The American Veterinary Medical Association estimates that there are more than 8.3 million pet birds living in U.S. homes.  The long lifespan of parrots – four times longer than cats or dogs — means that many birds will require multiple homes during their lifetime.  Only a small fraction of larger parrots will remain in their first home for their entire lifetime. The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council projects that the average parrot may experience up to seven homes during its lifetime.

The pet bird industry has made many more birds available than there are good homes. Many bird purchases are made on impulse.  Parrots aren’t domesticated like cats and dogs and the larger parrots in particular demand a higher level of care and present more significant behavioral challenges than many first-time bird owners realize.  When the cute babies become adolescents, bird owners without benefit of education and support may realize that they have too much bird to handle.

Situations involving the surrender of companion parrots transcend neighborhood and demographic groups. Natural disasters or life changes such as marriage, divorce, birth, death, financial problems, relocation or health problems all contribute to pet surrender. Current economic conditions, including home foreclosure, are contributing to the increased difficulty of some pet owners to remain in their homes with their pets.  When families are forced to move, their new or temporary residences may preclude taking their pet bird(s). Sadly, incidents of pet bird abandonment are on the rise. Economic hardship caused by the loss of a job often diminishes a caregiver’s ability to care for their pet. The result is that more birds are needing help.

The need for rescue and adoption will only intensify as the number of parrots who will outlive their baby boomer caregivers increases. It’s estimated that 7.5 million birds currently reside in baby boomer homes.  If half outlive their caregivers’ ability to provide care, then we will see an additional 3.5 million birds that need new homes.

There are not enough rescue and adoption organizations to meet these growing needs. According to the Avian Welfare Coalition, less than 100 parrot refuge organizations exist nationwide, compared to the thousands that take in dogs and cats. While there are many fine animal rescue organizations operating locally, Companion Parrots Re-homed is exclusively focused on the well-being of companion parrots.  The physical and behavioral needs of pet parrots are quite distinct from those of dogs or cats.