Bird adoption, sanctuary, rescue, and care education services for parrots and other captive exotic 'pet' birds. Based in Minneapolis - St. Paul (Twin Cities) area of Minnesota and serving Midwest.



P.O. Box 821  Stillwater, MN  55082  

Phone: (651) 275-0568  Fax: (651) 275-0457  


  Captive Bird Rescue, Adoption, Sanctuary & Care Education MAARSianChronicles 


Home > News & Events > MAARSianChronicles > Issue 14: February 2006 > Did You Know?: Top 10 Reasons Birds Are Surrendered to MAARS

Did You Know?

Aggression and loud noise are the fourth most common reason that birds are surrendered to MAARS. (Photo by Dee Thompson)

Aggression and loud noise are the fourth most common reason that birds are surrendered to MAARS.

(Photo by Dee Thompson)

Top 10 Reasons Birds Are Surrendered to MAARS

Each year, millions of exotic birds are sold into the pet trade in the United States and abroad. Unlike dogs and cats, however, parrots are not "domesticated" animals, meaning they have not evolved over many generations through human or natural selection for traits that make them compatible with a human lifestyle. While their beauty and intelligence can make them attractive, their natural, wild behaviors and longevity virtually ensure that an individual bird will be displaced at least once — if not multiple times — during his or her lifetime.

Even with the best of intentions, normal parrot behaviors and human lifestyles are often incompatible over time. The normal landmark events in people's lives often leave Polly in the lurch. In ascending order, these are the top ten reasons people surrender their birds to MAARS:


Veterinary Bills: Parrots are expensive to purchase, house, feed, and entertain, and an expensive health problem is often enough to break the bank. Behavioral problems such as feather-picking and self-mutilation can also become expensive, frustrating, and time-consuming to treat.


Divorce: The end of a marriage is usually stressful, both emotionally and financially. In many cases, both parties will move to rented apartments or to the homes of relatives, which may not allow parrots. The emotional stress of the situation may make a demanding animal like a parrot too much to handle.


Death: Parrots — especially the larger species — can live 50–100 years and can therefore easily outlive their caregivers. When another family member does not want the bird, MAARS may get the call. We offer an estate plan for people who wish to provide for MAARS' care of their birds in their wills.


Too Many Birds: Because there are so many species and mutations available, some people find it tempting to "collect" parrots and other birds. Breeders can also get in over their heads very quickly when they produce more babies than they can sell, or the birds they have sold are returned to them for one of the reasons on this list. Some well-intentioned, but ill-equipped individuals attempt to take in unwanted birds, but turn into hoarders who can't care for all of their animals. MAARS takes in birds both from individuals who surrender them willingly or from situations where birds are confiscated by law enforcement agencies.


Retirement: People's lives can change dramatically when they retire, and a demanding parrot can get in the way of plans to travel, volunteer, or spend more time with grandchildren.


Illness or Allergies: The presence of a bird in the home can easily become too much to bear when a person is suffering from a long-term illness and doesn't have the energy to provide proper care. When the bird is actually the cause of the illness, as in the case of allergies or some other medical conditions, then there is often little else that can be done short of removing the bird from the home.


Bird is Aggressive or Loud: Parrots evolved to live in large flocks and use their voices to communicate with mates, offspring, and other flock members over great distances. They are also incredibly intelligent, pair-oriented animals who can become dangerously aggressive when they feel their mates or territories are being threatened. As prey animals, they have no other option than to fight back when they feel cornered and cannot escape — such as when they are trapped by the inability to fly caused by the clipping of wing feathers to "tame" the bird. Unfortunately, most people don't do enough research on the true nature of parrots before they bring one home and may not be able to tolerate a bird's natural or stress-induced vocalizations or behaviors.


Moving: Moving to a new home can be confusing, frustrating, and tiring, and many people don't want the added hassle of caring for a demanding parrot during this time. In addition, many people can't — or simply won't — limit their rental housing search to buildings that allow parrots. In these cases, the human family gets a new home, but the bird is left homeless.


Bird Doesn't Like a Family Member, or Vice Versa: As an intelligent animal who is programmed to live in a monogamous, bonded pair within the structure of an extended flock, a parrot can become highly possessive of one family member and highly aggressive toward others that he/she feels may threaten this bond. When a new boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, child, elderly parent, roommate, pet, or other resident moves into a home with a parrot, the bird's behavior and care demands may become intolerable. In addition, some people simply do not like living with parrots and many parrot caretakers will choose to give up the bird for the sake of the human relationship.


New Baby: The birth or adoption of a new human baby is a highly stressful time under the best of circumstances. Since caring for a parrot properly is time-consuming and expensive — the equivalent of caring for a "special needs" child — it is often too much stress for a couple or individual to bear when an even more demanding being enters their lives. If the parrot also reacts aggressively or self-destructively to the addition to the family, then it is almost certainly doomed to being displaced.

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