Dear members, sponsors, and the general public :
It has been quite a year so far. I’ll start with the positive things to report. This past quarter we were successful in transferring three special-needs parrots, all with mutilation and feather destructive behavior, to the Macaw and Cockatoo Rescue of New Mexico, a rescue that specializes in working with parrots that suffer from these problems. Over the past couple of weeks, Anna, the director, has updated me with great news that all three have stopped the behavior and are responding well so far to her approach. Bam Bam, an umbrella cockatoo who has been on Xanax for several years, is now off the medication and showing no signs of feather destructive behavior. PEAC is so thankful to Anna for opening her rescue to working with us on placing these special-needs parrots.
We also rescued four macaws from the Pasadena area and relinquished them to a rescue in Arizona, and from what we have heard, all four are responding well to treatment for infections in their beaks and crops caused most likely by the environment they were kept in and the poor diet they had been eating for years.
I would also like to mention the Olive Branch Parrot Rescue. We received a call this past quarter that a couple of parrots needed to be relinquished, and at the time, we did not have an opening, so we reached out to Sean, Olive Branch’s director, and he was able to take these parrots in. Also this last quarter, there was a gentleman wanting to adopt a third Eclectus parrot to add to his flock. At the time he contacted PEAC, we had no Eclectus in our foster program; however, Olive Branch did, so we put him in contact with them, and I am happy to report that he adopted one of their female Eclectus parrots.
Just this past week we worked with a member of Mickaboo parrot rescue, which is located in the San Francisco Bay area, by completing an adoption for Georgie, a Mealy Amazon in our foster program. This person had successfully completed the adoption requirements set forth by Mickaboo and was also approved to foster for them after having a home visit made by a volunteer of their organization. Mickaboo holds the same standards and policies that PEAC does, so our adoption committee and I are excited when someone who is affiliated with them is interested in a particular parrot that we have in our foster flock and we can complete an adoption this way.
It is with the joint cooperation of PEAC with these rescues, and hopefully others, that we work at finding a solution to the problem of companion parrot overpopulation. We have set up strict requirements that another rescue must meet and prove prior to us entering into any joint efforts. Once we both are in agreement with policies and procedures, we are very open to working together. Sometimes PEAC is not able to provide space for a particular parrot, and by having a network of other rescues we work with, the odds are, we will find a group that is able to provide for that parrot.
We are very grateful to have been chosen as the Non-Profit Animal Rescue to receive donations from the San Diego County Library Summer Reading Program. This program, which is a joint effort between the Dept. of Animal Services and the library system, is providing donations in the way of toys and microchips to PEAC for all the books that the children read over summer break. We have put the toys to good use, as they all went to our foster parrots, and we are working with two local avian vets to implant a chip in each newly arrived foster parrot to our program. We’d like to give a big thank you to both the County Library System and DAS for recognizing the work we do in the Southern CA area.
This last quarter, PEAC has successfully submitted two large grants. One was to the Bissell Foundation, and the other was to the Thursdays Club, located in Point Loma. Both grants asked for the same amounts, which will be used to purchase 1000 copies of a fantastic parrot information coloring book for children under the age of 12, and for six new stainless steel cages for our foster program. We are very hopeful that one or both will be funded, which will be a first for PEAC. Several other grants are available at different times of the year, and we will continue to look for other ways to cover capital expenditures that PEAC is in need of making in the coming years.
I would like to preface my final remarks for this newsletter by reporting some statistics for the first half of 2015. We have taken an estimated 300 phone calls. 25% of these calls were from people asking for information on our adoption procedures and for information on a particular parrot that they are interested in adopting. 5% were calls about general operating questions; and the remaining 70% were calls asking for information on how to relinquish a parrot to our organization. That means that we were contacted about almost 210 parrots in need of finding a new home in the first half of 2015. Some have been calls for budgies and cockatiels, which we do not currently work with. Others are determined, for a variety of reasons, to be not a good fit for our foster program. Sometimes, the parrot is located closer to another rescue, so we refer the caller to an organization that is closer to them. However, that still leaves a staggering number of parrots that are looking for a safe place to be relinquished to. We have implemented a two-part relinquishment process this year. First, the owner is asked to fill out a questionnaire so that we may review any concerns or obvious causes of a particular behavior that may have led the owner to look at relinquishing their parrot. Second, we require an intake interview of the parrot, so that one of our trained volunteers may report any concerns they may have regarding whether or not PEAC is capable of providing the necessary care that this particular parrot may need. If both of these things point to a good chance that PEAC will be able to adopt this parrot to a qualified new home, and if we have a spot available, we will then take the parrot in. If we do not have a spot, we will place the parrot on our wait list and provide them with other rescues to contact (although almost every rescue that PEAC currently partners with is full the majority of the time). We are limited to the number we can take in at any given time, as there are only so many foster homes in our organization and I will not allow PEAC to become a warehouse for unwanted parrots, as that does not give the bird what PEAC teaches is necessary for a parrot to be healthy and happy. Also, we do take in some birds who need some measure of behavioral rehabilitation, and no foster home can provide this appropriately if overwhelmed with too many foster birds.
This brings me to the financial situation PEAC is facing this year. We have consumed all the funds that we raised during our annual year-end fundraiser in conjunction with Globalgiving. We have had several parrots that have come to us with significant health issues. Santiago (“Surfer”) required radiographs and multiple blood tests due to his age and the severe arthritis and arterial sclerosis he came to us with. Yoshi developed an abscess on his face which required lancing and flushing twice and intensive at-home followup care. Another amazing rescue we have had this quarter is Beanie, a lilac-crowned Amazon. She came to us on death’s door with what was the most advanced sinus infection I have ever seen. Her eyes we dull, her nares were completely closed with what seemed to be mucous plugs, her feathers were not well preened, and she had no strength. Immediately after being surrendered to PEAC, she was rushed to the vet. With a combination of excellent veterinary care (several visits), and the love and dedication of her foster volunteer, she has pulled through with a complete recovery. She is now a bright and beautiful parrot who is patiently waiting for that special person to come and adopt her.
Not only do new arrivals to our foster program go through a full physical exam and blood chemistries, but many of the parrots in our foster program stay with us for over a year, and this means yearly veterinary exams for those that are still under our care. 90% of our operating budget goes to veterinary care, leaving very little for educational outreach, which is the only way we may find a solution to the overpopulation issue we are dealing with every day (U.S. Fish and Wildlife estimates that 2.5 million are hatched in the U.S. annually; and by 2020, 100 million companion parrots will be kept in the United States alone).
In order to continue to take in relinquished parrots for the remainder of 2015, we are launching our first summer mail-in fundraiser. You will soon be receiving a letter, Beanie’s full story, and a donation card with a self-addressed stamped envelope to return with your donation to PEAC. I wish there were a way that we could avoid once again turning to our members and asking for financial support, but without your donation PEAC will not be able to continue the necessary work we do. Any donation you make will go directly to the care the foster parrots require. On average, we have 20-30 parrots in our program at any given time. We work very hard to keep costs down by accepting donations such as printing costs, cages, and various items that are for parrot care; and although we do receive a significant deduction from local avian vets, our veterinary costs are staggering, as we spend thousands of dollars each year on the care our foster flock requires. Every dollar counts, so please keep an eye out for our mailing and kindly return your pledge card with your donation as soon as possible. The fundraiser will be running until the end of the summer and will conclude on or around Labor Day.
At this time I would like to thank Trade International Group/Graphics and Print Management, owned and operated by the Theim family, who have so kindly not only adopted Santiago, but have donated hundreds of copies of our ABC and general information brochures and business cards, and have also stepped forward to donate all the printed material for our mail-in fundraiser. This is over 1000 pieces of printed material, along with the mailing labels, and they will deliver them folded and ready for the stuffing of envelopes.
I am hopeful that in the next newsletter I will be able to report the success of our fundraiser and how we are able to continue providing a place of refuge for parrots in need of new homes. Thank you all for your support and help, and please enjoy this issue of our quarterly newsletter.