The Joy & Sorrow Of Sending A Foster Parrot To His New Home

Tips on how to make the separation easier.

Fostering parrots, like this timneh African grey, need homes too. Via Rebecca K. O'Connor
Fostering parrots, like this timneh African grey, need homes too. Via Rebecca K. O'Connor

If you have a well-adjusted foster parrot that is playing with bird toys, bathing, eating a healthy diet and well-behaved, chances are that you are going find a great home for him. You should be proud! You’ve done a great job. However, that doesn’t always make it easy to part with your temporary roommate.

Maybe it’s taken you a couple of years to get your little bird charge ready and find a home that will love him as much as you do. That’s a lot of bonding time with a bird and it can be hard to imagine that anyone can give your bird as great of a home as you. Within reason though, you have to let this go.

Good Reasons To Let Go Of Your Foster Parrot

We all know the biggest reason to send a foster parrot on to his next home. We can only care for so many birds. Unless you have plans of running your own rescue and building a facility, you only have so much space. You also only have so much time and attention to split. We can’t save all the parrots individually. If everyone who is able takes in one parrot though, we can. And if you find your foster a great home, you can help another parrot.

Another great reason to let go is how much you learn as you go. Surely, your parrot has taught you a great deal about training a parrot with a new personality and maybe a species you were not familiar with before. Every challenge you and your foster parrot overcame taught you something important. Think about how other parrots can benefit from this new found knowledge. Think how much more you have to learn.

Most importantly, while the space in our homes is limited, the space in our hearts is not. The heart stretches to hold as much as you add. A new foster will only make your heart bigger.

Helping With Your Foster’s New Home

Just because you are giving up your foster parrot to a new home does not mean you have to stop caring about your friend. You can still be available to your foster’s new family. In fact, I highly recommend it. You have experiences that can be helpful. Just don’t call constantly and hover. No one wants unsolicited advice and they certainly will not take it.

Believe in your foster parrot’s new family whole-heartedly, but also make sure that they know you are there for them if problems arise. Be warm and helpful and don’t be judgmental. If the family worries that you will be disparaging when they call or write, then they may never contact you. Your job is do whatever you can to help the new family be successful and to love their new friend as much as you do.

Moving On

It’s OK if you cry. I’ve cried every time I’ve released a rehabilitated raptor, re-homed a dog, or transitioned a foster parrot. I tell myself that if parting isn’t bittersweet, then maybe I shouldn’t be fostering. Yet, I manage to move on to help the next bird. You will too! Just think of all the other parrots waiting out there for your help.

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