Unlike with cats and dogs, very few people are capable of providing adequate lifetime care for birds. Captive birds frequently suffer from captivity-related stress, leading to behavioral and physical problems. Birds sold as pets also very commonly suffer from nutritional diseases through the ignorance of those who purchase these exotic animals. Whether due to frustration, disinterest, or concern, many people attempt to rid themselves of the responsibility of caring for their birds. As a result, exotic bird sanctuaries across the country are overwhelmed with hundreds of unwanted and abused birds in need of rescue and life-long homes, while untold thousands more languish deprived and ignored in their cages because their "owners" have lost interest in them.
A common practice in developing countries is the keeping of wild-caught birds on leg chains attached to perches where they may languish for years, never to taste freedom again. The sight of a chained parrot listlessly sitting on a perch, or futilely passing back and forth and calling to his or her wild brethren is heartbreaking, and the temptation to purchase and release the animal can be overwhelming. But the solution is really not that simple.
Purchasing or "ransoming" birds only encourages the trade and likely results in more birds being captured. Releasing captured birds is not practical, since most chained birds cannot be immediately returned to the wild, and recently captured birds typically have their wings clipped prior to being chained. Birds who have spent months or years on a perch may not be able to fly as a result of atrophied or weakened flight muscles.
- Learn more about National Bird Day
- Factsheet: Captive Birds a Hidden Crisis
- Article: Free as a Bird
- Scientific Review Paper: The Welfare and Suitability of Exotic Birds as Companion Animals
Captive Bird Welfare/Rescue Links: