I know I am not saying anything that those of us who live the reality of rescue isn’t thinking and doesn’t know. It is our reality, every single day.
We are living a crisis. I have told any number of people over the last few weeks, I feel like that little Dutch boy. I have all 10 fingers plugging holes in the Dike and it is still leaking.
We are experiencing a hemorrhage of birds. They are pouring out of homes, closets, basements, cellars, garages, carports, you name it.
They are outliving owners. They are wearing out their welcome. They are growing up from those adorable little snuggly, cuddly baby birds that were so coveted and turning into large, confused, angry creatures that don’t understand what their place in the world is.
The want to do what Nature is telling them. They live in this grey zone. They are birds who do not know they are birds.
All they have ever known is human contact and interaction. Their confusion grows and builds as does their anger and frustration. One day it boils over and they begin to lash out. They begin to be unpredictable and unmanageable. It is always the Cockatoos…..How many of us have said that?
These are not birds that would prosper and flourish in a sanctuary setting. They have no clue about living in outdoor flights. They have lived their whole life in a home, with a family, their “flocks.” Now their flock is afraid of them so interaction stops. Out of cage time stops. The people who loved them, likely still do love them, at at a loss of how to safely handle them. They are afraid and rightfully so.
Rescues are being flooded with them. Rescues are turning them away because we are full to bursting. People are hardly lining up to adopt an aggressive, unpredictable Cockatoo.
So what are the answers?
I am not saying I have them. I am thinking, crying, soul searching. These are the ones who are making my heart bleed. What are we going to do?
I dream of a way that I can do more. I dream of a way to make a place for THESE guys.
How to start? I don’t know yet. I have some ideas rolling through my head. They are still swirling but I will keep on until they meld into a coherent and solid plan.
All the while more of these babies are being pumped out. I see the ads from the brokers and the breeders and the bird fairs. Those who choose to pretend there isn’t a crisis. Those who stand to gain from trying to convince you how wonderful your life will be if you get a baby Cockatoo. Where will they be 10-15 years from now when you have a psychotic male Umbrella trying to dismember you when you try to change their bowls or clean their cages? Where are they when you neighbors 3 blocks away are calling the police because your Mollucan is making their windows shake? Where are they when he has plucked all of his feathers and opened up his chest in trying to find a way to channel the pain and turmoil that he feels. Where are they as he sits in his cage like a ghost of a living creature so turned inside of himself that he has given up in his spirit?
I will not give up on them. Captivity is what they know. We can all continue to gnash about how they aren’t suited to captivity. Too late, we already ruined that for them. Though they are creatures of the wild we have taken that from them. We have stolen their survival instincts. We have stolen their birthright and they can’t have it back. What they know is to depend on us. Another way we have let the down.
Let’s stop preaching about how they are wild animals that don’t belong in captivity….That line of thinking isn’t valid for them. What we have to start doing is stepping up with answers. We have to step up with support for those that are carrying this burden. We have to work towards answers and solutions.
I hear a lot of blah, blah, blah from a lot of people. DO SOMETHING, DO ANYTHING. HELP someone who IS doing something.
Be the SOMEBODY in “Somebody should do something.”