Bird Rescue: Donations and Fundraising

Good-hearted people are donating money – and they don’t realize that their hard-earned cash may not benefit the birds.

The owner of one registered “non-profit bird rescue organization” summarized it nicely in one sentence: “I make more money with donations than I would be – working at a grocery store.”

When Bird Rescue Turns Into a Business (Article)

I wouldn’t mind if they make a living out of caring for pets. In fact, we gladly pay people whose focus is to provide loving and quality care to rescues, ensuring lots of mental and physical stimulation, good nutrition and health care. However, if they fail to do that — they are exploiting these precious birds and misguiding donors.

The reality is that people like that are out there. You may have been paying money trusting their websites, their fundraising mailers – real tear-jerker stories. The reality may look very different. The birds may be provided MINIMAL CARE while the owners are financing their own lifestyle with your donations.

As long as you keep sending them your money, they will have no incentive to discontinue their unethical business. In fact, you might be contributing to the birds being kept in horrible conditions. Once they stop getting your donations, they would get rid of the birds in a heartbeat; and these unfortunate creatures would stand a chance at some quality of life.

Our donations and support need to go to those sanctuaries whose primary focus truly is the welfare of the birds!

It is undeniable that more ethical Bird Sanctuaries are urgently needed. The markets are flooded with unwanted petbirds, and rescuers are overwhelmed with unwanted pets. We need to take care of those sanctuaries whose priority truly is the welfare of the birds in their care. These rescue organizations fulfill a very important role in caring for rescued and abandoned birds or beloved pets whose owners are no longer able to care for them.

  • Pet Birds: I personally feel that a friendly, well-adjusted pet bird is better off in a private home than in a sanctuary. A rescue organization, as good (or bad!) as it may be, cannot give your pet the attention it would be getting as part of a family.
  • Some birds, however, cannot be rehabilitated. This is a fact of life. They have been damaged “beyond repair.” Rescue Organizations often are their only option … I would like to see these birds in spacious flights, with an as-close-to-natural environment as possible – not caged.
  • Your donations. There is no point in us paying for bird storage facilities. Frankly, these birds would be better off dead than lingering in cages their entire life waiting for food to be delivered. There is no quality of life in that. Donations should ONLY be given to those organizations whose first priority is the birds. If you can visit and check out the facilities, please do so … or do some research on the organization you are interested in donating to.
  • Support your local wildlife / exotic bird sanctuary. My local wildlife sanctuary is Flamingo Gardens, in Davie, FL. This sanctuary is about 20 minutes from Fort Lauderdale, FL. If you live in, or are planning on visiting, Southern Florida, I would really recommend checking it out. It’s a great park. I particularly enjoy the walk-in aviary where visitors are able to get a close-up view of the beautiful local wildlife. You will find that many of the birds are not releasable. They may have a wing or a leg missing, damaged beaks, etc. The walk-in aviary is large, with little ponds for the water birds to enjoy. It really brings nature back to the rescued birds who would have otherwise perished. Many of the birds are pretty friendly as they have grown used to visitors. This sanctuary also has parrots that people dropped off. I did have an issue initially with this sanctuary as they didn’t provide toys for them. However, at least they were in nice-size aviaries in a natural, rather beautiful, setting. Still, I feel strongly that exotic birds should be provided with foraging opportunities and “something to do.” I donated some toys and noticed in their latest newsletter they have included “bird toys” on their wish list of donations.
    • How you can help your local wildlife / exotic bird sanctuary: After checking them out, to make sure that the birds are well taken care of
      • Shopping: Purchase items from their shop — if available. For example, I purchase ALL my t-shirts from Flamingo Gardens. I like the beautiful nature motives and the quality is wonderful. Plus, it makes me feel good that I sponsor these beautiful animals at the park while purchasing items I need anyhow.
      • Membership: Become a member. I am a member of this sanctuary and the annual membership entitles me with free access to the sanctuary (while visitors otherwise have to pay an entrance fee).
      • Volunteering: If you have the time to help, please consider doing so. For example at Flamingo Gardens, it would be wonderful if people could help create a more fun “foraging” environment for the exotic birds. The parrot aviaries are a bit too “basic” and could be improved upon. I understand that there are only a couple of animal caretakers at that park and they are somewhat overwhelmed. They do, considering the resources they have, a great job though. If you would prefer to help in other areas, just ask what your local sanctuary’s needs are.
  • PLEASE – BE NOT mislead by a website featuring rescued birds, happily munching on goodies while being perched on nice bird gyms … All of this means nothing. Those photos could have been staged — one happy afternoon outside their cages in a lifetime. These birds may already be dead.

One of these bird rescues featured birds on their website that they no longer had in their possession — but you could “sponsor” them! Their so-called “free-flight aviary” advertised on their website and fundraising mailers was a scam – the birds were all caged. Not only that, they were fed wild bird seeds – amazing really, since they present themselves as bird care educators and preach about the specific nutritional requirements of birds – which, believe me, does not include wild bird seeds. Anyhow, the picture I got was very different from what the website and the fundraising mailers made donors believe.

Fund Raising:

Bird rescue is not just about taking in and caring for birds. People who go into that business have to realize that they will need to spend a good part of their time on administrative tasks and raising funds for these birds. It’s not fun — but it’s a vital part of their job description.

They may have to spend several hours a day setting up fund-raising events, creating mailers, and contacting manufacturers to receive food and toy donations. Bird rescue is not just about “playing with the birds” all day and cleaning up after them — it’s also about meeting the financial needs of a rescue organization.

Fundraising is an important job for any rescue organization. If rescuers are unwilling to spend sufficient time on this task, or are simply not successful at it, they are putting at risk the birds in their care — and, frankly, then they shouldn’t be in bird rescue.

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Team Beauty of Birds's team of experts includes veterinarians, biologists, environmentalists and active bird watchers. All put together, we have over half a century of experience in the birding space.

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