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Please don’t buy a parrot: adopt a parrot

close-up-parrot-on-pavementOccasionally people call or e-mail me asking me whether I can help them find a Quaker or other parrot to serve as a human companion. Sometimes these requests seem to me a bit whimsical, and which case I discourage them because my belief is that when you contemplate bringing a parrot into your home, you must prepare to make a significant long-term commitment to an emotionally demanding, highly intelligent creature who might even outlive you. That’s just my personal view (and I know many who don’t share it).

On the other hand, such requests are often serious, for example the well-meaning attempt to find a pet parrot who’s pining for his or her mate a friend of the same species. In this case I’ll do my best to hook the person up with a good parrot adoption agency.

There are many legitimate agencies around, including Adopt-A-Pet (formerly 1-800-Save-A-Pet), which functions as a clearinghouse designed to match birds put out for adoption with prospective human adopters. Using Adopt-A-Pet is easy; just select your pet type, type in your zip code with a travel range, and search. When I searched Adopt-A-Pet today, there were many parrots looking for nice people to care for them.

Another good service is PetFinder.com. Again, just type in the kind of animal you’re looking for, your zip code plus travel range, and you should instantly get results. In New York, there are local sanctuaries — one I recommend is Feathered Friends (based in Queens), because I know Barry Schwartz personally and know how committed he is to parrots who are housed temporarily until they can find new, loving homes.

So please don’t buy a parrot. Adopt one. There are many wonderful birds looking for homes. Please use an adoption service if you’re looking for a companion and are prepared to make the commitment.