Parrot Outreach Society was formally founded in 2007 as an extension of the local bird club. In 2009 we incorporated and received our 501c3 status in 2010. Prior to 2007 it was an informal, in home, re-homing situation run by 2 people. In 2012, we had grown by leaps and bounds and decided to try a storefront, allowing more exposure for the birds to prospective adoptive families. We started in a 1,000 sq. ft. store front. By 2013 we had already out grown that and m moved into a 2,400 sq. ft. store front where we still are today. We are a 100% volunteer organization that supports itself through retail sales of parrot products such as cages, toys, play stands and food, as well as through donations and adoption fees. Our current capital campaign, Raise the Roof for Parrots, is designated as a building fund. We hope to purchase land with buildings to expand by 2017.
We care for 150 parrots at any given time and have a staff of volunteers who care for, socialize and love the birds. Sadly, as more and more parrots find themselves homeless due to aging owners, job changes, housing changes and a myriad of other reasons, the need for our services grows. Parrots are currently the #3 companion animals in the US. There are poor statistics on exactly how many homeless and unwanted parrots there really are in the US. Most rescues begin in a private home and many remain operating that way, making it difficult to get accurate numbers. There are few funds available for parrots with no government assistance, few grants that are parrot specific and a lack of awareness to the plight of parrots, making it difficult for rescues to obtain funds other than private donors. When you think of in home rescues you have to realize that means the person running it is tasked with caring for the birds as well as all financial, advertising and fundraising as well as many other duties. Many don’t last for long.
At Parrot Outreach we believe in accentuating the positive rather than dwelling on the past of the bird. We enjoy what we do and the birds benefit tremendously from all the love the volunteers put into their care. We do not believe in sad stories to raise funds but rather find ways we can earn the funds we need to supplement the donations we receive. If you visit the adoption center on any given day, you will likely see the office filled with play stands and birds of various species. You may find our Cockatoo lady in the Cockatoo room playing music, making and distributing toys and providing much needed one on one love and training, Cockatoo Debbie, as we have loving named her, comes in 4 days a week for an average of 4-5 hours per day. This is just one of our volunteers and the effort, time, money and love put forth! She brings fresh foods for everyone, toy making supplies for the Cockatoos and her own music for dancing.
What you won’t see are the volunteers who come in early every morning to clean cages, feed and water the birds. These ladies are a dedicated group! Face it, they come to clean poop but they get some love and conversation in with birds as they clean or stay after they are done to share some love. You also won’t see our toy maker unless you come late Fri. afternoon. Jacquie comes in every Fri. to make new toys and rotate them out for each bird. Some volunteers take home toy parts and bring back finished toys ready to hang for the birds. We also have a birdie muffin baker who makes home made bird bread with organic ingredients. You won’t see our Adoption Coordinator who reviews applications, runs background checks and does home visits or our Newsletter Editor who makes sure we have a newsletter every month to send out. Or the PR person who handles finding events to attend and gathering volunteers to cover it. So many jobs are behind the scenes that it’s hard for the average person to realize just how much work goes into re-homing the birds and keeping the retail portion running to support the rent, electric and internet service needed for our work. It really does take a village! We also have our loyal FB supporters who post about us and our work and make referrals to us when a family wants to adopt or is in need of our services.
Bird Gardens of Naples is our sister organization who provides permanent sanctuary to the birds who are not able to live in homes for one reason or another. There are always cages to rake, birds to feed, grass to mow and a desperate need for funds as they do not have adoption fees to help support their mission. Keri provides tours of the facility with an appointment and definitely needs a village to help! If you ever wondered what happens to old breeding birds, birds with severe behavioral issues or other need go, look no further, Bird Gardens of Naples is that place.
So, if you have some time, a talent or just a love of birds and want to share it with fun, bird loving people, stop by and fill out a volunteer form! There are so many ways you can help even if it’s just to spread the word about us, our birds and the work we do. Tell people who have an extra cage or other bird product that it will be put to good use at our facility rather than them throwing it away. Tell the world, Adopt Don’t Shop! Most important of all, help us to educate the public that bird rescues DO exist! We constantly hear from people who say they had no idea that there were bird rescues.
It is our mission to care for and find loving homes for unwanted birds and to help the people who need our services.