Yesterday, you learned a little about my experience renovating Carolina Waterfowl Rescue with our Rescue U team at the beginning of this month and met some of the permanent residents of CWR. Today I want to share how I learned about bird adoption and became more enamored with the idea of birds as pets.
Things to Consider Before You Adopt a Bird
I got a chance to talk with CWR director Jennifer Gordon about bird adoption and learned a huge amount. The considerations for adopting a bird are totally different than those for adopting a dog or cat. For one thing, dogs and cats are both natural predators. Most birds are considered prey animals. Knowing this one fact can change the way you look at a bird.
People often assume when meeting a bird for the first time that birds are unfriendly, when the truth is, they are naturally on the defensive until they are comfortable with you. Jennifer told me, “Most people say birds who they initially thought were unfriendly were eating out of their hands within a week.”
Furthermore, each type of bird requires a totally different type of care. Birds like parrots are very smart and require enrichment and interaction to stay happy. These are not good pets for people who are very busy and cannot spend time with their birds. Geese, on the other hand, can be left outside with proper shelter and a small pool and remain content without much human interaction. However, any bird who has imprinted on a human requires a large amount of human interaction. Watch the video above to learn the difference between imprinted, habituated and feral birds, and to hear some other considerations, such as your home’s zoning, that go into bird adoption.
When Carolina Waterfowl Rescue was hit by a tornado in spring 2012, wind destroyed many of the structures that housed the adoptable and wild birds the rescue cares for. Kennels, cages and full sheds were blown across the property; feeding areas and barns lost their roofs; and several birds were injured. Rescue director Jennifer Gordon remembers the day the storms hit: “I was outside scrambling to get supplies in the shed, and the roof was lifted off, just like you see in tornado movies.”
Local volunteers made initial repairs (CWR is an all-volunteer organization), but the rescue still needed help. So Rescue U volunteers from Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Kentucky, Arizona, Washington and North Carolina took time off work or gave up their school vacations to renovate the facility. Our projects include a new barn to store supplies and serve as a bird habitat, privacy fencing around the goat enclosure (CWR is also home to rescued goats!), more than 1,500 feet of chain-link fencing surrounding the property to keep out foxes, raccoons and other predators, repair on the existing fencing and gates, and several habitat and feeding structures around the property, including one on an island that can be reached only by kayak.
Mr. Pringles, a grey goose, will benefit from the barn being built by Rescue U volunteers. “Pringles is the dominant goose,” says rescue director Jennifer Gordon, “so he will be able to pick his spot in the barn first!”
The barn, in particular, will be a godsend. Many of the cage-free waterfowl prefer to roost inside when it is cold or rainy. Rescue U volunteers will build several of the raised beds they normally build for dogs to keep the birds off the ground, since birds lose a lot of body heat through their feet. Most importantly, the barn will provide protection for all the birds in the case of another terrible storm. “We get a lot of storms here,” Gordon says. “It will be nice to know we have a safe place to protect our birds when another one hits.”
This project was generously funded entirely by The Animal Rescue Site. Volunteers are here until Jan. 11. Stay tuned for more updates on construction progress and the pets who will benefit from the work!
Last night we stopped in Greenville, AL, to rest for the night.
We took the dogs out of our wonderful 36-foot rescue trailer funded by the Petfinder Foundation and all the dogs went for walks and were doing really well after such an eventful day!
Earlier, we left the Hancock County Humane Society (HCHS) after staff and volunteers wished the dogs well on their journey up north.
We loaded 29 dogs and headed to Coast Veterinary Hospital in Gulfport, MS, where Dr. Jackie Broome and her staff quickly went to work spaying or neutering some of the dogs and preparing all of their health certificates for travel.
Before leaving the hospital, Steve, our driver for our rescue rig, fell for a one-eyed kitten and adopted him! He will be traveling with us so he can join his new family in Massachusetts that includes three feline brothers and sisters.
The folks I spoke with in Mississippi all seemed to tell a similar story of how Hurricane Katrina devastated their community, and while there was a coincidence of Hurricane Isaac making landfall on the same date seven years later, they didn’t think its impact would be as great as a Category 1.
No one expected Isaac to stick around for so long and they were surprised at the amount of rainfall. Luckily the new shelter director of HCHS, Toni Necaise, moved the animals out of the shelter before the storm hit as she knew the area was flood-prone.
She made the right choice because, while the shelter didn’t flood, the road to the shelter did. They would not have been able to access the shelter to care for the animals until the water subsided.
Toni only joined HCHS three months ago and I was impressed by her preparedness.
I am so grateful for the rescue groups that allowed us to leave HCHS knowing that the facility was back to normal and they are better prepared for the storm’s aftermath.
Here are some recent photos of Rescue U’s progress at the shelter:
Right: An adoptable dog takes the new tire tunnel for a test run. The recycled tires were donated and painted with non-slip paint to give the dogs a place to run through and jump on.
Rescue U program manager Douglas Woolsey posted this photo to the Rescue U Facebook page on Sunday, with the comment: “Making some great progress! Painting our tires now for the agility area.”
The Humane Society of West Michigan posted this photo to its Facebook page on Tuesday, with the comment: “The Petfinder Foundation’s Rescue U is busy doing great things around HSWM! Here is a photo of our Cat Holding Area being painted! In addition to that room, they have also painted our entire Admitting Area! They also created an agility course in our dog park, have put sound panels in our dog kennels (to help reduce the noise), and put turf in our outdoor dog runs! The changes are amazing and we are so grateful for all that they are doing to improve our facility!”
Local news coverage of the Rescue U build at HSWM: