Monday, November 29, 2004

Giving Parrots The Care They Need

Sandi Madsen holds a small parrot named Maya, which had been pulling out its own feathers from stress when Sandi rescued it. Many of the birds Sandi takes in show signs of environmental stress which Sandi patiently works to overcome before finding new owners to adopt the birds.

Sandi runs Ollie's Parrot's Perch, a boarding house for parrots, and A Place To Call Home, a parrot rescue service. Both are operated out of her rural home."Birds take to me, and that's how I got involved," she said.Sandi's mother had a bird that seemed to dislike everybody in the family except for Sandi. She became intrigued and wanted to find out more about the bird's behavior.Eventually, Sandi's interest led her to open the boarding service to those who wanted to drop off their birds while they were out of town.
"When I started, I thought there were no parrots out here," she said. "Boy, was I wrong."While several people used her service, others came asking if Sandi would permanently keep the birds. Some owners grew tired of the parrots, which Sandi described as being like two-year-olds."You need to find the right person for the bird," she said. "It takes patience. "Sandi characterizes the birds as being very needy and requiring a lot of attention."People don't realize parrots have attitudes," she said. "They get jealous."
Some parrots have come to A Place To Call Home after being abused or abandoned."Unless you understand why they do what they do, it's difficult to have them as a pet," According to Sandi, some owners don't realize that their parrot must become familiar with them. She said they cannot force the bird to do things."When you go to grab them, they have to know you," Sandi suggests owners read books aloud while sitting next to their birds' cages so that the birds become familiar with their owners' voices. Sandi currently has about six birds in her house. Some of them were rescued, others are part of the boarding service. Only two of them are hers. Sandi said she tries not to become too emotionally attached to the birds. She doesn't want to keep them all for herself."I love them to death, but if I find the perfect home I know they are better off." DeKALB

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