Mickey, African Grey Parrot, fully feathered
Foster Stories

Mickey’s Story

Hi, my name is Mickey. I was donated to Birdline three years ago. I was a very much-loved pet, but unfortunately my owners were never taught how to care for me properly and my health suffered as a consequence. I lived on a “junk food” diet of black sunflower seed and monkey nuts, which are both very high in protein and fats – but low in the many other vitamins and nutrients I need to be healthy and happy. Eventually, I stopped eating and started to pluck out my feathers. Poor diet can be a major cause of behavioural issues such as plucking. Unable to cope my owners surrendered me to the care of the rescue charity, Birdline. When the Birdline volunteers collected me, they didn’t think I would make the journey to my new home because I was so weak and thin.

I was taken to a safehouse for care and rehabilitation. I was very frightened to start with, because although I had my own cage and toys, I was in strange place, with people that were new to me. It took me a little while to get used to my safehouse parents and my new surroundings, but slowly we got to know each other. I was being given all these strange things to eat, that I’d never seen before like vegetables, fruit, nuts and chicken. It took me a little while to get used to all these different colours, textures and flavours, but slowly I began to get excited when my breakfast bowl came and I also started to gain weight and stopped pulling my feathers out.

Along with my new diet there was something else new happening in my life. This great big hand kept coming towards me and a voice kept saying ”tickle, tickle”.  To start with, I thought this was very frightening and on several occasions, I caused my safehouse Dad a lot of pain and bleeding because I bit him in order to defend myself. However, over the following weeks, I decided the “tickle tickle” was nice and not at all scary. I fell in love with my new safehouse family and the feeling became mutual. I am now fostered and have a forever home with them. I am now  a very happy, healthy and fortunate bird, who without Birdline Parrot Rescue may not be alive to tell my tale.

Love Mickey.

Unfortunately, this is a very typical story of birds that come into Birdline Parrot Rescue. Birds are often sold by unscrupulous dealers and pet shops, who have a  severe lack of knowledge of the birds’ needs, and can not hope to impart best practice to the people who buy their birds. This leads to poor husbandry, ill health and behavioural issues such as loud squawking, biting and attacking and self harm including plucking and mutilating. The once beautiful creature you kept in the corner of the room has become noisy, disruptive and sometimes dangerous. These ‘problem parrots’ are often passed from one home to the next, sometimes being yelled at and treated even more cruelly by the frustrated humans they live with. Eventually, the lucky ones may find their way to a rescue charity such as Birdline. Please help to stop this cruel trade – don’t buy, foster.

Birdline Parrot Rescue operates across the U.K. and  re-homes hundreds of parrots each year. We also work to raise standards in parrot care through education at events and through resources such as the Birdline website. The charity is run entirely on a voluntary basis and a dedicated team of people give their valuable time to enable birds such as Mickey get a second chance of a loving home. Each year the charity’s biggest cost is for vet care, ensuring birds such as Mickey get the support they need to live healthy and happy lives. Funds are raised through a membership scheme, donations and events. As parrots live for such a long time, they remain in the ownership of Birdline for life. This gives the much needed reassurance that if a foster family’s circumstances change Birdline will step in to give support and if necessary re-home the bird once again. You can find out more about the charity and ways in which you can help support it at www.birdline.org.uk