How to apply for a bird

Please be sure to read all these instructions before applying for a bird. It will save a lot of time for you and us. Please also remember that we are all volunteers and as such the re-homing process can take time. There are also some FAQs here which you may find helpful.

  • We only operate in England, Scotland and Wales. Birds being re-homed or safe housed must remain in one of these three countries.
  • You have to be, and remain, a paid member, to foster or safe house.
  • You must be at least 18 years of age to join Birdline, and foster or safe house.

How to Foster or Safehouse a bird in 4 easy steps

  1. Register and pay your membership (only members may look after our birds).
  2. Make sure you are logged into the website.
  3. Head over to our bird listings and meet our beautiful flock.
  4. Chose the bird you wish to give a forever home to and fill in the foster application form; and / or
  5. Fill in the safehouse application form

Foster home or safehouse?

When a bird comes into the charity from a donor, it is placed in a safehouse for evaluation. Safehouses are the backbone of Birdline: we do not have regional centres where birds are kept, rather they are cared for by our members until they are ready for rehoming. The safehouse will care for, rehabilitate and assess the bird prior to it being put up for rehoming. Some birds are not suitable for rehoming and will remain with an experienced volunteer and become part of our bird sponsorship programme.

When a bird is ready to find a new home, they enter our fostering programme. Many birds live for decades (the oldest we have is 87) and for this reason we foster our birds, rather than permanently adopt them. This means that if your circumstances change, we can help the bird find a new home.

About our foster programme

Birdline rehome all the birds who come into our care. The birds are not adopted out but are put into the Birdline Lifelong Foster Care Programme. The Programme ensures that the bird always belongs to Birdline and thus the bird is protected for the rest of its life. The Foster Carer must agree that if their circumstances change then the bird must come back into Birdline. It cannot be sold or passed on to anyone else. However, in the meantime, the bird is theirs to enjoy. NB. the foster won’t be valid if the form is co-signed by a volunteer who is a relative or close friend, so please ensure the directors are aware of any conflicts of interest.

What charges are involved?

When you foster a bird from Birdline, you do not buy the bird. Our charges are to cover our costs of moving and assessing the birds and their new homes. This enables us to continue our rescue work and allows us to help secure the future of more birds in need.

Cites 1 birds

There are strict regulations around the trade of endangered species. Even though Birdline never sells a bird and only fosters them, these regulations affect our ability to ask for a fee to cover the cost of rescuing, rehabilitating and fostering Cites 1 birds.

In order to ask for money for a Cites 1 bird we would need to apply for an Article 10 certificate and ensure the bird had either a microchip or a numbered closed ring. We do not believe it is in the best interest to anesthetize and microchip birds – due to the inherit risks of anaesthesia. Therefore, we do not, as a matter of course apply for Article 10 certificates. However, similar costs are involved to that of fostering other large birds and we would ask that all fosterers of Cites 1 birds would consider supporting the charity and its work in other ways.

Annual Membership Fee£25
Home-check fee (foster homes only)£20
Small birds admin fee
Budgies, Parrotlets & Cockatiels etc.
£20.00 donation & £10.00 admin charge
£30
Small to medium sized birds admin fee
Conures, Ringnecks, Caiques, Hahn’s macaw etc.
£30.00 donation & £30.00 admin charge
£60
Amazon admin fee
£40.00 donation & £40.00 admin fee
£80
Cockatoo admin fee
£80.00 donation & £40.00 admin fee
£120
Macaw admin fee
£150.00 donation & £50.00 admin fee
£200

What birds do you have?

Our bird listings are here. Look for a bird which suits your circumstances, e.g. gender preferences, working hours, children, pets. If you can’t see a bird you like, contact us anyway and we can keep an eye out as birds come in for one which is suitable.

Who can apply?

Any member, including safehouses, foster homes, area coordinators, area managers and directors, can apply for any bird on the rehoming list. The application should be submitted via the Foster application form or via their Area Coordinator if you don’t have the internet. If applying via your ACO please clearly state which bird you are applying for and give a short description of your circumstances and why you are applying for the bird, along with your current telephone number, home address and email address if you have one.

What happens then?

Each member who has applied for a bird will be contacted by telephone by a Rehoming Officer to discuss their application. All applications will be assessed equally and fairly. Unsuccessful applicants will be informed by telephone or via email only after the bird has been successfully placed.

This can be a lengthy process if the bird has a lot of applicants. Each telephone interview takes 45 minutes to an hour. Once all the phone interviews have been completed, the rehoming committee will then decide which applicant is most suited to the individual bird’s needs. This person must then pass a home check before the bird is placed with them.

The home check will be species specific, therefore if a member has not fostered this specific species before then a home check will be required irrelevant of any other previous home checks carried out. The home check will be at a cost of £20.00 and can be paid in the Birdline shop, or by cheque or cash to the Birdline representative on the day.

We often get several applicants for each bird and consequently there will always be some disappointed members. We encouraged unsuccessful applicants to apply for another suitable bird and can do so at any time. Just because you are not deemed the most suitable applicant for that bird does not mean you will not be successful for another.

Each bird placed in a new home will have a Birdline Passport which will contain the bird’s history (if any) and any veterinary treatment the bird may have had. This passport MUST be kept up to date by the new Foster Carer and produced whenever a Birdline representative comes to check on the bird.

It is the foster carer’s duty to keep Birdline informed of changes in their contact details or circumstances that may affect their ability to look after the bird. It is possible that if a change of address is notified, then a further home check may need be carried out.

The Foster Carer must agree to continue to be a member of Birdline UK during the complete period of fostering the bird. Any bird may be removed from a Foster Carer if it is deemed that the conditions the bird is living in are inappropriate, or the bird is at risk, or if the Fosterer’s membership lapses.

Collecting your bird

You must be able to provide a suitable travelling cage, perches and food and water for the journey. A suitable cage will be like this one here. For larger birds such as Amazons and African Greys you will need one like this one here. For Birds like large Cockatoos and Macaws speak to your area co-ordinator and they will advise you of a suitable one. You will be given details of the safehouse and can arrange directly with them a mutually suitable time. You will then be required to sign a foster agreement for the bird which will be signed digitally by the Rehoming Director and then signed by the Birdline representative. The representative will complete any payments made or received on the day. You retain a copy and Birdline retain one for their records. Your bird should be insured from the date you collect the bird and proof of the insurance given to the Birdline representative who will add the details to the foster agreement.

What if I can’t collect the bird?

If you wish to apply to foster a bird, you need to be aware that if you are successful in your application, you must be able to collect the bird, so apply for one near you. You must inform the rehoming officers, at your initial application if you cannot collect the bird so we can check if this is feasible.