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December 23, 2016 - Thoughts on Fostering Birds

I have been fostering birds over several birds.  When I tell people that I foster birds, they have no idea why a bird needs to be foster should the bird stay at the rescue; or people think that I am cuddle with birds all day.  

The birds I usually foster have chronic behavior issue which are leading to biting, feather plucking or shutting down.

When I was getting my Certified Parrot Behavior Consultant, I could not count my work with fosters because
it was not considered assisting someone with his/her bird.   I have foster 16 birds. There have been wonderful outcomes and some sad outcomes.  I foster the bird until the goals I have set for the birds can be met and the training can be easily passed to the adopter.   Yes, passing the bird to the new adopter is extremely hard because you wonder did you prepare the bird for the transfer and new home, did you give good instructions to the adopter, and your are sad/happy when the bird is adopted.   All of these items are just like doing consultations, you want to make sure the training plan is successful and obtainable for the bird and the person, and you are sad/happy when the bird/person have accomplished the task.

My current foster, Jay, 22 year old white cap pionus has been a tough foster for me because of all his behavior issues.  Every day. he progresses and shows me that behavior can change with patience, shaping, making successful training plan and watching the bird's behavior. I never push Jay to do something he does not feel comfortable with doing.  He does not step up right now.  We are doing very small steps that may lead to stepping up someday.  He has history/fear of ladders and arms so I have move at Jay's pace.  

Most people looking to adopt a bird wants a bird that talks, that is friendly and steps up.  I try to educate people
on how these requirements come with time, patience and working with the bird. Bird's do not just comply and we can not just force them to comply.  The issue with pushing and making any animal comply, there is always consequences.  These consequences lead to the bird loosing his/her home and may end up being a bird I foster.

Foster is not an easy but it can be rewarding.  I am writing this blog because those that think that fostering is easy. You have not taken the time to really assist in a behavior.  Birds are not objects, they have life, soul and emotions.