Embracing parrontal mortality for the benefit of fids: A discussion of avian custodianship!


Supporting Member
Aug 21, 2010
San Diego, California USA, Earth, Milky Way Galaxy
Goffins: Gabby, Abby, Squeaky, Peanut, Popcorn / Citron: Alice / Eclectus: Angel /Timneh Grey: ET / Blue Fronted Amazon: Gonzo /

RIP Gandalf and Big Bird, you are missed.
An uncomfortable reality of parronthood is possibility one or more fids outlives our time on Earth. Discussion of personal mortality generally taboo though introspection, research, and creative solutions may bring comfort. The final, kindest gift we can bestow is safe, secure, enduring longevity for our beloved companions whether feathered, furred, aquatic, or scaly skinned. Dear reader, my fervent hope is a bit of planning alleviates confusion, anxiety and stress of the unknown! Preamble to discussion is legal concepts within are limited to the United States; members welcome to share their national laws and protocols.

A bittersweet fact is most of us will outlive companion animals, though parrots are outliers with extraordinary long lives. Canvassing family, friends, co-workers, or trusted associates for lifelong care in your absence the simplest yet least binding method. Alternatives include re-homing for fee, delivery to shelter or humane society for adoption, and my personal preference for entrusting to sanctuary for perpetual care. One or two orphaned birds have reasonable chance of landing feet-first on secure perch at new home. Larger flocks at risk for displacement to multiple venues, breaking pair bonds, undoing years of lovingly fostered socialization. Would you rather leave matters to fate or document your wishes and provide a means for successful transition? Please carefully consider oral promises or good faith intentions as speculative!

Animals in the U.S. are considered personal property with virtually nonexistent legal representation.
Persons passing away without a will or trust are considered “intestate.” Probate Court establishes an executor for orderly discharge of assets including “pets” aka “personal property.” Sounds cold and impersonal because it is – only protections are weak, problematic anti-cruelty statutes. Folks with wills or trusts cannot leave funds directly to an animal but may bequeath assets to trusted individual with instructions for care. Highest level of forethought is dedicated pet trust with enforceable legality and comprehensive guidelines. Thorough estate planning with an attorney is crucial to assure your companions transition to safe haven in your absence.

My personal quest to safeguard flock is result of epiphany during recent trust overhaul. None of my family members, friends, or associates desire flock of eight when I pass. Not one, perhaps sign of sanity! Thankfully many are willing to facilitate orderly discharge of my wishes. My preference to keep flock intact led to conclusion of sanctuary as best option. Sadly, many havens are poorly funded, improperly managed, without long term financial or management security. In all of Southern California, just one, possibly two facilities meet my standards and requires plethora of pre-testing, either one-time bequest or periodic revenue stream. They are included in my trust along with named facilitators of transfer. A rough guideline of yearly small bird or medium parrot care is $600 to $2000. Large flocks invite negotiation for economies of scale and introduce longevity uncertainty. Life insurance actuaries are scarily accurate for humans, divining how an avian collection sunsets over time an impossibility.

My friends, please discuss personal stories, anecdotes, lessons learned, differing views! Together we can learn, educate, hopefully resolve an admittedly squeamish topic!

Resources: Nearly infinite sources of opinion and legal guidance, please use due diligence researching solutions for self and flock! Sites below shared for reference only.
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