Rescue Advice

Posted By: Jen Ward

Rescue Advice - 02/06/16 11:46 PM

Hello All,

First, thank you for this forum which helps domestic Cockatoos experience the healthiest, happiest lives they can with their people mates!

My mother-in-law is a flock-mate to KC, a Cockatoo she's shared her home with for the past 20 years. She acquired KC when he was one year old.

My mother-in-law has recently been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer, which has spread to her liver and lymph nodes, and we're not sure how much time she has left of earth with us.
Of course, she is tremendously concerned about KC. How do I go about finding a secure, "intelligent" and caring home for this magnificent bird?

We are near St. Louis, and we have STAR (St. Louis Avian Rescue).

Are any of you familiar with this organization? I am really hesitating simply "surrendering" KC to a rescue… My hope is to find a home that is looking for a healthy, secure, entertaining and social bird - someone who has experience with Cockatoos. KC showers in the shower, rides well in a car, dances, talks, walks/strolls indoors and out. His wings are not clipped, but he doesn't fly. He's a snuggler with my mother-in-law.

No one in our immediate family is willing to take him in, because, (as you all know), having a Cockatoo requires a lot of time, effort and attention - we don't feel we would do him justice.

Thank you for any insight you may provide.


Jen Ward
Posted By: hellococky

Re: Rescue Advice - 02/07/16 03:42 AM

I became owned by a 'Too quite by accident, I never considered getting a bird until one needed me. With the help & guidance of the wonderful people here I have managed to give my feathered friend Sam a pretty good home & we have become good friends.

It's not for everyone, but with the right information & support it might not be as hard as you think... have a think about it :-)
Posted By: Jen Ward

Re: Rescue Advice - 02/07/16 04:12 PM

Thank you, Hellococky -

Indeed, we have time to think about the possibility of keeping KC in the family.

Posted By: Specialist Elbru

Re: Rescue Advice - 02/08/16 04:36 PM

It may also be a good for your mother-in-law to make a record of the things that make CK a unique bird. She should describe his likes and dislikes and his favorite foods and activities. The record may include tricks he does, things he says, along with a bit of his history. In her failing health, it may be difficult for her to do this and your assistance in this endeavor would be greatly appreciated. The media whether it be written, audio or video should be whichever media that your mother-in-law and her assistant feel most comfortable with. For inspiration on what subjects to cover, I would suggest any of the first 11 episodes of the Cockatude video podcast (scroll to bottom of video list).
Posted By: Jen Ward

Re: Rescue Advice - 02/08/16 09:31 PM

That is wonderful advice, Specialist Elbru. And thank you for the link to the videos. I will check those out.
Posted By: Brandy's mom

Re: Rescue Advice - 02/10/16 12:08 AM

Thank you so very much for looking out for your M-I-L and her long time friend.
Several of us here have taken in such friends. While I really agree with a written manual about KC. There are times I wish I had a video (also) I'm pretty sure your M-I-L has peaks and valleys in her days energy (mine did). taking that into consideration any visual support you can offer KC in her life changes would make her transition less traumatic would also ease your M-I-L's worries about KC's future too. Blessings to your family and times ahead. Denise
Posted By: Specialist Elbru

Re: Rescue Advice - 02/10/16 10:07 PM

From your description, KC is a bird that would be a prime candidate for re-homing rather, than a sanctuary situation. It should be noted that the forums on can not be used to solicit other members to accept birds in need of re-homing.

I understand your concern for simply "surrendering" KC to any rescue. That is where the quality of the rescue is of greatest concern. I have no information on STAR either good or bad. But a quality rescue does have advantages over a re-homing done by an individual.
  • multiple visits by one or more potential caretakers. When it comes to adopting a re-homed bird the chemistry between the bird and the new owner, is something that can only be ascertained in-person. Sometimes it may take a few visits for a bird and a new person to 'click' and sometimes it may never happen. A good rescue will be setup in such a way to allow scheduling of visits. For a single person or family, each visit is always an imposition.
  • vetting potential caretakers. Good rescue organizations have an extensive application and vetting procedure for new owners. It usually next to impossible for an individual to preform anything other than a rudimentary vetting and a gut-feel check.

The most important factor is the quality of the rescue organization. It is expense to run a parrot re-homing rescue, and many request a fee when taking in a bird. The expenses tend to go up the better quality the rescue is. Unfortunately bird rescues can very in there quality compared to one another. Like I stated early, I know nothing about STAR or other rescues in the St. Louis area.

Posted By: Jen Ward

Re: Rescue Advice - 02/13/16 04:59 PM

Yes, KC would be a fabulous candidate for re-homing; that is our hope. Sadly, my mother-in-law passed early this week, having been diagnosed with cancer not even two weeks ago : (

Fortunately, we have no time-urgency in finding KC a perfect home and rest assured, any potential new home will be scrutinized, screened and vetted over the course of time. We would never, ever surrender KC to just any person, to a person who has never shared a home with a Cockatoo, etc.

I am going to contact KC's avian vet, word-of-mouth here, and as a last resort - we will begin a dialogue with STAR (St Louis Avian Rescue) and follow our gut. We understand the finances involved, especially with rescues. I have worked with dog rescues - both adopting from and raising funds for them -Family members (including us) will be adopting the 3 dogs and 2 cats who are KC's "siblings" - but KC needs a home with someone with more bird experience and time than any of us can offer.

I truly appreciate the information everyone has shared here. Thank you very much for sharing tips, suggestions and wisdom. I wasn't trying to solicit anything, simply - I was trying to become more informed - and this seemed like the place - and it has been very helpful, so thank you once more.

In any regard, KC belongs to our family-flock now, and we will love, dote, respect and care for him until we find the perfect new family flock that seems like a match made in heaven.

Specialist Elbru - I would certainly take you up on your offer to have you communicate with other parrot message boards to obtain any information about rescues in the St. Louis area - again, the rescue route being a last resort for us. (This is the only board I am active on.)

Thanks again.

With warm regards,
Jen Ward
Posted By: Jen Ward

Re: Rescue Advice - 02/13/16 05:02 PM

Thank you, Brandy's mom.
We have much footage of silly KC, dancing and singing, talking and squawking : )

That's a great idea, though, to create a KC file that is written and visual.


Posted By: Jen Ward

Re: Rescue Advice - 02/13/16 05:32 PM

I am going to work specifically with KC's avian vet. We had a wonderful conversation and I was assured that they will help us find KC a home with a client of KC's Dr. only - so we can be sure that someone doesn't adopt or take KC and then turn around and sell him, etc.
And if this process doesn't work, there is a couple in IL that has a parrot rescue (not adopting out) that may be willing to add him to their flock.

Thanks once more to All here who chimed in with support and advice.

Jen Ward
Posted By: bellesmom

Re: Rescue Advice - 02/14/16 07:37 AM

I just wanted to send you and your family my condolences on the passing of your mother in law and to thank you for helping KC find another home that is safe and filled with love.
Posted By: Specialist Elbru

Re: Rescue Advice - 02/14/16 04:04 PM

Originally Posted By Jen Ward
Sadly, my mother-in-law passed early this week, having been diagnosed with cancer not even two weeks ago : (

Sorry to hear of our loss, I'm sure it is very difficult for your wife. It will also be difficult for KC, birds become attached to specific people and when those people are gone, the birds also grieve in there own way. In times like this I'm sure you will not have a lots of spare time.

It is also a loss in the sense that your mother-in-law's insight into KC is now lost. Just remind the family to forward paperwork and other information related to KC to you. You might also be able to collect word of mouth stories about KC and other background information from the family.

Originally Posted By Jen Ward
I would certainly take you up on your offer to have you communicate with other parrot message boards to obtain any information about rescues in the St. Louis area - again, the rescue route being a last resort for us.

I will be posing on your behalf.
Posted By: Beeps

Re: Rescue Advice - 02/15/16 04:28 AM

I'm so sorry for your loss. Just wanted to point out one other thing -- if KC has been the only bird in the house for 20+ years -- and is very happy that way -- it may be better to try to find a home for him where a similar home life will be achieved (as opposed to a rescue that has dozens of birds.)

I'm so glad that you have his vet helping you to find a home and that there isn't any urgency in finding it. As you know, it is difficult to find a good home for a too, but I'm sure you'll be able to find one.
Posted By: Specialist Elbru

Re: Rescue Advice - 02/20/16 04:54 AM

After posting, I got back only positive reviews of the STARS rescue. I was also abe to contact a member under the screen name Flipper who adoped an adult pionus parrot from STARS.

PS. To Charley, is there a way that I can initiate contact between the person who adopted A bird from STARS and Jen Ward?
Posted By: Jen Ward

Re: Rescue Advice - 02/20/16 06:36 AM

Specialist Elbru - I truly appreciate the time and effort you and the members of this forum have contributed toward K.C.

Great to hear STARS has positive feedback. We will certainly look there as a very last resort.

K.C. is doing great; eating and drinking, daily routine not much disrupted as he's still at his home with my sis-in-law who's living with him and also caring for his "siblings" (dogs and cats) and she is familiar with his routine and taking care of him. I'm certain he and his siblings sense a loss, but I'm glad he seems to be doing well and I'm relieved we have no huge urgency to find him a new home at his point.
Posted By: Jen Ward

Re: Rescue Advice - 02/20/16 06:39 AM

Thank you. Yes, these are special birds and require a special home, indeed. Good to point out that he's been accustomed to a certain domestic lifestyle to date - we will factor this in when the time comes to place him somewhere other than the home he has known his whole life. Thank you!
Posted By: carolpalmer

Re: Rescue Advice - 06/09/16 05:44 AM

Hello Jen,
First of all I am really sorry for you. I can understand the predicament you are in. Don’t worry there are many good minded services who do everything for the welfare of animals and birds. They also make sure they are rehabilitated to safer haven. Even orphaned birds and animals are rehabilitated. I once had the services of Hawkeye, a wildlife relocation service in rehabilitating an injured bird which took refuge in my backyard. Why not try approaching such services? If you need more help feel free to revert back. Meanwhile if I get more info I would definitely post. I would do anything for the welfare of these mute creatures.
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