Paying Forward

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?

Ann & Phoenix

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.

Moose and Gizmo
Moose and Gizmo macaws were adopted in 2006, and they are now
looking for their next new home.   They are delightful birds!

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.

Tiffany, a Citron Cockatoo
Looking for Her Next Home

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

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!

8 thoughts on “Paying Forward

  1. If it were an option for Phoenix Landing to provide a permanent home for parrots (meaning no financial, space, staff, etc. problems) would that be considered? If not why not?
    Are parrots not wild and should not be in captivity, unlike domesticated cats and dogs?
    I highly respect Phoenix Landing and all their dedicated team.
    Thank you.


  2. I so applaud Phoenix Landing for all you do. As I read the above and look at those faces, and then look at the faces of my beloved flock, Iknow that someday, too, I will probably have to place them. I am not young anymore, and caring for them as they need to be is going to be getting harder and harder for me. I love my babies, and I do want them to go to good and loving homes. I can’t bear the thought of any one of them being unhappy. I hope when that time comes, Phoenix Landing will still be carrying on, doing what they do, and maybe, just maybe, my very loved birds will have good forever lives.


  3. Thanks Patricia and Gloria! To answer Gloria’s question about a permanent facility for birds, we’d love to do that. However, it definitely takes money — not only the money to build the structure and provide the staff and resources, but I believe it also takes an endowment in the bank to ensure it is sustainable. Too many times people set up a facility for birds to live in permanently, and then later lose their health, run out of money, or just lose interest or the capacity for proper care. We have had birds come to us several times from such situations. Good people can have the right intentions, but without a long-term plan, it’s not a rock solid place for the birds to live out their lives. And since birds can live a long time, I think we have to plan accordingly if we really want it to be a secure, permanent situation.


  4. I”ve been around long enough to watch people start “permanent sanctuaries” with, I’m sure, the best of intentions, only to just take in every pet bird that comes their way and…before long..another parrot warehouse has been formed and birds that would thrive in a new home are condemned to a totally different kind of life…until as noted, the founder, or founders..and there are usually just a few people involved..get tired of it all, or find that donations don’t come in as expected, and they simply don’t have the time, energy, or money to keep it going, and all too often….the “sanctuaries” also go sadly downhill along the way before foundering. This has been on my mind a lot recently, with many of the Troy parrots going to a “life time sanctuary”. I”m happy that some of them, the greys, will go to a well-established facility with long-term plans AND that they will be worked with and those with pet potential will have a chance to be adopted out.


  5. Hello Ann, I’ve had my cockatoo on your listing for a while now. My COPD is making life harder but now I fear I may lose my job in the not too near future and probably won’t be able to afford where I am living. I am trying to find a home for him on Long Island and the parrot society is looking but so far nothing. Any suggestions on what I can do before this situation becomes dire?
    I would never sell him or put him on Craig’s list. He is family to me for 22 years and I love him dearly.


    • Hi Joan, I’m very sorry, we have so many cockatoos waiting in our area as is, and many already in the system needing the next home, it’s just really tough to say when/if we can help. Have you tried putting signs at avian vet offices? I would avoid Craigs list if possible! Ann


  6. Hi Joan, I am so sorry for your plight. Have you contacted Marc Johnson at Foster Parrots, LTD 508-577-0111. I know his facility is close to capacity, but he may be able to help you. Unfortunately, as I’m in GA, I can’t help you. Otherwise, I’d take in your baby or refer him to Ms. Vickis Parrot Village. She does an excellent job placing her birds, very carefully, and following up. Craig list is not an option.


  7. Hello,
    I am the proud owner of a 2yr old, what we believe to be male, Umbrella Cockatoo. My family calls him Max. I prefer to call him Baby bruiser he is just that, my previous, cuddly, adorable, oh so loud, little baby. He puts a smile on everyone’s face that he meets. His personality amazes me every day. I love him as much as my three natural children hehe.


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