A shelter in Oregon is providing care to dozens of feathered friends after a “long-time” breeder, who was keeping the birds in deplorable conditions, was busted. The Oregon Humane Society took in a staggering 245 birds, in what they refer to as one of the largest animal rescues in Oregon history, in July and on December 20, the rescued birds became available for adoption.
In a press release from the shelter, a representative from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, who visited the location with OHS, commented on the pitiful conditions the birds were rescued from, “Everything was wrong: crowded cages, no perches, no fresh drinking water, some with no food, cages haven’t been cleaned … no evidence of common care.” The birds, which included exotic species including African gray parrots, macaws, cockatoos, conures, ring neck doves and more, were suffering from a variety of medical issues.
Thanks to ongoing care from staff and volunteers, the birds are now enjoying a clean environment, complete with enrichment activities to keep them mentally engaged and entertained. On December 20, René Pizzo, OHS Emergency Animal Shelter volunteer, highlighted some of the challenges, and rewards, of caring for the rescued birds.
We have been working with all shapes, sizes, colors and species of birds in our emergency shelter. Sizes range from little finches to large macaws. Vocalizations—well, let’s just say we are required to wear earplugs inside the EAS building. The Small Bird Room is low-key with parakeets chirping and finches peeping, but the aviary where the majority of the large birds are housed can be a bit earth-shattering at times, as 200 birds clamor for attention.
The health of the birds has greatly improved – in addition to being treated to healthy food and a variety of toys, they enjoy “target training” which helps keep them entertained and mentally stimulated. Pizzo explains what target training entails:
For target training, we begin by placing a wooden chopstick through the cage bars and saying “target.” When the bird touches the stick with his or her beak, we immediately say “Good bird!” and give him a treat. Peanuts are the biggest hit, but almonds, walnuts, grapes, banana slices, and sunflower seeds are also popular.
The birds quickly figured out that touching the chopstick meant they got a treat. After a week or so of doing this inside their enclosures, we moved on to encouraging some birds to come outside their cage to practice. We are able to lure them back into the cage with the chopstick and treat. They’re so smart!
Rizzo hopes to see the birds find their way into loving homes – she stated:
Now that the birds have been relinquished and can be adopted, my hope for all these wonderful and beautiful feathered jewels is loving homes, a continuation of the lives we gave them in nice, large environments with toys (thanks to all donors!), great food, veggie and fruit treats, daily cleaning, bird baths, fresh water, and lots of love, patience, and attention.
The breeder who officially surrendered the birds in November, is facing felony charges.
Find the birds who are still available at this link.
Oregon Humane Society website here.
(Photos via Oregon Humane Society)