Bird adoption, sanctuary, rescue, and care education services for parrots and other captive exotic 'pet' birds. Based in Minneapolis - St. Paul (Twin Cities) area of Minnesota and serving Midwest.



1360 University Ave W #347  St. Paul, MN 55104  

Phone: (651) 275-0568  Fax: (651) 275-0457  


  Captive Bird Rescue, Adoption, Sanctuary & Care Education Gimme Shelter! 


Home > Help Us > Gimme Shelter! > Issue 2: September 2003

Gimme Shelter!Gimme Shelter!

Issue 2: September 2003

Many thanks to all of you who responded to our first Gimme Shelter! mailing earlier this month with a generous donation to MAARS! We are continuing this fundraising drive in order to give you all a chance to help us provide food, veterinary care, toys, and shelter for the abused, neglected, unwanted, or otherwise displaced birds awaiting adoption or living in sanctuary at The Landing.

Top 10 Reasons Birds Are Surrendered to MAARS

Each year, millions of exotic birds are sold into the pet trade in the United States and abroad. Unlike dogs and cats, however, parrots are not "domesticated" animals, meaning they have not evolved over many generations through human or natural selection for traits that make them compatible with a human lifestyle. While their beauty and intelligence can make them attractive, their natural, wild behaviors and longevity virtually ensure that an individual bird will be displaced at least once — if not multiple times — during his or her lifetime.

Even with the best of intentions, normal parrot behaviors and human lifestyles are often incompatible over time. The normal landmark events in people's lives often leave Polly in the lurch. In ascending order, these are the top ten reasons people surrender their birds to MAARS:




Veterinary Bills: Parrots are expensive to purchase, house, feed, and entertain, and an expensive health problem is often enough to break the bank. Behavioral problems such as feather-picking and self-mutilation can also become expensive, frustrating, and time-consuming to treat.




Divorce: The end of a marriage is usually stressful, both emotionally and financially. In many cases, both parties will move to rented apartments or to the homes of relatives, which may not allow parrots. The emotional stress of the situation may make a demanding animal like a parrot too much to handle.




Death: Parrots — especially the larger species — can live 50–100 years and can therefore easily outlive their caregivers. When another family member does not want the bird, MAARS may get the call. We offer an estate plan for people who wish to provide for MAARS' care of their birds in their wills.




Too Many Birds: Because there are so many species and mutations available, some people find it tempting to "collect" parrots and other birds. Breeders can also get in over their heads very quickly when they produce more babies than they can sell, or the birds they have sold are returned to them for one of the reasons on this list. Some well-intentioned, but ill-equipped individuals attempt to take in unwanted birds, but turn into hoarders who can't care for all of their animals. MAARS takes in birds both from individuals who surrender them willingly or from situations where birds are confiscated by law enforcement agencies.




Retirement: People's lives can change dramatically when they retire, and a demanding parrot can get in the way of plans to travel, volunteer, or spend more time with grandchildren.




Illness or Allergies: The presence of a bird in the home can easily become too much to bear when a person is suffering from a long-term illness and doesn't have the energy to provide proper care. When the bird is actually the cause of the illness, as in the case of allergies or some other medical conditions, then there is often little else that can be done short of removing the bird from the home.




Bird is Aggressive or Loud: Parrots evolved to live in large flocks and use their voices to communicate with mates, offspring, and other flock members over great distances. They are also incredibly intelligent, pair-oriented animals who can become dangerously aggressive when they feel their mates or territories are being threatened. As prey animals, they have no other option than to fight back when they feel cornered and cannot escape — such as when they are trapped by the inability to fly caused by the clipping of wing feathers to "tame" the bird. Unfortunately, most people don't do enough research on the true nature of parrots before they bring one home and may not be able to tolerate a bird's natural or stress-induced vocalizations or behaviors.




Moving: Moving to a new home can be confusing, frustrating, and tiring, and many people don't want the added hassle of caring for a demanding parrot during this time. In addition, many people can't — or simply won't — limit their rental housing search to buildings that allow parrots. In these cases, the human family gets a new home, but the bird is left homeless.




Bird Doesn't Like a Family Member, or Vice Versa: As an intelligent animal who is programmed to live in a monogamous, bonded pair within the structure of an extended flock, a parrot can become highly possessive of one family member and highly aggressive toward others that he/she feels may threaten this bond. When a new boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, child, elderly parent, roommate, pet, or other resident moves into a home with a parrot, the bird's behavior and care demands may become intolerable. In addition, some people simply do not like living with parrots and many parrot caretakers will choose to give up the bird for the sake of the human relationship.




New Baby: The birth or adoption of a new human baby is a highly stressful time under the best of circumstances. Since caring for a parrot properly is time-consuming and expensive — the equivalent of caring for a "special needs" child — it is often too much stress for a couple or individual to bear when an even more demanding being enters their lives. If the parrot also reacts aggressively or self-destructively to the addition to the family, then it is almost certainly doomed to being displaced.

MAARS Needs Your Help NOW!

Since the spring of 1999, MAARS has cared for approximately 1,200 birds and currently takes in an average of more than one bird each day, many of whom have never been out of their cages. Sixty Volunteer staff working twelve shifts per week tend to the daily needs of approximately 240 birds at our Minneapolis/St. Paul area facility, The Landing, providing safe, clean housing, veterinary care, a nutritious diet, and environmental enrichment. On average, it costs MAARS $1.00 per bird per day to meet these basic care requirements and run the organization.

You Can Help Birds Like…


Evita and Miguel - Cuban Conures (Photo © 2003 Tina McCormick)

Evita & Miguel

Evita & Miguel are wild-caught Cuban Conures. They were transported to The Landing by a MAARS Volunteer in May 2002. When they arrived, both of them were in very poor feather — most likely the result of a nutritionally insufficient diet. They had also spent many years in small cages and were not physically strong. The decision was made to keep Evita & Miguel at The Landing until their health and strength improved. [More…]



Cosmo - Blue and Gold Macaw (Photo © 2003 Tina McCormick)


Cosmo is a four-year-old Blue and Gold Macaw who arrived at The Landing in June 2003 missing most of his feathers. He had been destroying his feathers by chewing through the shaft close to the skin since he was less than a year old. He had no tail, no flight feathers, and only a few feathers on his back, breast, abdomen, and legs. We have worked with many, many featherless birds and had little hope that Cosmo would ever recover from this behavior. [More…]



Mom and Dad - Peach-faced Lovebirds (Photo © 2003 Tina McCormick)

Mom & Dad

Mom & Dad are a bonded pair of Peach-faced Lovebirds who arrived at The Landing in March 2002 after a rural Minnesota humane society placed an emergency phone call to MAARS. Mom & Dad had been adopted through the humane society and were returned with two chicks in their nestbox! Mom & Dad were doing a fine job of raising their chicks — and were fiercely protective of them — but the humane society was concerned that the chicks would not thrive without knowledgeable care. [More…]



Budd - Patagonian Conure (Photo © 2003 Tina McCormick)


Budd, a Patagonian Conure, was surrendered to MAARS in June 2002 when his guardian of ten years, a career military man, was being frequently relocated out of state and overseas in the aftermath of 9/11 and the war in Afghanistan. Budd had spent many months with his guardian's mother prior to coming to MAARS and had relapsed into feather-picking behaviors during this time. [More…]


Join the MAARS Flock Today…and Be the Wind Beneath Their Wings!

The MAARS Annual Membership Program gives you and our other loyal MAARS Supporting Flock Members the opportunity to help MAARS on an ongoing, sustaining basis. Your annual financial contribution will allow us to continue to provide and expand our valuable rescue, intake, care, veterinary and behavioral evaluation and treatment, adoption, sanctuary, outreach, and educational services for the displaced captive birds who we meet and the people whose lives they touch.

With so little, you can do so much to change the lives of birds like Evita & Miguel, Cosmo, Mom & Dad, and Budd. On average, it takes $1.00 per day to care for each MAARS bird. Every small donation makes a big difference, and big donations help even more. Your participation in the MAARS Annual Membership Program will help save and improve the lives of hundreds of parrots and other displaced captive birds.

Join MAARS today! Give them shelter! Ease their pain! Stop the cycle! And know that you made one corner of the world a better place for another living creature!

Mail Your Membership Donation

Mail a check or money order made out to "MAARS" to: MAARS, 1360 University Ave W #347, St. Paul, MN 55104.

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MAARS accepts Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, checks, money orders, and PayPal through our online MAARStore.

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Click here for more information on the MAARS Annual Membership Program!


Midwest Avian Adoption & Rescue Services, Inc., is recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization (Federal ID# 41-1944074) and is registered with the Office of the Secretary of State and the Office of the Attorney General of Minnesota as a charitable organization. All donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.

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