Thursday, January 29, 2009

Great Lakes Pet Expo

Sorry for getting this information out to all of our local supporters so late, but CARE will once again have a booth at the Great Lakes Pet Expo on Saturday, January 31, 2009.

This is one of our favorite events as all of the animals at the expo are from rescues! Almost everyone knows that there are many second-hand dogs and cats that need homes, but many people don't know about the plight of unwanted birds, and this event allows us to get our name out there so that people considering adding a bird to their home will think (and hopefully choose) adoption!

Location is at the Wisconsin Expo Center on the State Fair Grounds. Hours are 10-6, admission is $5 or for kids under 10 $3 and $5 for parking on the grounds. Please see this website for more information.

We hope you stop by and say hi to us! Maybe some of our adoptable animals will get lucky and find their forever home as people stop by! (Note that no adoptions will take place at the Expo but interested parties can visit us at CARE and fill out an adoption application).

Generator grant

We just received the following e-mail from our friends at Petfinder, who have done so much to help homeless animals.
We are pleased to announce that your organization has been awarded a 5000 watt generator through the Power to the Paws program, courtesy of the Foundation and our friends at Merial. You will be contacted within the next several weeks by a nearby Honda dealership who will arrange for you to receive your generator. We are excited to be able to provide this assistance to you as you continue in your tireless efforts to save adoptable pets. We hope this will make things a little easier in the toughest of times. We'll be passing this great news on to your local press as well, so don't be surprised if you get a call - be prepared! Keep up the great work.

One of our fears has been how to care for the birds in case of emergency, including prolonged power outages. While we do have contingency plans in place, this generator will make things much easier should this happen. An article in today's local paper stated that ice storms in other parts of the country have resulted in power outages and that it may take over two weeks to restore power.

As the faltering economy has meant that donations are down while parrot surrenders are up, this couldn't have come at a better time. Thanks, Petfinder! Here's out petfinder page, if you want to see our adoptable animals, and be sure to check them out when you're searching for your next pet!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Many humane societies do a fantastic job with the animals they see most often -- dogs, cats, rabbits, small animals, etc. But birds are different, and many traditional places are unable to properly care for larger birds or birds with special needs, or to properly vet new homes for these animals.

We have developed relationships with many local humane societies in order to help them out when birds are surrendered to these organizations. Last week, we received a call from an area humane society. Two cockatiels had been surrendered. A kind employee called us up and said, "I don't know birds, but even I can tell that something isn't right with one of them." We quickly made arrangements to have the tiels transferred to our facility. This humane society is located about 3 hours away from us, and they made a herculean effort in order to bring her to us. Their actions were instrumental in saving her life.

The male was OK; a bit neglected, but proper care would fix him up in a few weeks. The female, on the other hand, brought tears to everyone's eyes. She is one of the worst abuse cases we had seen in quite some time. The people who surrendered her to the humane society refused to tell them how her injuries had been sustained. Our vet confirmed that there is no way her injuries could have been caused accidentally. She was abused; her wing intentionally broken.

We renamed her Guinevere, in hopes that a new name will bring her a new life and happiness. She's about 10 years old. Here are pictures of the cage she lived in. We didn't remove anything -- this is how she arrived:

Here is a picture of Guinevere:Aside from the obvious wing injury (fracture that healed improperly due to lack of vet care), her tongue was bleeding and she has sores on her feet. The tip of her tongue was ulcerated and the inside of her beak was red and inflamed. She attempted to eat, but the obvious pain she was in made this difficult.

Here are more pictures of her wing injury and poor feather quality:

We weren't sure whether she'd survive and, a week later, we're still not sure. She's making huge progress and we are hopeful.

The most amazing thing? She's tame and loves to be around people! After being handled in the above picture in order that we could document her injuries, she jumped up to the shoulder of the person who had been handling her, in order to snuggle a bit and feel safe.If we can get her healthy, our vet has told us that her wing will need to be amputated, in order to give her the best possible life. She has a recheck at the vet in a week; we'll keep you updated.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Little birds

One thing we see rather frequently is small birds with obvious wounds or other medical problems surrendered to us because the owners are unwilling to take them to the vet. Very frequently, we are told that the cost of the vet bill would far outpace the value of the bird; it's cheaper to just go out and buy another. These aren't people who are unable to pay for a vet visit; they just don't want to.

One gutsy surrenderer even asked if we'd fix up her cockatiels (they'd been attacked by her dog, bleeding heavily, and we weren't sure they'd survive -- they did) and let her have them again! We discussed her situation with her and she realized that her life wasn't suited to birds.

We are just astounded by this sentiment! All of the lives depending on us are special and deserve equal consideration, whether it's a tiny finch or a large macaw. We frequently spend more on vet care than we'd ever be able to recoup in adoption fees -- it's the right thing to do.

One example chronicled on this blog a few years ago is that of Lily.

This canary, Flower, came to us in bad shape. She has a tumor and was being picked on by her cagemates while the owner did nothing. Finally, she was surrendered to us. Avian medicine is unable to cure her tumor, but we placed her in a home filled with love, ideal conditions, and other special needs canaries and finches.
Her last few weeks, months, years (who knows how long she's got left now?) will be happy ones.

Even the little ones are amazing, sentient creatures that deserve the best we can give them.

We currently have many little birds available for adoption, if you'd like to open up your home.

Our retail sales (food, toys, cages, etc.) help to fund our organization, so that we can continue to offer the best care we can. All donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

Please see our website for more information!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Gizmo is an 8 year old blue crowned conure. He's already had at least two homes in his short life. The first home we know of was with an animal hoarder. Obviously he wasn't receiving the care that he needed in that home. He then went to live in a home where there was also an African grey. This person caged these birds together, which was not a good idea. Parrots really need their own cage, where they can be safe from predators (including other parrots). You may be able to see the marks on Gizmo's beak where the grey attacked him. Luckily his beak was not removed and Gizmo will heal.
Gizmo currently has poor feather quality due to an inadequate diet; however, he will be brilliant once again after he completes a molt and is provided better food (which he is receiving at the Center and will continue to receive in his new home, whenever he finds one).

Despite his unfortunate beginnings, Gizmo is one of the most intelligent birds we have had the pleasure to care for at the Center. Perhaps a bit too intelligent for his own good, as his mischievous streak can get him into trouble when it's not channelled properly.
We are looking for a very special owner for Gizmo. He will thrive in an environment where efforts are made to stimulate his intelligence. Of course, that is true for every parrot, but it's particularly important for birds like Gizmo.

He would be an ideal candidate for trick training, like clicker training. He'd love it if his humans would take 5 minutes every morning to hide his food around his cage so he had to forage for it instead of just eating it from the bowl. He'd really blossom in an environment that provided enough exercise for him. He needs lots of different kinds of toys, rotated regularly.

When he sees his favorite volunteers, his eyes pin, he makes kiss sounds, and he says, "Good morning!" If you're the right home for him, wouldn't you like to be greeted this way when you wake up every day?

When these wonderful creatures don't have positive outlets for their intelligence and energy, the behaviors manifest in negative ways, like screaming and biting, both of which Gizmo has been known to do.

However, in the right environment, with the right people, Gizmo can fulfill the potential we know he has. If you think that's you, we'd love for you to stop by and meet Gizmo! You can fill out a Bird Wanted Questionnaire, and our adoption coordinator will give you a call to discuss whether he may be the right fit. A commitment to nurturing the abilities of this amazing parrot is a must!

Friday, January 02, 2009


Shadow is a 9 year old timneh african grey that was surrendered to us earlier this week. Isn't he a handsome guy? His eyes reflect his amazing intelligence and capacity to love.

Unfortunately, he did not have a great start to her life, like so many other parrots. But his luck changed when he found his way to CARE!
The nature and pattern of his plucking was quite disturbing to us. We rarely see such a pattern in timnehs, and we therefore suspected his plucking was not due to behavioral causes. This was confirmed by our excellent avian vet, who diagnosed Shadow with a nasty yeast infection! Poor guy! Can you even imagine how uncomfortable and itchy he must have been in order to resort to picking out his feathers for relief?

Shadow's story underlines the importance of bringing your bird to a vet at the first sign something was wrong. He suffered needlessly for months in his previous home.He is currently undergoing treatment for his infection and will be up for adoption as soon as he's healthy again. We expect that within a year or so, he will be fully feathered again, and with any luck, part of a loving family for the rest of his life, which could last another 40 years or so.
UPDATE: Shadow's DNA-sexing came back and he is a male! He is responding quite well to treatment and has been allowing new feathers to grow in. He is revealing more of his personality and is a terrific bird that will thrive in the right environment. Timnehs are very smart and require lots of mental and physical stimulation. He absolutely loves destroying toys, so his new owner will need to make sure to budget these in for him!