How to be Involved without Ownership

Hey guys,I’ve desperately wanted a companion bird for many, many years now, but I just have never been in a position to offer the time to them that they would need. I keep revisiting the idea, but can’t ever justify it. With that in mind, there will be a time in the future that I’m able to get a bird, and want to be prepared. I am perfectly comfortable around birds, but don’t always understand their body language, and think that being around them more often is the best way to learn more. I also just want to be around them because they make me happy.Does anyone have any recommendations for how to accomplish this? I live in Northern Virginia, right outside D.C., and the only thing I can find are pet bird stores. There’s one about 20 minutes from my house, and it’s fine, but most of the interaction happens through cage bars. I also feel a little uncomfortable hanging out in a store with their birds all day when I won’t be buying anything.I can’t find any other options, but don’t necessarily know what to look for. There aren’t any rescues nearby. Any help would be great!

Thank you so much for wanting to learn all you can before you commit yourself to parrot keeping! If everybody who now has a parrot had done this, there would be much, much less parrots that are not in the right home. The two that come immediately to mind are Project Perry and Phoenix Landing where I am sure you will find volunteer opportunities but I am sure there are more and, if you put an ad on your local CL offering yourself as a volunteer, you might find somebody like me, who is not a true rescue but has a lot of adopted/rehomed/rescued birds and can use help all the time. PS: In reality, anybody can have parrots, it all depends on what species and how you keep them. For example, a large flight cage with three pairs of budgies or, again, a large flight cage with a pair of cockatiels, lovebirds, parrotlets, canary-wing or any other grass parakeet would work. They would just require being kept at a strict solar schedule, the right diet, cleaning the cage and being allowed to come out and fly whenever you have the time for it. They have each other so they don’t really need people’s company and, as a matter of fact, do MUCH better not being a ‘real’ pet and living alone with a human.

Also, see if there is a local ASPCA (might be a VSPCA) or animal rescue leave around who also takes birds. The ones near me are loaded with dogs, cats, rabbits, but they always have a few birds and could probably use someone who wanted to specialize in birds. I tried but I couldn’t be in the building that had so many cats. I had to go to a “bird only” rescue 85 miles away.

Thanks for the replies! The only shelters in my area (called Animal Welfare Leagues) don’t have any birds. Fortunately, I just found a place about an hour north of me in Maryland called Wilson’s Parrot Foundation. They have 40+ parrots of all sizes they take care of. I spoke to the volunteer coordinator and will be going this Saturday for an orientation of sorts. I’ll be helping with general cleaning, feeding, etc., and also, since I have a background in vet care, will be learning how to do nail trims so that I can assist with those in the future. Thanks again for both of your replies!

Great to hear! I have a thread on here called "Parrot Rescue." You could start one about your experiences. We would love to follow along

Yes, indeed! Please do keep in touch and let us know how you [and the birds in the rescue] are doing. We LOVE to hear about parrots - any parrot!

Will do! I’m excited. It seems like a really great place. They have a lot of parrots that I have never seen in person (Hyacinth’s, Quaker’s, African Grey’s, etc.); and I don’t believe any of them are caged unless necessary. It was started by an ex-firefighter who was in a pretty severe car accident in 1995. He attributes his rehabilitation to his parrots, and wanted to provide a place that could provide rehabilitation to them, as well. Pretty interesting story.

Cage-free parrots?! Sounds WONDERFUL!

Must be a thing with disabled firefighters getting involved with parrot rescue

AND veterans AND people with chronic depression! It must be that you have to concentrate so much on them and their care that you forget about your own problems…