AS THE YEARS GO BY, Phoenix Landing assumes protective custody for an increasing number of birds. We strive to maintain responsibility for them for their entire lives. Since birds live a long time, we believe that each home should be a good one.
This is very personal for me because Phoenix , my greenwing macaw, should outlive me by several decades. I am “paying forward” in the great hope that someone will look out for Phoenix when I no longer can. Do you worry about your bird’s future the way I do?
This idea goes to the heart of what Phoenix Landing stands for:
- It’s not often that one person can care for a parrot for their entire life (assuming the bird remains healthy);
- Birds deserve to have a good home each time, not just in the home that first acquired them;
- The term “forever home” is highly discouraged when it comes to parrots. Even the smallest parakeet can live 20 years, and frankly, very few people remain committed or able to provide a long-term home. People’s lives change, through no fault of their own, due to health, marriage, children, money, jobs, housing, family responsibilities, and even death. Caring for parrots can also be hard work.
- Ideally, non-profit parrot organizations will offer a mechanism for ensuring a succession of good homes for any bird that comes through their system. This means the organization needs to be sustainable for a very long time, and not just operated by one person or out of someone’s house; unfortunately, those organizations don’t tend to last as long as a parrot’s healthy lifespan. I am so grateful to everyone that is involved with Phoenix Landing, because our strength and longevity will come from many of us each doing a small part. We are all “paying forward” and I’m guessing you want the same safe future for your birds as I do for mine.
- One way we can help parrots is to encourage adoption. Let’s inform people that all companion birds deserve to have a succession of good homes. Someday your bird will likely need one or more new homes too, and you’ll want those to be good ones. Let’s promote adoption as the norm, not just something for the “rescues.”
- Another way we can help parrots is to teach people that birds are resilient, regardless of their past. Nature has built them to be adaptable in order to survive. Phoenix Landing rarely uses the word rescue because this word conjures up a sense of abuse, neglect, harm, and baggage. Most of the birds that come to us are from loving homes where it is just no longer possible for them to care for a bird; but even true rescue birds are likely to adapt if given an opportunity to thrive. I have yet to meet a parrot that was not adoptable, there is usually an appropriate family for each and every one.
Since 2003, Phoenix Landing has taken responsibility for over 1,940 birds. So far, about 150 of the adopted birds have been re-homed, and foster homes often change too. As the years go by, a growing number of Phoenix Landing birds will need to be adopted again and again. The good news is that we put the same hard work and effort into finding the 2nd, 3rd and 4th homes as we did the 1st one.
In a handful of situations, we have lost track of a bird because someone chooses not to abide by the specific policies outlined in our foster and adoption agreements. I must confess that it deeply disturbs me when someone disrespects the goodwill intentions of Phoenix Landing, and most importantly the long-term interests of the bird. We will never give up trying to keep a watchful eye on every bird that comes thru Phoenix Landing.
One of the ways we try to keep in touch with our adopting families is through our Alumni Program. Several people help with this function since a growing number of birds now fall under the protective umbrella of Phoenix Landing. In fact, we could use some additional help. If you are interested, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’d like to give a special thanks to our extraordinary adoption coordinators (Debbie Russell, MD; Jenny Drummey, VA; Sarah Ptomey, WV; Kevin Blaylock, TN/VA; and Nina Roshon, NC). No matter how many birds they are trying to place, how many need yet another new home, how many challenging people they encounter – they always keep the welfare and future of the birds first and foremost. They are motivated and rewarded by all the good matches they make, parrot-by-parrot. I hope you will join me in giving them a special cheer of gratitude. Someday your parrot may need them too!