2017 charity was the Parrot Trust Scotland

Our charity explain themselves and what they are about…

The charity was originally founded on the island of Kerrera as a family run sanctuary and expanded to the extent that it relied upon the kindness of volunteers in order to survive.

Many of the birds we had in our care were crying out for human interaction as they had come from family homes and were human imprinted. Therefore, the decision was made to begin a fostering programme to allow as many of these birds as possible the opportunity to live in homes where they would be given all the one-to-one attention they so craved and with any luck, perhaps even spoiled. This was a complete change of direction for the charity and fundamentally we felt this merited a change of name as a result. It was decided to officially change the name of the charity to Parrot Trust Scotland (SCO41254) in February 2016.

The charity aim remains as before, that is, our parrots’ health, happiness and welfare but this new identity also allows us added direction of more accessible education and parrot owner support plus the opportunity to become the centre for excellence that our current birds and any who come to us in the future deserve.

Here are some questions we posed to the Parrot Trust.

  • Does the Parrot Trust Scotland have any future projects or plans that they are working towards which they would want to talk about?

We are currently investigating the viability of a build project to have our own premises. To say this is project is in its infancy is an understatement, as right now we are only looking into the financial viability of this before pursuing it any further. We don’t want to be a position where we are looking for a zoo license so will not be open to the public.

We did however read this article…

https://featheredangels.wordpress.com/2016/02/09/what-does-a-parrot-know-about-ptsd-by-charles-siebert/

And we are very enthusiastic about researching a joint venture with any organisations involved with human mental health issues and the possibility of having parrots part of the rehabilitation process – it opens many, many doors to us as a charity. Again, these projects are very much in their infancy.

  • What was the greatest thing you have be involved in since being part of Parrot Trust Scotland? And on the opposite side of the coin what has been the toughest part of what you do?

The fostering programme without a doubt. We quickly realised that having this many parrots to look after was that they were screaming for attention from humans. They were left with the Island Parrot Sanctuary under the premise of allowing them to “become parrots again” in an environment with other parrots. Whilst this was a logical/natural conclusion, it clearly wasn’t what the birds wanted. We slowly started introducing them back into households and in almost all cases, the birds have thrived. Seeing the birds happy again is an easily identifiable way of reassuring yourself that we have done the right thing by them and have made a difference in these birds’ lives.

As for the toughest – it’s without a doubt hearing the stories of why people would like us to help them rehome their bird. Whilst it’s worth acknowledging and applauding the reason that they have come to us is because they don’t want to simply sell the bird on gumtree and that their interest is finding a good home for the bird. It is often the case that people are surrendering their bird because it doesn’t fit in with their lifestyle, many of which are simply things that can be resolved but the owners are not willing to put in the effort. Sadly, there are phrases which annoy us all here at the charity, top of the list is “it’s just a bird”. There is often a comparative association of value with size – birds are small and therefore have less value. It is understandable that a horse may have significant value when the person riding that horse has placed their lives in the hands of said horse. But sadly, people assume that since birds are small and in some cases plentiful, that their lives are worth less and is heart breaking to see their actions heavily based on this interpretation.

  • How many birds has the Parrot Trust (and specifically Scotland) helped to re-home since it began?

We started with 83 within our care, and that number is now approximately 30. We have helped over a dozen birds to be rehomed in the last year alone which are not within the charities remit but have done so anyway for the sake of the birds.

  • When seeing parrots on the TV, they always seem to be larger than life characters and have a great screen presence, is this always the case, or is this something that happens because of the involvement with people?

Because of the involvement of people without a doubt. Most birds are naturally skittish in the wild because of their self-preservation instinct. Parrots on the TV have been brought up around humans and act accordingly. It isn’t always the case, but each species has a reputation for something. Amazons are the singers (leave the radio on around them and find out what happens!), African Greys like to mimic noises (Phone, oven, microwave, doorbell – you name it) – all influenced by the human environment around them.

  • What kind of Parrot would be considered the most common Parrot that passes through the trust?

Congo African Grey. Amazons are a close second.

  • We understand that you foster a lot of Parrots, what’s the main reason the birds end up in your care?

We have experienced a mix of reasons which range from bereavement of a partner and the resulting lack of time available for the bird to people were duped into a bigger bird by a pet shop without knowing what they were getting into and being harder work than they had anticipated. Another popular reason is getting too old to look after the bird or a new and increasingly common one… The child has gone to university and the parents have little interest in looking after the family pet.

We find that often people aren’t told how long parrots live if fed a healthy diet and kept in optimum conditions. If a couple in their early 30s were to have a child and decide to get a Macaw as the family pet… unless they plan to live until they are in their 110s, there’s a good chance that Macaw will outlive them. It is not uncommon to find Macaws living into their 80s, Cockatoos into their 60s, Congo Greys and Amazons into their 50s etc. This fact continually surprises people and yet unsurprisingly the pet shops never tell them.

  • Has there been any real problem cases where you have struggled to re-home your parrots (JJ is a great example for this one, though I thought you might want to put more input into this one.)

JJ is a good example because he is so bonded to another parrot (Ollie, another Cockatoo) who is cantankerous at best! They are inseparable and has put us in a real bind on how best to place them.

Another perfect example is Ozzie (another Cockatoo unsurprisingly) who is very attention seeking to the point that he attacks other birds who are getting attention and have had to segregate him. We struggle to rehome the cockatoos because they are so demanding and commonly have over-bonding/jealously issues.

A story of success from the Parrot Trust Scotland…

Welcome back to Parrot Trust Scotland’s new feature: Saturday Success Stories!

Here we will share with you one of our fostering/adoption success stories, written by the bird’s adoptive parront(s) themselves. Fourth up is Sparky, a Timneh African Grey:

“I still remember the moment I received the email – I was on my break at work. I was already in the midst of planning to shave my beard to raise money for the charity in memory of our family member, an amazing cockatiel who sadly passed away. The charity was based on Kerrera at that time and whilst we were making comments along the lines of “I wish there was more we could do to help”, it turned out that there was a way to help the charity without leaving our own home. They were in a bind regarding a particular parrot, Sparky, a Timneh African Grey who was suspected of having a rather nasty disease after prolonged exposure to another parrot (a confirmed case). The burden of procedures to protect the other parrots in the vicinity was a labour intensive one and best case scenario for everyone was to find another home without other birds for Sparky to live in a “medical quarantine” of sorts for a few months.

We were welcomed into Sparky’s life with a “hewo” – an adorable attempt at “hello” with a slight slur. Sparky is extremely shy and appears to favour solitude over company of any shape/size/feather/skin. Eighteen months have passed since the princess’s arrival and many laughs have been had ranging from comedy timing to food stealing. She has earned the nickname in this house due to her demeanour and expectations to have her servants perform her every bidding e.g. will patiently wait at a door and look at the servants to open it for her, or simply to turn the lights on for her. I forget why the circumstances arose leading me to ask my flatmate “is it me you’re looking for?”, but Sparky wasted no time in announcing “hewo!” only to look bemused at everyone crying with laughter. There was also the schoolboy error of offering Sparky a thumbnail-sized piece of salmon from my dinner plate, only to have her step onto my plate and pick up my entire fillet and run away with it. She tricked us into thinking she was shy! I for one am just glad that there is someone else in this house who loves fish as much as I do. I am tempted to record the excited begging noises she makes when she sees me with her favourite meal of trout/salmon with sweet potato, parsnips and babycorn fingers!

Sparky has come a long way in these eighteen months – she still won’t step up onto a hand/arm and is not exactly “hand tame”, but instead of quietly cowering away she will now occasionally sit on our knees and play with foot toys. It’s slow progress, but a rewarding one to see how far she has come in this time.

-Iain”