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Old 02-24-2013, 11:15 AM
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Possible home for a rescue bird

I've been volunteering weekly for the last two months at a rescue shelter to get experience with Macaws and to see if they are the right bird for me. I love them, but am a little wary of those massive beaks.

Well, the shelter just received 5 macaws(a catalina, blue and gold, military and 2 scarlets), 3 cockatoos, 6 amazons an african grey from the sherifs department who took them from a hoarder. These birds were in terrible condition. The macaws were kept in plastic dog crates. They have problems extending their wings. They are also very cage aggressive, especially the catalina that will try to attack any hand near her cage.

I'd really like to give a home to one of these birds and really like the macaws. I know that I don't have the experience yet, but the way they do adoptions, it is a slow process to make sure you are ready and a good match for the bird. They start you off with 2 day sleepovers, then you progress with 2 week stays and eventually full ownership. I will continue to volunteer there, so I will be gaining more experience every week and will have their support too. Also, the birds are still evidence so they probably won't even be able to be adopted for a month or so until the hoarder is prosecuted.

I noticed that a few of the macaws can not extend both wing evenly. Besides the catalina, while they are cage aggressive, they haven't been real biters. The blue and gold had plenty of chances to bite me, but thankfully didn't. I will do a separate post about that. The 2 scarlets seem to be the most friendly, though I have read on the forum that they can be more nippy.

Do you think it is crazy for me to even consider this? If not, what steps would you recommend for me to get ready for a companion bird? How should I select the one for me? Should I consider one if it has wing damage? I don't mind giving a home to a damaged bird, I just don't know if the needs of a bird with a damage wing, would be much more care than I will be able to provide.

I'm 50 years old, own a home and have a very stable life. I work from home, so I will be able to provide a great deal of time to a parrot.

Any advice will be greatly appreciated.
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Old 02-24-2013, 12:40 PM
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Re: Possible home for a rescue bird

I dont have macaws, but I know that there are hundreds of birds needing homes and few people prepared to deal with them. I guess the question is, what do you expect from the bird you adopt? Are you prepared to work with an animal that may take years to trust you? Are you prepared to get little or nothing in return for months or years, but not give up? Are you prepared for when you do get bit? It will happen one of these days, and there are threads here that will even provide pics of some of the damage (far less terrifying than you expect I think). Are you prepared for 90+ years of vet bills? The rescue should have EVERY bird checked fully by an avian vet before they even consider adoption, but these birds may have long term health problems. Are you prepared to sweep and vacuum 50+ times a day and not actually get anything clean? Are you prepared to buy and build toys for hours? Are you prepared to bird-proof your house? Are you prepared for hours and days of screaming? Rescues come with issues, many of them are screamers, and although the habit can be broken, it takes time. Birds are naturally loud, and sometimes they scream because they just plain feel good, and it sounds pretty great to them. My current foster bird sounds like a squeeky fan-belt, its like nails on a chalkboard. He is pretty quiet, unless super happy, then he makes the whole house cringe. I would never try to prevent him from doing this, he cant help it that he has a TERRIBLE voice. We have just learned to love him and tolerate it. When he tries to talk it comes out the same way, it will probably never change. If you are prepared for this, I say a huge "THANK YOU SIR!" and I encourage you to add a beautiful, smart, playful bird into your life. It will change you forever, and in the best way! At some point he or she will fall in love with you. The experience is so profound I cant even describe it. I will tell you it is ABSOLUTELY WORTH IT! But, not everyone is prepared for it. Luckily, you have found us! This is a fantastic place to get advice and support. You also have the support of the rescue, so you are in a better position than some people already. Can you do it? Absolutely, without a doubt, yes you can! Its up to you though, whether or not you are prepared for it. I have a tiny little red belly, and he now owns my ENTIRE house. Its like having a child that never grows up.
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Old 02-24-2013, 03:22 PM
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Re: Possible home for a rescue bird

Continue your shelter work, and when the right bird picks you, you'll know it! Don't be discouraged by the possible bad things. If we all let the possible problems turn us away from everything, none of us would ever have children! You'll know when things are right & go accordingly. The fact that you are helping at the shelter, tells me you have started on a path to parrot guardianship. That is a great place to learn the answers to questions you don't even know to ask yet. Good luck, and enjoy your good deeds with these birds.
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Old 02-24-2013, 03:30 PM
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Re: Possible home for a rescue bird

Sounds Like a similar sad story.

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Old 02-24-2013, 04:18 PM
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Re: Possible home for a rescue bird

yes, it does. I'm not the type of guy that gets very emotional, but to see these beautiful birds in such a small crate where they can't even open their wings makes me feel so sad... So even though I am not the most qualified macaw person, I want to do something to help them...
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Old 02-24-2013, 05:15 PM
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Re: Possible home for a rescue bird

That is wonderful that you are considering adopting one of the macaws. They truly are awesome birds to own & your gaining experience while learning if a macaw is right for you.

You ask about adopting a macaw with damaged wings. I can tell you that a macaw with a damaged wing, unless there is a definite health hazard of some kind will not be a problem to care for. I can say that because I have a Catalina macaw who has leg deformities which prevent him from being able to stand on a perch like his normal younger brother. One of his wings is affected and he was born with these conditions.

Angel can climb with the best of them, hang from the top wire with one nail, comes out on a play perch & lives life to the fullest as macaws love to do. He adjusts to not being able to stand on a perch by leaning across the the limbs & I do add a few more intertwined so he has plenty to support him. Other than that, he needs no extra care & is a real pleasure to have in my life. Angel will be 2 yrs. old in April.

I also have a 5 1/2 month Green Wing macaw female that has part of her left wing where it bends down on the flappy part missing. The father bird bit it off when she was a day old I am told by her breeder. Kitty, her breeder tells me Ruby Jewel is super cuddly & needs no special care due to the missing wing part other than wing trims on the good wing to balance her out. If the right wing isn't trimmed, it can make her unbalanced & she will go around in circles. A very minor adjustment for her to have a happy long life. I will get to meet my special girl when she is weaned.

So, anyway I thought I'd give you a little input & maybe a nudge in favor of a macaw or any parrot for that matter that is not quite perfect. There are some that do have true special needs, but so many more that just look a little different & are super sweet despite their disabilities.
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Old 02-24-2013, 05:50 PM
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Re: Possible home for a rescue bird

Only you can know if a macaw is right for you. That being said if you feel that you have the fortitude to deal with the problems that come along with a bird that is distrustful and fearful, it would be wonderful to give an abused mistreated bird a wonderful forever home. If you do decide to adopt one of these macaws it will be a long rough road for the two of you but it will be so rewarding in the end. Macaws are wonderful, sweet and silly birds. Good luck.
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Old 02-24-2013, 08:53 PM
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Re: Possible home for a rescue bird

Quote: Originally Posted by Turquoise View Post
So, anyway I thought I'd give you a little input & maybe a nudge in favor of a macaw or any parrot for that matter that is not quite perfect. There are some that do have true special needs, but so many more that just look a little different & are super sweet despite their disabilities.
Thank you so much, that is great to hear. One of the rescued birds was an amazon and both wings had to be amputated. It is still such a sweet and amazing bird. Thanks for sharing about your parrots, they sound like wonderful companions and lucky to have such a loving home.
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