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. There are also some FAQs here which you may find helpful.

  • Please remember that we are all volunteers and as such the re-homing process can take time.
  • 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 fill in the safehouse application form

What is a 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 to find a long term foster home.
  • The safehouse will care for, rehabilitate and assess the bird prior to it being put on the foster list.

What is a Foster Home?

  • 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.
  • 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 Rehoming Director is aware of any conflicts of interest.

What birds do you have?

  • Our foster bird list is  here. Look for a bird which suits your circumstances, e.g. gender preferences, working hours, typical noise levels, children, pets.
  • If you can’t see a bird you like, contact us anyway and we can keep an eye out, for one which may be suitable. or consider applying to be a safehouse.

What happens then?

  • A Rehoming Officer will phone each applicant.
  • Suitable applicants will be recommended for a home inspection. The home check will be at a cost of £20.00 and can be paid in the Birdline shop,
  • Once all the checks have been undertaken the Rehoming committee will decide which applicant is most suited to the individual bird’s needs.
  • All applications will be assessed equally and fairly.
  • Unsuccessful applicants will be informed by telephone or via email after the bird has been successfully placed.
  • We often get several applicants for each bird and consequently there will always be some disappointed members. Just because you are not deemed the most suitable applicant for that bird does not mean you will not be successful for another. We encouraged unsuccessful applicants to apply for another bird.

What charges are involved?

When you foster a bird from Birdline, you do not buy the bird. Our charges are a way for you to support the charity and 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.

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
Small to medium sized birds admin fee*
Conures, Ringnecks, Caiques, Hahn’s macaw etc.
£60.00 donation & £40.00 admin charge
Amazon admin fee*
£110.00 donation & £40.00 admin fee
African Grey admin fee*
£110.00 donation & £40 admin fee
Cockatoo admin fee*
£140.00 donation & £40.00 admin fee
Macaw admin fee*
£260 donation & £40.00 admin fee
*CITES Article 10 certificate
If we are required to apply for an A10 certificate, a surcharge will apply

*Cites 1 birds

  • There are strict regulations around the trade of endangered species and in order to charge a foster fee, the bird must have certification provided by APHA. For more information click here.
  • If a bird comes to Birdline with a Specimen Specific Certificates [SSC], the above foster fee will apply.
  • If the bird does not have a SSC but does have a permanent unique indentifier such as a closed ring or a microchip, Birdline will apply for a A10 certificate. A surcharge of £40 will be added to the foster fee to cover this expense.
  • If the bird does not have a unique identifier, Birdline will not put the bird at unnecessary risk by anaethetising and microchipping it. Without the A10 cerificate we currently cannot charge a fee, nor ask for a donation when agreeing a foster placement. In this case we would ask you to consider supporting the charity and its work in other ways.

Collecting your bird

  • You must be able to provide a suitable travelling cage, perches and food and water for the journey.
  • A suitable cage for small / medium birds 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.
  • 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. We have a special policy available to members provided by our sponsor Exotic Direct. More information can be found on their website.

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.