can a pet bird survive in the wild

There was a family that lived near me in Austin that had a large front yard that always seemed to be filled with playing children and puppies. It seemed like several times a year this family was enjoying a new, cute, fluffy little playmate, and it occurred to me at some point that I never saw any grown dogs.

One day, when I was walking by the house, I struck up a conversation with one the adults. I told her how cute all the puppies I’ve seen there have been and asked where all the rest of the dogs were. She told me that she wouldn’t let her children play with grown dogs because she thought they were too dangerous for them. Again, I asked her where she kept the dogs, and she said: “Oh, we don’t keep them when they’re not puppies anymore.” I asked her: “Where do you bring them?” hoping I was not going to get the answer I feared. “Hill Country.” she said.

Just so you know, Hill Country is not the name of a 5 star hotel for dogs. It is the wooded, rural area outside of Austin city limits, where people like her routinely drop off unwanted pets. I was having a hard time keeping my temper in check but managed to stay calm as I said: “And that’s okay with you to leave an animal out there to die?” She snickered at me and said: “They’re wild animals. They can fend for themselves.” The conversation deteriorated rapidly after that point.

Over the course of several centuries, man has bred dogs to adapt to our environment, making the woods as foreign to them as it is to us. With no wild dogs around to teach them to locate a food source, these poor, once loved dogs died a slow, lingering death either of starvation or a combination of that and exposure to the elements.

Which brings us to parrots, and the people who would toss their birds out the front door when they have had enough of the noise, the mess or the financial strain. I would prefer to see a bird euthanized, than suffer the fate of those who have been thrown away.

Some people feel that their bird would live a better life if it were free. I understand this feeling. There are times when one of my flock is hollering for something, and I, as a human, can’t figure out what it wants. There are times when they want to come out and play as I am running out the door to work. I get a case of the guilts often. Let me assure you, though, that the only chance of survival your released parrot will have is by the intervention of another human, and another cage.

Parrots are not domesticated and still have their wild instincts intact, this is true. However, in order for your parrot to survive in the great outdoors, it must find another of its OWN SPECIES, if it is lucky enough to be accepted, to show him what and where the possible food sources are. Wild parrots learn everything they know from their parents and other flock members: what is food and that which is poisonous, how and where to stay warm and safe from predators. None of these things are hard wired into them, especially if they were captive bred. Those parrots that were wild caught are no longer in their native land where food sources might be familiar. They have to find new things to eat that will satisfy their dietary needs, and this requires the help of an experienced bird.

Another huge consideration is the climate. Our parrots have adapted to the temperatures of our homes and its feathers grow in to insulate it for those temperatures and conditions. If you were to release your bird in the dead of winter, or the scorching heat of summer, it would likely not last long.

There are flocks of feral Quakers and mitered conures scattered throughout the US whom have learned to adapt and survive in our country. These are hardy species who have manged to gather into flocks. The Quakers can be found in the harsh temperatures of the northeast. Others species of parrots are not as adaptable in these conditions. The white cockatoos, for instance, do not do as well in the cold as the others in that family.

Several years ago, there were a few different groups of people who released small flocks of parrots (African greys and macaws), with the well intention-ed idea of creating larger wild flocks. They thought it would be wonderful to adapt these species to a wild life in North America. Not one of these birds was seen again after several days. With any luck, they located sympathetic humans who took them in.

In the best of situations, where habitat is not being destroyed, life in the wild is no picnic. It is a continual search for food and nesting spots, under the constant threat of predator attack, in all types of bad weather. With disease, parasites and daily stresses, and no access to vet care, a wild parrot’s life span is notably shorter than that of their captive counterparts.

If you are unable to cope with your parrots needs, or have the feeling that yours is not thriving in your home, call a rescue for help. Not only is it illegal to release a non-native species into the wild, but your parrot cannot, and will not, survive.

Author Patty Jourgensen specializes in avian health, behavior and nutrition and has been working with and caring for rescue birds since 1987.

These kinds of companion parrots face very real risks upon release, including starvation, being eaten by predators, harsh weather, poaching and hunting, and being placed in an environment totally different from anything they have ever known. Their chances of surviving are further reduced if they are released on their own. If they don’t receive intensive training and preparation on how to live and thrive, very few will make it. For these reasons, unless there are extremely rare circumstances, we strongly advise against releasing companion parrots back into the wild.

CITES, an international convention designed to monitor these activities, governs the majority of international parrot transport. A bird must be returned to its country of origin with the necessary documentation, along with a health profile and other evaluations. Getting the necessary permits is frequently a difficult and drawn-out procedure.

People who believe their companion birds would be happier and healthier if they were returned to the wild occasionally ask questions at the WPT. Although we commend this desire, we strongly advise against releasing the birds for the benefit of both individual birds and wild populations. Successful and increasingly successful returns of parrots to the wild are possible, but only under carefully controlled programs, the majority of which are beyond the reach of individual parrot caregivers.

Over the past ten years, we have directly released parrots, and during that time, we have found that the birds that have the best chance of surviving are either those that were hatched in the wild and were only recently captured, or those that were bred in captivity in carefully managed environments and appropriately prepared for a life in the wild.

If a caregiver is no longer able to provide for their feathered friends, we suggest finding a new home for the bird, offering it for adoption, or putting it in a zoological park or specialized bird sanctuary where it will receive the care it needs. In public spaces, tamed birds can frequently develop into excellent representatives for their species and help raise awareness of the predicament of all parrots in general.

There was a family in Austin that lived close to me, and they had a big front yard where puppies and kids would always seem to be playing. This family appeared to be enjoying a new, adorable, fluffy playmate several times a year, and it eventually occurred to me that I had never seen any adult dogs.

This brings us to the topic of parrots and the people who, fed up with the mess, the noise, or the financial strain, will throw their birds out the front door. If a bird has to be put to death, I would rather watch it go than what happens to those who are discarded.

Another huge consideration is the climate. Our parrots’ feathers grow in to insulate them against the temperatures and conditions of our homes because they have adapted to them. It probably wouldn’t last long if you released your bird in the dead of winter or the intense summer heat.

Just to clear things up, there isn’t a five-star dog hotel called Hill Country. It is the rural, wooded area outside the city limits of Austin where people like her frequently discard unwanted pets. “And that’s okay with you to leave an animal out there to die?” I asked, struggling to control my wrath, but she responded with a snicker and remark, “They’re wild animals.” They can fend for themselves. ” The conversation deteriorated rapidly after that point.

I started talking to one of the adults one day as I was passing by the house. I asked her where the other dogs were and complimented her on how adorable all the puppies I had seen there were. She informed me that because she believed adult dogs to be too dangerous for her kids, she wouldn’t let them play with them. When I inquired about the location of the dogs once more, she replied, “Oh, we don’t keep them when they’re not puppies anymore.” “Where do you bring them?” I questioned her, hoping not to hear the response I was afraid of. “Hill Country. ” she said.


Can pet birds survive outside?

Birds that are paired, nontamed or show signs of discontent indoors may benefit from life in an aviary or outdoor cage. Many pet birds, though, will enjoy spending periods of time in outdoor housing, weather permitting. You have all sorts of options when it comes to planning your bird’s outdoor domain.

Can I release my bird into the wild?

At the WPT we sometimes receive questions from individuals who feel that their companion birds might be better off and happier if they were returned to the wild. While we applaud this desire we strongly advise against release, for the sake of the individual birds’ welfare and for the wellbeing of wild populations.

Can I keep a wild bird as a pet?

First, it violates federal and state laws, such as the Migratory Bird Act, to possess any wild native American bird for any length of time without proper permits. Second, even with expert care and feeding, people simply cannot provide baby birds with most of the skills they need to negotiate the natural world.

Can you let a caged bird free?

Caged companion birds are typically not native to the areas where they reside. They cannot be released simply by opening a window and letting them fly away (which would be considered a crime of abandonment in most states).