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Forever Home
by Heidi Clark
Before I came to live here, I don't remember much.
I guess I choose not to look back at times that were so tough.
It was kind of cold there, in a room left all alone
Hungry, bored, and nervous, in that other home.
I really do forgive them, guess they didn't know
exactly all my needs and wants, and love I have to show.
But they were kind to give me up and you should see me now!
My eyes are bright, my feathers shine, a big new cage and Wow!
The food is good, my cage is clean, and I get lots of playtime!
They talk to me, they scratch my head, and all these toys? They're MINE!
My family now, they care enough to meet my basic needs.
But, OH, they give much more than that
and I wish they could see...
that I wish all my feathered friends had Parronts like I own.
I'm a very lucky, happy bird, in my forever home.

.....It isn't a question of money, but more a question of ethics.  The failure rate of many pets purchased or acquired on a whim is staggering. In my career of zoology working over my life time for the rights of animals, the failure rate of keeping parrots as pets until they die a happy old age is abysmal. Sadly, too many people with little more thought than they use for purchasing the latest cell phone, purchase a beautiful and appealing parrot to bring home as a beloved pet and after a period of time lose interest and want to unload them .........somewhere.  What most people know about owning a parrot is not sufficient  to keep the pet happy and healthy.  Besides being a highly intelligent, sensitive and beautiful creature, parrots also have other attributes that seem to work against them. They are immensely complex in their dietary needs, housing, are extremely destructive, and they are long lived when compared to a dog or cat. That means they can live a very long and miserable life if they aren’t given the requirements they need. When the parrot finds itself in a home in which it is no longer loved and wanted, it suffers terribly from neglect and can become a pathetic feather plucked creature as it sits hours on end  with no mental stimulus except ripping feathers out. 

If the responsible owner finally faces the fact that the relationship is not working out, things may begin to improve for the  depressed parrot. As sad as the situation is, there can be hope if the parrot is placed in a sanctuary with others. Imagine your joy at suddenly finding a friend of your own species to spend  your life with after years of living alone.  The bird can finally live “happily ever after” in the company of it’s own. 

It is sanctuaries such as The Parrot Education Project, located in Lyerly, Georgia  that not only provides a home for unwanted parrots of all species, but helps educate people about  the requirements of pet parrots and why most parrots belong in the wild. The immense undertaking of this organization comes at a huge financial price. Giving these special birds all they need to provide the proper nutrition they have lacked for many years as well as appropriate housing with their own kind comes at a substantial price. How worthwhile is it?  Besides providing the life they deserve ethically, many of these birds are highly endangered in the wild and so, their precious numbers are often desperately needed to continue the gene pool for their survival as a species. 

Having spent many years working with parrots during my life’s work, I must confess that I have a special love for these incredible animals and feel they have been greatly maligned by basically well meaning but unknowing people. I am fortunate living in the rain forest where I see these gorgeous birds flying free. Unfortunately pet parrots can never adapt to enjoy that freedom. 

It is  the hard work of sanctuaries such as The Parrot Education Project that deserve our financial support.  Instead of purchasing a beautiful bird that most likely will be inappropriate as your pet, please consider a generous donation to the sanctuary to give these birds a second chance at happiness.

Written by: Gloria Dempsey, Zoologist, Costa Rica

How Much is that Parrot in the Window?
Birds Know
When the South Sea beckons
When the whipping wind
Blows all asunder
And the days turn gray
Grow wet and dreary

See them drift against the blue
Sing the rich green emerald trees
Skim the beach
Alive with joy

Birds know
When the South Sea beckons

So my dear
Let's slip the gnarly bonds of earth
Leave the bone cold land  behind
We'll catch the feather train at dawn
Dine on crab cakes, cool white wine
Under tropic stars
By moon full lakes
When the parrots sleep
Sometime tonight

                                 david mott 2010