Animal Writes
From 25 January 2004 Issue

Your Help Needed for Study
on Parrot Relinquishment

If you have ever given away, surrendered, re-homed, fostered, or adopted out a bird in the parrot family (including parakeets, cockatiels, and lovebirds), the National Parrot Relinquishment Research Project (NPRRP) needs your help.

The NPRRP is gathering data to develop a better understanding of the scope and causes of captive bird relinquishment. You can participate in the Project through an online questionnaire at

Each year, thousands of parrots from parakeets to macaws are sold to individuals who later decide that a bird is not compatible in their home or with their lifestyle and who relinquish their bird(s) to a shelter, rescue, pet shop, zoo, breeding facility, or private individual.

More than 90 self-described bird rescues or sanctuaries currently exist in the United States, many of which have come into existence in just the last few years. Due to the large number of birds in need, most rescues or sanctuaries are unable to accept every bird they are offered. Despite the abundance of unwanted birds, pet stores that have policies against the sale of dogs and cats and continue to sell birds.

Some pet store officials cite the lack of hard data on the numbers and reasons for bird relinquishment, and fail to take responsibility for their role in the fate of unwanted, neglected, and abused captive birds. The goal of the National Parrot Relinquishment Research Project is to collect objective data about parrot relinquishment. This data will be useful in evaluating the current parrot relinquishment issue, identifying causes, and formulating solutions.

In addition, PETsMART Inc. has indicated that it will use the data provided through the NPRRP survey to revisit its policies about the sale of birds in its stores. The NPRRP is sponsored by PETsMART Charities through a grant to The Gabriel Foundation (an avian rescue organization), and is being directed by Dr. Cheryl Meehan, who holds a PhD in animal behavior from the University of California, Davis.

Dr. Meehan is assisted in this project by a small staff and an advisory board made up of representatives from the aviculture, rescue, and education communities, including the Animal Protection Institute (

Once again, if you have ever given up an exotic bird kept as a companion or if you have taken in exotic birds from individuals who could no longer care for them, please visit the National Parrot Relinquishment Research Project website and complete a survey questionnaire at The surveys will be available online until March 2004.

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