Sydney is a 10-year-old Senegal Parrot looking for a new home.
Photograph by: Brian J. Gavriloff, edmontonjournal.com
EDMONTON — Glenn Walker's friends are looking for love.
They have got looks, style and personality, and Walker is out to find the right person for each of his eight buddies.
But as cute as they all are, Walker knows what they really need is someone who is not afraid of commitment, noise or the occasional beak bite.
Walker's friends are parrots, and as much as he wants to find good homes for them, he knows that a perfect match of personalities is what makes any relationship work, especially one between human and bird. "If you're going to have one, it's like being married," said Walker, a volunteer with the Feathered Friends Avian Rescue and Resource Association. "It's a long commitment."
On Saturday, the organization, along with the Edmonton Humane Society, worked to educate people about that commitment during a parrot adoption blitz. Humane Society spokeswoman Shawna Randolph said the event was a first for her organization, something they were keen to do to increase the odds that the parrots find permanent homes.
Parrots can live as long as 50 years and need proper grooming, a well-balanced diet and stimulating toys to stay healthy. The birds also are not as independent as dogs or cats, Walker said. They are demanding in their need for attention, which can come at inconvenient times. "If you're not a morning person, you will be," he said. "They will wake you up."
Walker and his wife Kari, the cofounder of the parrot rescue group, have fostered three birds for the past few months. Kari Walker said foster homes play an important role in learning a bird's behaviour, something the organization needs to understand to make a good permanent match.
"There's a lot of things with birds you put up with (that) with other pets you train out," she said. One of those things is the well-known parrot chatter.
Barb Morgan of St. Albert was one of the people who visited the Humane Society Saturday during the parrot adoption blitz. She said she was looking for a sunburst conure, a small, bright yellow bird similar to Dolly, the austral conure, who was up for adoption on Saturday.
Morgan said she is considering fostering birds, which Kari Walker recommends to potential bird owners as a way to learn what kind of bird is the right fit. "I call it parrot fever," she said. "You get one and you want another one. It's a lot of work and part of our job is to slow people down."
For more information about FFERRA, visit www.parrotrescue.ca.
For more information about the Edmonton Humane Society, visit www.edmontonhumanesociety.com.