE PLANES AND KEEPING INSTRUCTIONS SO HOPING HUBBY WILL TAKE HINT FOR B’DAY PRESSIE THIS YR.. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK YOUR AMAZING.

DEIRDRE (DEE) WILLIAMS

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