Sandy

 

My Beginnings and Vision

In 1980 I had purchased a Congo African Grey and rescued a Military Macaw.  I started attending conferences throughout the U.S. in order to educate myself about the care and behavior of exotic birds.  With my education, I started working with the community and the veterinarians in the Harrisburg area with regard to behavior problems.  By 1985 I had taken in a number of parrots that needed special care, or their owners had died and their spouses or children did not want to keep the birds, so they placed their birds with me hoping I could work with their birds and find them good homes.  Some of the unwanted birds that had been given to me had been paired for breeding, so I set them up with a flight cage, a nest box and raised their babies to sell to the public.  With the new babies I was able to provide education and proper care of owning an exotic bird to each new bird owner.

Several of the unwanted birds placed at my aviary were birds that needed rehabilitation, be it that they were physically abused, developed undesirable behaviors or had an ailment that needed specialty care. Some of these birds, I was able to rehabilitate them and place them in loving suitable homes with continuing education; others are still in my care.

As time passed and the number of unwanted parrots that were being brought to me, it became very evident that there  was the need for an organization to provide for the education of complete physical, psychological and environmental care of the companion parrots in the pet industry.

As the demand for a full service rescue facility grew in the Harrisburg area I have devoted my time to caring for these homeless or unwanted birds, educating the public on the appropriate care for these parrots, and availing me to phone calls and giving seminars and tours at my already overflowing aviary.

With each new unwanted bird that comes into the aviary, there has to be a trip to the vet’s office to get a clean bill of health and care for any obvious physical, psychological problems.  Then the bird needs to be placed in an appropriately sized cage, for that size bird, with perches, toys, clean food and water and placed into isolation for 30 days to protect the other birds from any infectious diseases that the new bird could be harboring.

In the rehabilitation of these birds I diminish the destructive behaviors, promote trust, confidence and relationships between the birds and humans.  With the proper diet and health care, I boost their immune systems and promote well adjusted and content, active, interactive happy birds.  I teach and encourage interaction between birds and individuals.

After working with these birds, I have established a structured screening and adoption program that provides the adopter’s ongoing education on the birds housing, routine care, personality, history and inclusion into the adopter’s home.  The follow up care is extremely time consuming, but I find it to be necessary for the success rate of adoptions of these birds.

There are also many of these unwanted birds that are not suitable for adoption or placement in foster care and do not wish to interact with humans in a companion animal situation, to which I provide a safe haven for them to live out their natural life with proper care.

My long-term goal is to open a center that would be open to the public to improve awareness about the needs of parrots in captivity, in the wholesale and retail pet trades, in breeding situations, in rescue, and sanctuaries.  Provide for continuing education, rehabilitation, and adoptions. I would also like to facilitate a sanctuary for the birds that cannot be rehabilitated and or the birds that have chronic diseases and are in need of supportive care and nurturing.

Sandra Bennett                                (written in 1985)

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