Rescue Unwanted and Abandoned Companion Birds

by Mickaboo Companion Bird Rescue
Rescue Unwanted and Abandoned Companion Birds
Rescue Unwanted and Abandoned Companion Birds
Rescue Unwanted and Abandoned Companion Birds
Rescue Unwanted and Abandoned Companion Birds
Rescue Unwanted and Abandoned Companion Birds
Rescue Unwanted and Abandoned Companion Birds
Rescue Unwanted and Abandoned Companion Birds
Rescue Unwanted and Abandoned Companion Birds
Rescue Unwanted and Abandoned Companion Birds
Rescue Unwanted and Abandoned Companion Birds
Rescue Unwanted and Abandoned Companion Birds
Rescue Unwanted and Abandoned Companion Birds
Rescue Unwanted and Abandoned Companion Birds
Rescue Unwanted and Abandoned Companion Birds
Rescue Unwanted and Abandoned Companion Birds
Rescue Unwanted and Abandoned Companion Birds
Rescue Unwanted and Abandoned Companion Birds
Rescue Unwanted and Abandoned Companion Birds
Rescue Unwanted and Abandoned Companion Birds
Rescue Unwanted and Abandoned Companion Birds
Rescue Unwanted and Abandoned Companion Birds
Rescue Unwanted and Abandoned Companion Birds
Rescue Unwanted and Abandoned Companion Birds
Rescue Unwanted and Abandoned Companion Birds
Rescue Unwanted and Abandoned Companion Birds
Rescue Unwanted and Abandoned Companion Birds
Rescue Unwanted and Abandoned Companion Birds
Rescue Unwanted and Abandoned Companion Birds
Rescue Unwanted and Abandoned Companion Birds
Rescue Unwanted and Abandoned Companion Birds
Rescue Unwanted and Abandoned Companion Birds
Rescue Unwanted and Abandoned Companion Birds
Rescue Unwanted and Abandoned Companion Birds
Rescue Unwanted and Abandoned Companion Birds
Rescue Unwanted and Abandoned Companion Birds
Rescue Unwanted and Abandoned Companion Birds
Rescue Unwanted and Abandoned Companion Birds
Rescue Unwanted and Abandoned Companion Birds
Rescue Unwanted and Abandoned Companion Birds
Rescue Unwanted and Abandoned Companion Birds
Rescue Unwanted and Abandoned Companion Birds
Rescue Unwanted and Abandoned Companion Birds
Rescue Unwanted and Abandoned Companion Birds
Rescue Unwanted and Abandoned Companion Birds
Rescue Unwanted and Abandoned Companion Birds
Rescue Unwanted and Abandoned Companion Birds
Rescue Unwanted and Abandoned Companion Birds
Rescue Unwanted and Abandoned Companion Birds
Rescue Unwanted and Abandoned Companion Birds
Rescue Unwanted and Abandoned Companion Birds
Rescue Unwanted and Abandoned Companion Birds
Rescue Unwanted and Abandoned Companion Birds
Rescue Unwanted and Abandoned Companion Birds
Rescue Unwanted and Abandoned Companion Birds
Some of the 177 rescued finches
Some of the 177 rescued finches

"We rescued HOW many finches?"

That was the reaction when we counted the birds involved in Mickaboo's largest rescue effort ever - 177 finches from a soon-to-be-abandoned aviary.

This story began when Mickaboo was contacted by an aviary owner who was about to be hospitalized. He expected he would be unable to care for the finches after hospitalization, and needed help to save the birds.  He estimated he had about 80 finches, the result of breeding over the years from an initial flock of less than ten. 

The logistics of gathering up volunteers and supplies for the rescue meant we had just one day for the actual rescue.The first volunteers on the scene described it as a storm - birds, feathers, seeds, and debris swirling everywhere - plus a bonus cat, who was too interested in the finches and spent most of the afternoon underfoot.

It quickly became apparent there were many more than 80 finches. In a good news/bad news development, there were no nestlings or fertile eggs. The birds had mostly stopped breeding because the aviary was so overcrowded. By day's end, 177 finches were caged for safe transport to a vet for medical evaluation, or to foster homes.

About twenty finches went to the vet, even though it was, by this time, 8 pm on a Saturday night. We’re so thankful the vet was willing to accommodate us! Our volunteers and the vet documented a variety of illnesses and injuries including: 

  • Toes/limbs lost due to constrictive bands
  • Birth defects, such as splayed legs
  • Egg binding
  • Preening gland infections
  • Possible heart disease or infections

Fifteen of the birds stayed with the vet, and have since been released to Mickaboo for ongoing foster care.

~~~

The veterinary costs of a rescue like this can be substantial. Please assist us with a financial donation. Any amount  helps, and GlobalGiving has a matching campaign in progress to make your gift go further! Gifts up to $50 will be matched at 50% from now through Friday, April 8, 9 pm PT.  No limit on matching funds! Please give now while the thought is top of mind. 

Thank you for your consideration!

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Thanks to your support, Mickaboo has made it through another year.  And what a year it was!  The following is our CEO's view of that year and our accomplishments therein.

~~~

Greetings to all of you In Mickaboo’s “sphere of interest”.  I hope you and your flocks (human and avian) are all doing well.

Last year it felt as though I was yelling at the world from the bottom of a well.  I could see a tiny bit of sky in the distance, but it seemed as though my voice was traveling a great distance through a scary void to reach you.  We’ve come a long way together since then, and I want to congratulate all of the amazing, hardworking, incredible volunteers who continue to do all the work that is needed to rescue birds in northern California.

It is my job to give you the annual numbers.  And this year, the numbers are more positive, reflecting the effort that so many of you have invested in rescue.  Even as the rainy weather brings a positive change to this dry, drought-plagued region, I’m offering you a positive message about Mickaboo’s operations and the general well-being of the organization.

First our numbers.  The total number of birds currently in foster care is 313.  This compares to 358 last year, 435 in 2019, and 431 in 2018.  This decline in numbers reflects a number of changes in circumstances that are likely to continue into the future.

Forty-seven birds died this year in foster care; last year, 49 birds died in foster care.  This consistent pattern reflects both the aging of our foster flock (129 of our current fosters came to us before 2019), and the sad fact that some adopters return birds that are severely ill and/or very old.  Some of the birds newly surrendered to us were also already sick or already very old. That pattern is also not surprising - some of the surrenderers were also sick and/or old; some were already dead when we got the birds.  Mickaboo has been rescuing birds for 25 years.

We will continue to see some of our birds returning in the future.  Mickaboo promises to always take back our birds.  We accept responsibility for them for their lifetime.  This is something that sets us apart from pet stores and most breeders.  This year, 22 of our birds returned to us.  Last year, 20 birds returned.

This year we took in 250 birds (including the 22 returnees).  That is fewer than last year’s total intakes (283) but still substantially more than 2019 (170).

The extremely positive number - adoptions - for 2021 was 246 (so far).  Taking into account the losses and additions, our foster flock decreased in size this year and most of the decrease was the result of birds going to their forever homes.  This is very consistent with our objective of trying to balance adoptions and intakes, and is certainly an achievement worth celebrating!

Other changes in the makeup of the flock reflect increasingly tight regulation of wild caught birds, including prohibitions on their importation into the United States.  There are fewer and fewer large exotic birds being kept as pets in the U.S,  a trend also being seen in our sister rescues and sanctuaries around the country.  In 2019, 48% of our intakes were the small and very small birds - finches and canaries, budgies, parrotlets, lovebirds, and cockatiels.  In 2020, 65% were those same species.  This year, 82% of our incoming birds were those species.  This trend also reflects the increasing surrender of larger flocks (of small birds) kept in outdoor aviaries and, unfortunately, is accompanied by a substantial deterioration in the health patterns of incoming birds.  The cost of treating these large groups of birds places a financial burden on Mickaboo and also creates a severe impact on our veterinary health care providers.  It is certainly possible to maintain a healthy flock in an outdoor aviary, but the same lack of information that plagues so many bird owners in this country means that aviary owners are also ignorant of what is needed for proper diet and health care.  So we are getting larger groups of birds that have been fed seed all their lives and allowed to breed without constraint.

We don’t know if we will continue to see surrenders of larger groups of birds in the future, or if their occurrence this year and last year are aberrations.  But if you are thinking of building an aviary yourself, please consider filling it with rescued birds - we’re happy to consult on aviary design and upkeep.

VOLUNTEERS

Last year, with the onset of the pandemic, our world closed in on us.  We were extremely fortunate in that our technical support volunteers had already incorporated a range of technical tools and processes into our everyday systems.  Our database and communication network, even our work management systems, were pretty advanced for a nonprofit with NO paid employees.  The sheer geographic range of our influence over most of northern California has only been possible because we augment our volunteer activities with really well thought out technical tools.  Plus, of course, some pretty awesome volunteers who travel amazing distances to move birds and cages.

This is a heartfelt thanks to the unpaid volunteers who make this whole organization function.  Mickaboo continues to rescue birds, lots of birds, a range of bird species, because of the incredible efforts of some pretty remarkable people.  Many of our people are already known to all of you because they are always working, and you have probably already been impressed with some of their  accomplishments. 

But Mickaboo only functions to rescue hundreds of birds because of the work done by people who take on responsibilities over and above everything else in their daily lives  People who have found their families and jobs slammed by the pandemic and all of its personal and economic impacts still find time to do phone screens and home visits, to move birds hundreds of miles, to have difficult (sometimes unpleasant) conversations with people who are devastated at having to give up birds or who do not understand why Mickaboo is so strict about who gets to adopt our birds.  People who think they have no “technical skills” have learned to do home visits using technology that didn’t used to exist; people who thought their lives were already overwhelmed by the demands on their time, have added new jobs and new birds to their personal environment. 

And we need to give a special acknowledgement to the people who care for sick or injured birds, who give medication to birds that like it even less than your children, who take them back to vets that make us wait in the parking lot.  Mickaboo pays for vet care for all of our birds, but the greatest burden falls on those of you who care for those birds on a daily basis.  You are the saints who keep us going, and we need more of you.  Please reach out to friends and family and share the deep satisfaction you have derived from caring for sick or special needs bird.

CLASSES

Consistent with our objective of educating people about bird care, Mickaboo continues to offer regular free bird care classes.  This year our classes have still been occurring on-line, although the numbers of attendees are somewhat smaller than what we saw last year.  The classes are generally held every other week and class sizes have varied from 3 to 36. During that same time period, we had 424 people attend the classes, including some attendees who wanted to adopt from other nonprofits. 

It is a source of great satisfaction when a person attends our class and says it is for the purpose of learning how to be a better bird caretaker.  How wonderful that our positive influence extends even beyond the birds we rescue!

OUR MESSAGE TO YOU

This year, and every year, Mickaboo’s message to all of you is:

Please consider Mickaboo in your New Year’s Resolutions! In addition to loving your birds and providing generous donations to help us pay our vet bills, please consider one (or more) of the following:

  • Plan for your birds’ future. What events do you foresee in your own life and how can you plan to include your bird(s) in that future?
  • Can you help us with processing bird intakes and adoptions? We especially need help on the teams handling intake and adoptions for macaws and the parrots of Telegraph Hill.
  • Do you have a special gift for managing people?  We need volunteer coordinators!
  • Foster a bird or two, especially a bird (or two) that otherwise cannot come into Mickaboo.  Consider fostering a special needs bird.  Remember we’ll supply the cage; you supply the food, toys, and love.

~~~  end of CEO message ~~~

The volunteer opportunities described in the second and third bullet points are virtual - all you need is internet access, a love for companion birds, and general office skills. 

Many many thanks to ALL of you who help our rescue flock with your financial support and / or your time!

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Avocado - showing splay leg (and siblings in back)
Avocado - showing splay leg (and siblings in back)

This #GivingTuesday, GlobalGiving is giving away $1 million from now to 8:59 p.m. PST on Nov. 30. The more you give, the more Mickaboo's birds can receive from this giveaway!

Your gifts allow us to help birds like Avocado, the splay-legged greencheek conure in the pictures accompanying this report.

Avocado ("Avo" for short) was the oldest of four greencheek conures born to "backyard breeders".  Avo had a splayed leg (a leg extending to the side, instead of forward) because of an improper nest box. A splayed leg can make walking difficult, if not impossible, for a bird.

The breeders kept the (healthy) second-born bird and surrendered the rest to Mickaboo, telling us the others were probably going to die. Mickaboo intervened nonetheless, got all the birds to a veterinarian, and Avo pulled through.

Avo's foster parents tell us Avo is a little princess - she wants all the attention and all the love, and moves at maximum speed at all times. Noone and nothing is slowing her down!

~~~~~

During this season of giving thanks, Avocado, the 300 birds in our rescue flock, and all of our volunteers, thank YOU for your support.  With your help, we will continue our mission of helping these caring, smart, feathered beings in their time of need.  Please give now to take advantage of this matching opportunity.

From all of us to all of you - best wishes for a great start to a happy and safe holiday season.

Avocado - all grown up and beautiful
Avocado - all grown up and beautiful
Avocado (lower left) and her hatchling siblings
Avocado (lower left) and her hatchling siblings

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Lita perching on a finger
Lita perching on a finger

Lita is the sweetest little girl parakeet! She is finger-trained, never bites,  and is looking forward to making friends in a forever home - maybe yours? Lita is less than two years old and will make a great addition to your family!

Lita came to Mickaboo Companion Bird Rescue about six months ago when her former owner was diagnosed with allergies. Australian bird species - budgerigars, cockatiels, cockatoos - are dustier than the average bird, and their dust sometimes trigger allergies. Sadly, it's an aspect of bird ownership that sometimes isn't appreciated by potential bird owners until the bird has become a part of the family.

Mickaboo runs on two fuel sources - the energy of its dedicated volunteers, and the generous financial help of supporters like you. YOU can help more birds like Lita by participating in this week's "Little by Little" matching program - ALL eligible donations up to $50 per donor will be matched at 50%. While the matching funds won't end, the matching campaign will, on Friday, September 17 at 9:00 pm PT.

Would you help us by donating now? Any amount helps and will be appreciated by our volunteers and rescued birds. 

Lita
Lita

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Frodo - after being treated
Frodo - after being treated

The COVID19 pandemic has thrown many organizations for a loop, and Mickaboo Companion Bird Rescue was also affected.  Fortunately our volunteers stepped up! Here is a progress report on some of what we have done lately.

The need for a companion bird rescue organization has never gone away.  Frodo, a red-lored Amazon, illustrates this point well. His owner passed away in January; the owner's sister didn't know what to do with Frodo.  Frodo was about 50 years old, had overgrown beak and nails, and a mass on his back.  Clearly he needed medical attention, so the sister went to a local avian veterinary office for help - and the clinic turned to Mickaboo to provide the funds for needed medical attention and the resources for longer-term guardianship.

Fast forward to now:  Frodo has had his beak and nails trimmed so he can eat and walk more normally.  The mass on his back was removed.  He has an ongoing need for arthritis medications, but that hasn't stopped him from being adopted into a loving family.  Frodo expresses his joy in life by imitating the sounds around him and asking for head scritches.  A true success story!

Stories like Frodo's could happen despite the pandemic because of our volunteers' pivot to all-virtual operations. For example: monthly Zoom adoption events raise awareness about the birds awaiting new homes while teaching lessons about good bird care.  You can see our Youtube library of recorded events here

Want to help us do more?  Stay tuned for GlobalGiving's Bonus Day on July 14, when your donations can be matched!

Thank you for ALL you do to help us throughout the year!

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Organization Information

Mickaboo Companion Bird Rescue

Location: San Jose, CA - USA
Website:
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Project Leader:
Pamela Lee
San Jose, California United States
$562,096 raised of $570,000 goal
 
6,221 donations
$7,904 to go
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