I volunteer at a local bird rescue as often as I can. I do a lot of the decorating in the front of the building, sometimes I get to take photos of the birds for the Facebook page or I’m on cleaning duty.
The best part about this rescue is that most of the birds are just out of the cages. When they open, all the large birds, the Blue Gold Macaws, Green Winged Macaws, Cockatoos, African Grey Parrots, Blue Fronted Amazons, Yellow Naped Amazons and a few others get to hang out, they stay on the top of their cages for the most part. There are a couple Blue Gold Macaws that wander (Kiwi and Al), they go into their corner to play with boxes set up for them. Some of the small bird, like Cockatiel and Conure enjoy sitting on your shoulder as you work.
I was able to visit the rescue this past Sunday and my day consisted of Winston (the Green Winged Macaw) throwing a green bean at me, Pepe (a Blue Fronted Amazon) biting me as I tired to feed him a banana and Jellybean (Blue Gold Macaw) attempting to bite me every time I walked by his tree branch. However, Morgan (a Green Winged Macaw) was a doll and hopped right up on my finger to hang out for a bit and Al (Blue Gold Macaw) waved at me instead of putting up her usual territorial display! I loved every second of my time there and after visiting so many time, I know all of the bird and their personalities.
For some reason every single blue gold macaw (Kiwi, Al, Jellybean) in there hates me. They try to bite me, chase me, spreading their massive wings wide attempting to look large and intimidating, their heads low, ready to charge. The Blue Fronted Amazons (Pepe and Pablo), they dislike everyone, they weren’t trained properly and therefore aren’t incredibly sociable, but for some reason, they like me. I can feed them, they’ll talk to me, let me get close, I’ve only been bit once by them. They are my babies and if I lived alone, I would take them both home, mean temperament and all.
A woman came in yesterday and was asking me about the birds and she asked if she could pet any and I told her it was up to them. They all have different personalities. I told her about the birds that hated me and the ones that loved me. She asked why? I told her they’re just like people, they have their own thoughts and feeling and idea, if they don’t like someone they just don’t, just like people and this concept was almost too much for her to process, as if she thought birds were these stupid creature that had no ability to think as people do.
We often simplify an animal, chalk up their intelligence to mimicking and luck, but they are very individual, thoughtful creatures. You could put all 3 Blue Gold Macaws next to each other and they all look different and they all act different, I could tell all of them apart very easily. Animals are just like us and as people forget that which is why I think it is so easy for some to abuse or neglect their animals and just as easy for people to be shocked at how ingrained an animal can become in a family.
I highly recommend volunteering at an animal shelter, for any type of animal. It’s such a rewarding feeling working with all of the animals and you have the chance to learn so much. I am so excited to go back, there’s a lot of work to be done!
Do you volunteer anywhere?