Angry (releasing captive-bred and exotic birds)

I recently responded to a YouTube comment on a video about behavioural enrichment for parrots (https://youtu.be/zG1t54tnI4A) that said that their enrichment of choice for captive-bred birds is to release them into the wild. My reply politely explained exactly why releasing captive-bred exotic birds into the wild is wrong, and asked them not to do it anymore, and of course got a rude response. Admittedly when I responded again with greater detail in my explanations of why they shouldn’t do it, I got a little heated.I should really know better than to respond to YouTube trolls. However, when they actively endorse the release of captive-bred exotic birds into environments where they don’t belong, and then turn around and accuse me of animal cruelty, I can’t help but get fired up, especially since people who don’t know better might take them seriously and start releasing exotic birds under the impression that they’re helping. >:(I provide my bird with cooked food and veggies and fruit every day. She has a bazillion different toys, many homemade, and she spends hours out of her cage with me every day. Her wings aren’t clipped, and she can fly if she wants to (though she usually doesn’t, because she’s a lazy bum). I have never and would never raise a hand against her, even when she bites hard enough to draw blood. I couldn’t bear to have anything bad happen to her. So when people accuse me and every other responsible bird keeper of animal cruelty (including the exotic animal rescue they claim to support which gives birds and many other animals a caring forever home), on the basis of keeping a captive-bred bird as a companion, then I’m going to get angry. Especially when they twist and misuse scientific evidence to support their claims, and then claim that because I support the responsible keeping of companion birds by people who have educated themselves on their needs I must also support the use of battery cages for factory hens. This really got under my skin because I’m actually vegetarian, and have also cared for free-range hens in the past.I’m sure pretty much everyone here understands why releasing captive-bred birds into the wild is objectively bad, but for anyone browsing these forums who might feel like keeping birds in cages is wrong, releasing caged birds is much, much worse. Captive-bred birds have no survival skills. Even wild-caught birds (and they are few in North America, though there are some still alive from before it became illegal to import wild-caught birds to the USA in 1992) can’t be released because they were often permanently injured or very young when caught. Releasing them into the wild is almost certainly a death sentence: they will get eaten by predators, hit by cars, and tortured by cruel people; if they don’t, they will likely die from starvation, dehydration, or disease. On the off-chance they do survive, if they are able to establish a breeding population they become an invasive species that can cause irreparable harm to the ecosystem to which they were introduced - just look at all the problems Australia has had. The introduction of invasive species is why the importation of animals is so strictly regulated, and the exportation of native wildlife completely illegal.Also, releasing exotic animals into the wild is actually illegal pretty much everywhere, so just… don’t do it, 'kay?Also, I find it hypocritical that many people are so strongly against keeping captive-bred companion birds pretty much only on the basis that they can fly. Fish can swim and breathe underwater - should they be kept in tanks? Cats have retractable claws, excellent night vision, and can climb - should they be kept in houses? Dogs have an incredible sense of smell, and can be as smart as a human toddler - why is it okay to keep dogs in our homes and not birds? I have never actually met anyone who so strongly advocates for the release of any other kind of exotic animal, like reptiles, and small mammals - it’s pretty much always only birds, and the only real reason I can get out of such people is that it’s because birds can fly.I don’t think everyone should have a bird as a companion. I DEFINITELY don’t think everyone should be able to breed them. But if people like this really want to see fewer birds in cages, then they should be advocating for better education on bird care, encouraging people to adopt homeless birds rather than purchase babies, advocating for the shutdown of parrot breeding mills, and volunteering at rescues and shelters.The only reason I keep responding to this YouTube troll is because I hope that anyone else who might think it’s better to release captive-bred birds might read my responses and understand why it’s so terrible. Releasing captive birds might seem like a kindness to most… but it’s actually cruelty in disguise.

Thanks, Wolf. I really just can’t engage with them anymore. For one, it’s clearly not working, and two, they keep accusing me of having flawed logic when none of their arguments make any sense at all. Introducing invasive species to fragile ecosystems is NOT evolution at work - like seriously bro, do you even science?Not to mention they accuse me of supporting the keeping of factory chickens in battery cages, and then when I inform them that I am, in fact, vegetarian, they then tell me that I clearly have a vitamin deficiency and should eat more meat. Like, what the actual frick? beats head on desk That last comment seems to have been deleted anyway, so they’re pretty clearly a troll. I won’t get anywhere by attempting to reason with them… I can only hope that anyone else reading that comment feed who might be considering releasing captive-bred birds will take my arguments seriously (as they should because they’re backed up with actual science and objective facts).I also sent a message to the people who run the channel to request that they make a video on why it’s bad to release exotic pets into the wild. A major part of the reason for my frustration is that I hear the “Oh, birds shouldn’t be kept in cages, and I want to set them all free” sentiment far too often and it gets tiring to keep explaining to people why that’s bad. I feel like it should really be a matter of common sense, but when I actually go out and discover how few people are anywhere near scientifically literate I can’t say I’m that surprised. Disappointed and discouraged, but not surprised. sighI’m hoping they make a video on the subject because people are more willing to take experts seriously than random people on the internet, and they can reach a lot more people than I can.

Wolf wrote:Very well put !Kudos!Thank you for taking them on. I get angry beyond control at such stupid "holier than thou" people who get an idea and then close their ears to logic. I think I know what you mean by troll and hope that is what it is instead of a real idiot releasing feathered beings just to let them die.

When it comes to parrots, there are no experts, up until parrots started becoming a major item in the pet trade about 25 years ago there was no research being done on them. This is one of the primary reasons that there is so much conflicting information on the web right now. Just try not to get too upset when dealing with this type of person as you can’t win an argument if you become too emotionally entangled that you can’t maintain your train of thought.

I read the first 2 paragraphs but the rest it too long so I flicked through it.Your right they have a better chance living with us than in the wild and thats stupid how they would release them in the wrong habitat.

Wolf wrote:When it comes to parrots, there are no experts, up until parrots started becoming a major item in the pet trade about 25 years ago there was no research being done on them. This is one of the primary reasons that there is so much conflicting information on the web right now. Just try not to get too upset when dealing with this type of person as you can’t win an argument if you become too emotionally entangled that you can’t maintain your train of thought.The thing is, I run into people at pet stores who express this sort of sentiment all the time, but they’re usually not openly rude when I respond… in fact, most of them really don’t understand just how bad it is to release captive-bred exotics into the wild. Once I explain to them that with proper care and enrichment, parrots can lead very happy and fulfilling lives in human homes, they’re generally pretty accepting of it.What really got a rise out of me in this instance was when they turned it back around on me and told me of animal cruelty even after I explained how carefully I take care of my bird.Also, I actually got a response from the creator of the video we were commenting on, and she said that that person is a troll who has been hanging around on her videos for a while. She also said that she had been thinking about doing a video on released exotic animals becoming invasive species for a while and would work on writing a script.

Despite the fact that there are several feral parrot populations in this country there has been no evidence that they compete with the local indigineous bird populations for food or nesting site or in any other area. The Quaker is, however, listed as an invasive species even though there is no evidence to support this claim.

I suppose it depends on how you define ‘invasive’. The way it was always explained to me is that invasive species are those which are introduced by humans into environments to which they aren’t native. A lot of the times this is harmful, but that harm may be in varying degrees from no or almost no damage, to disastrous levels of damage. So, you might have the Quaker parrots in New York City that don’t seem to cause any damage (except maybe whatever results from building those giant nests on hydro poles) on one hand, and on the other you have the Burmese pythons causing major trouble in Florida for the Everglades.From what I understand of the situation, the feral Quaker parrots in NYC were actually supposed to be culled on the basis that they were invasive, but have been allowed to stay because their invasion of the urban ecosystem would actually be beneficial to humans; it was hoped that they would reproduce enough to eliminate (or at least decrease) rock dove (pigeon) populations in the city. It was decided that the parrots would be protected because parrot poop is less corrosive and causes less damage to buildings and statues than the pigeons do… and the pigeons themselves are technically also an invasive species, so you’d really just be trading one invasive species for another in that case. Either way, the peregrine falcons living in the city would still have a fairly reliable food source.Of course, the pigeons and Quaker parrots occupy an urban ecosystem that has fewer ecological niches to fill than ones in places like temperate and tropical rainforests, beaches, or wetlands. If you were to introduce a breeding population of feral parrots to one of those more sensitive ecosystems, it would probably cause more harm to the environment. All of the feral parrot populations I’ve heard of have stuck around urban areas, so it kind of makes sense that they haven’t really been found to cause major problems the way some other invasive species have (Cain toads and rabbits in Australia, the Burmese python in Florida, the emerald ash borer insect, feral house cat populations pretty much everywhere, etc.)This is mostly my speculation based on what I learned growing up. My parents were biologists for most of my childhood before they became entrepreneurs, and worked on preserving habitats like prairies and wetlands. They taught me a lot about that sort of thing when I was young, so I kinda had it drilled into me early on that releasing exotic animals to places they’d never lived in before is really bad both for the ecosystem and for the animals being released.

And in most cases I agree with you, but in the case of the parrots, it could be argued that they aren’t competeing due to the thought that they are just replacing the populations of the Carolina Parakeet which was hunted to extinction in the US. It could also be argued that the parrots aren’t causing the damage of most other invasive species because there are enough other predators in place to hold them in check. Who knows? I certainly don’t.