Bird Shelter Operations – Part 3 – Ongoing Operations and Support

From The Squawking Macaw by Bob Kaegi


Now that the primary operation has ended we will go into the daily portion of caring for the birds or animals on a daily basis. While this may seem like a monotonous task, there are many things that still and must happen. Cleaning the cage or crate will give a care provider an opportunity for us to make observations on how well a bird is adjusting. During this time you may see the inner bird come out, and get to make an observation of its character. Also be able to tell if there are things to watch for in its physical and emotional care. Again, I say while these birds are evidence, they still need compassion. If you’re not already interested in birds, this may not be the place for you.

Let me also make note that if you care for only Cockatiels at home, you may be a little out of your league dealing with a group of Amazons or Cockatoos. Try to stick with what you know if possible, however be willing to learn along the way.  If you have questions, simply ask someone with that knowledge.

This is where you will give of yourself and become more than just a caregiver but a provider of love and understanding.  Birds will act out in fear, and stress. But once they get to know you, and understand you are there to meet their needs they will always come around with people they like. Remember though they still may be stressed due to their new surroundings. Yes they will push your buttons, very much like the ones at home. No sooner than you clean their cages they will take great joy in demolishing it. It’s okay, they are just being birds.

Part of providing for them also covers medical care that has been prescribed by the acting Veterinarian. You may have to dress in a Tyvek suit, booties, gloves, and a mask to care for the sickest, or ones that have tested positive with an illness. They will be in what may be referred to as a Hot Quarantine, or Cold Quarantine areas. They too need to be cared for, but in a manner that is safe for all. You may be required to restrain birds daily to medicate them either orally, or with syringes.  So again if you are not comfortable with it say so.

There are also going to be the times where we give our best efforts we still lose some we will care for. Despite our best efforts, and those of the Vet staff we cannot fix every problem. Sometimes the damage has been too great, or gone on so long to make a positive difference for all. It is when these times occur that you may feel like that you cannot go on. I understand, but it is in these times I feel more compelled to work harder to make sure the others make it out. Everyone we care for deserves something better, than what it has been given.

YOU are that opportunity to start a new beginning for each and every one you care for. After all the hard work is done spending time with each bird is helpful to them and therapeutic for you. Time out on a play stand is good for those who can be easily handled.

At some point grooming besides a shower may be needed. Trimming Beaks and Toenails are very important. This is something that won’t be part of the Intake Procedure unless it is involving the Health and Safety of the bird. If you have not done it before, you may want to assist in holding the bird while someone else does it, or you may want to watch and learn as it is being done.

Once a week a thorough cleaning of crates, and cages should be done with a power washer. This may require having extra crates, and cages, which is something I always suggest. Doing this on a weekend while there may be extra volunteers is always helpful. It is also a great time to get to know the others who are working the operation, and can be made fun by having a cookout, or pizza party. Remembering that you are part of a team makes things go smoother.

I find this part of any operation the most fulfilling because it is the most unselfish thing I will do for another being. I take great joy in making another birdie friend, and ensuring it that not all people want to cause hurt and pain. Hopefully this will be the stepping off point for a better future for each of them.

Hopefully behind the scenes you will start receiving toys and other treats from the many groups who meet the needs of the many who have become caught up in these sad situations, and you will get a chance to play Santa Clause for a needy bird. There are several groups who respond to such needs at these times. Make sure to donate, or participate in auctions that these groups do which help with birds in need.

In a Disaster

All the above is still the same except that your charges are not part of a criminal case. However it is now when those looking for their loved ones may start showing up to claim them. Follow security procedures which will be discussed in the next part before allowing anyone contact with any bird in the care of the shelter.

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