how to become a bird rescue

A. Unfortunately, mostly because of irresponsible breeding, there is going to be a bigger need for more organizations dealing with bird placement as time goes on. People dont realize how many homeless Cockatiels, Lovebirds and Budgies there are out there and spaying/neutering isnt a safe option for these animals. We feel it is very important that more people get involved in the solution for this growing problem.

First, you need to think seriously about how you want your organization to run. Do you want to deal with one species of bird, or all parrots? Do you have enough experience and knowledge to deal with all or do you feel more comfortable with just small or just large birds? How do you want to operate? Do you want to run an adoption program or more like a sanctuary? If you want to run an adoption program, are you going to enlist the help of foster parents? Where will you get your funding? What kind of fundraising are you willing/able to do? What will you require of your volunteers? Do you want to require classes, fees, mandatory return policy if the adopter cant keep the bird? Do you want to take from the public or only accept birds as referrals from other agencies (humane societies) and vet offices?

Then, sit down and write a short “mission statement” for your organization to sum up the main goal of your group. Also, make a list of what you will need to begin the program. Everything from volunteers (and what they will need to do) to cages, food, toys, clerical supplies etc. It will really help to sit down with someone who can help you to discuss the start up. When we started Mickaboo, we made an appoinment with a local bird rescue director to discuss the challenges she faced when she began. She was also kind enough to show us her applications and contracts so that we had a model to go on. It was very helpful to meet with her because she had already been through what we were going through. She was also helpful in referring us to a CPA locally who helped us to get our nonprofit status.

You can work on getting your nonprofit status on your own if you have the time and patience. Or, you can enlist the help of an attorney or CPA. Once you have your nonprofit status, you can begin receiving donations from the public which can be tax-deductible. Besides donations from supportive bird lovers, Mickaboo got its start by yard sales, aluminum can drives, candy sales, etc. We even shoveled dirt for a day to make money for our birds. In the beginning it is going to be important to be willing and able to do what is necessary to get the word out and get money in for your cause. Eventually, you will develop a list of supporters and interested parties whose donations will help keep you from digging ditches.

Do you have a good vet in town? It is going to be important to find a good avian vet before you begin so you have a place to take the ill birds you get in. You can draft a letter letting local avian vets know of your group and ask for a discount (it never hurts to ask and most are agreeable to a small discount). Finally, be sure to have a good number of volunteers (foster parents if you decide to go that route, drivers, clerical help, fundraising help, advertising help — whatever you need to run smoothly). It is also going to be very important that you have the help of volunteers before you begin taking in rescues. If you dont have necessary help, you will be heading for burnout and potentially doing more harm than good to the very birds you meant to help. It isnt going to be healthy or helpful to you or the birds if you end up having to take them all in yourself and end up having 50 birds on your property. It really helps to have the help, too, not just for the practical reasons but for keeping sanity. Rescue can be very hard and emotionally tiring work and it really, really helps to have someone you can work with and make decisions with (some decisions can be very difficult!) So, dont try to do it all yourself and you should last longer in this endeavor and be happier. Resource Article Tag:

Ready To Take The Next Step?

If you do choose to pursue establishing an organization for the rescue of birds, start by visiting the Shelter Outreach Resource Center of the AWC. as well as our webinar series presented in collaboration with the World Federation of Animal Sanctuaries

For those working in animal care and other animal advocacy, the following organizations and websites provide a vast array of training sessions, online courses, mentorship programs, and other educational materials.

ASPCAPro Connecting professionals with animal welfare tools and resources

Animal Sheltering – A library of resources includes Animal Sheltering magazine articles, publications, policies and guidelines, advice, and other resources to help you in your work with animals

The Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries promotes and validates excellence in responsible and humane care of animals in sanctuary management. Learn about the resources they provide for sanctuaries and volunteers and how your organization can qualify as an accredited animal care facility at

First, you must carefully consider the operations you want your organization to perform. Do you want to work with all parrot species, or just a select few? Do you feel more at ease with small or large birds? How do you want to run your organization? Do you want to operate more like a sanctuary, or do you want to run an adoption program? If the former, will you be able to recruit foster parents? Where will you get the money? What kind of fundraising are you willing to undertake? What will you ask of your volunteers? Will you require classes, fees, or a mandatory return policy if the adopter is unable to keep the bird? Will you accept birds from the general public, or only those referred by other organizations (humane societies and veterinarian offices)?

Next, take a seat and draft a brief “mission statement” for your company that encapsulates your primary objective. Additionally, list the items you’ll need to start the program. Everything from cages, food, toys, office supplies, and volunteers (as well as what they will need to do) Discussing the start-up with someone who can assist you will be very beneficial. We scheduled a meeting with the director of a nearby bird rescue when we first started Mickaboo to talk about the difficulties she encountered. In order to have a model to work with, she was also gracious enough to show us her contracts and applications. Meeting with her proved to be very beneficial as she had experienced what we were. She was also useful in connecting us with a nearby CPA who assisted us in obtaining nonprofit status.

If you have the time and patience, you can work toward obtaining your nonprofit status on your own. Or you could ask a lawyer or CPA for assistance. After obtaining nonprofit status, you can start accepting tax-deductible contributions from the general public. In addition to donations from enthusiastic bird watchers, yard sales, candies sales, and other events helped Mickaboo get off the ground. To earn money for our birds, we even spent a day shoveling dirt. It will be crucial in the beginning to be ready and able to take any necessary action to spread the word and raise funds for your cause. You will eventually compile a list of interested parties and supporters whose contributions will help prevent you from digging ditches.

A. Unfortunately, as time goes on, there will be a greater need for more organizations handling bird placement—mostly due to careless breeding. People are unaware of the large number of homeless Lovebirds, Budgies, and Cockatiels that exist, and that spaying or neutering these animals is not a safe solution for them. We think it’s critical that more people participate in the effort to find a solution for this expanding issue.

It will be crucial to locate a reputable avian veterinarian before you start, so you have somewhere to take any sick birds you bring in. Do you have a good veterinarian in town? You can write a letter informing nearby avian veterinarians about your organization and requesting a discount (it never hurts to ask, and most will accept a modest one). Finally, make sure you have a sufficient number of volunteers (drivers, clerical support, advertising, fundraising, foster parents, etc., if you choose that path). Additionally, it will be crucial that you enlist volunteer assistance before you start accepting rescue cases. If you don’t get the support you need, you risk burnout and possibly endangering the very birds you were trying to help. If you have to take them all in and wind up with fifty birds on your property, it won’t be beneficial or healthy for you or the birds. Having assistance is also very beneficial, not only for pragmatic concerns but also for maintaining one’s sanity. Rescue work can be emotionally taxing and very hard, so having someone to work with and make decisions with is really helpful (some decisions can be very difficult!). If you don’t try to do it all yourself, you should be happier and survive longer in this endeavor. Resource Article Tag:

Start a Bird Rescue, Placement, or Sanctuary Organization

Thank you for looking into starting your own parrot rescue, sanctuary or placement organization. The Avian Welfare Coalition does not have a formal mentorship program, but we can point you in the direction of some excellent resources to get started. Starting and successfully running an animal shelter is a big project — especially when the animals you are caring for and placing are as long-lived and demanding as parrots! Before you think about starting your own organization, you might want to consider volunteering at an existing avian rescue facility. You could also volunteer as the bird care and behavior resource for your local animal shelter. Gaining hands-on experience will give you a better idea of what the process of starting and operating a non-profit animal rescue organization entails. Find an avian rescue or animal shelter organization through PETFINDER.COM.


Is it better to adopt or buy a bird?

By adopting rather than buying a parrot, you help reduce the demand that drives the commercial breeding of pet birds. Also, if you purchase a parrot, you probably won’t have a great deal of support if you have questions about your bird’s behavior or care further down the line.