You’re probably heard of the National Parrot Rescue and Preservation Foundation(NPRPF) Parrot Festival held every January in Houston, Texas. You may have even attended it yourself or know someone who did. What you may not realize is that the NPRPF also rescues, rehabilitates, and rehomes displaced parrots.
The NPRPF began in 1999 with some women who wanted to bring a few speakers together for an educational conference. The first festival was in a tent that year and then migrated to the hotel setting. Almost immediately the women started receiving calls regarding parrots that needed new homes, and the “rescue/re homing” started. It is now a 501 c (3) non-profit organization that is operated solely by volunteers committed to the education of current and prospective parrot owners and parrot-related organizations.
One of the first spokesbird was a scarlet macaw named George. He has an interesting story, according to the group:
“… George was the first spokesbird for NPRPF. Originally from the wilds of the rainforest, he was shot down and left blinded in one eye with a crippled wing. After stays in several different homes, he went to live with [a NPRPF contact] and in 2000 he was offered the spot of spokesbird. He became world famous when featured in the August 2000 BIRD TALK article by Chris Davis. George continued to make an impression on everyone he met, for his spirit shone deep in his eyes. One person even commented “I can see the rainforest in his face.” Sadly, George passed over the rainbow bridge in 2003 but he continues on in our hearts and is a core example of the love for our work. It is this impression we hope to make upon the world with our efforts at NPRPF.
For more than 15 years, NPRPF has hosted the annual Parrot Festival, an event dedicated to educating parrot owners and providing information for everyone interested in sharing their passion for parrots and love of parrots. This annual conference supports the parrots in the care of the NPRPF and helps support other avian organizations in the US and around the world.
This year’s festival will be held January 29 through 31. Scheduled speakers and their topics are:
- Lara Joseph: (The 3 Cs, Choice, Control, and Complexities — How They Impact Behavior)
- Chris Shank (Positive Parrot Training Using a Clicker!)
- Dennis King (Wildlife At Parrot Festival)
- Dr. Donald Brightsmith (From Tree To Cage and Everything In Between — Research On The Conservation And Welfare Of Parrots At Texas A&M)
- Dr. Darrell Styles (Avian Influenza)
- Dr. Natalie Antinoff (Techniques & Technology For Birds)
- Patricia Sund (Chop, a Feeding Concept)
- Dr. Patricia Anderson (Anthropomorphism and the Human-Avian Bond)
- Concetta Ferragamo (Addressing Behavior & Exercise Inside a Cage)
There will be numerous vendors, workshops, a panel discussion, and daily raffles.
The public is welcome to shop with the vendors for a small fee. This year there will also be a grooming clinic for nails and wings. You can find registration information at the website here.
Debbie Goodrich of Parrot Ambassadors, was one of the speakers at a previous Parrot Festival.
Behind The NPRPF
The NPRPF takes in between five to 50 birds a year. The Houston SPCA sends them birds that have been brought in or seized. The NPRPF also works with parrot owners whose birds have behavioral issues since one of their goals is to always keep the bird in the home, whenever possible.
The NPRPF attempts to adopt out all the birds they take in. In some cases, that can take a while; not all the birds that arrive are pets. Each situation is different and each bird is placed according to what is best for that bird. Any birds that are received are placed in foster care while they are assessed both medically and behaviorally. If sanctuary is indicated, a proper sanctuary is found. The group works with several in the Houston area.
In addition to the Parrot Festival and rescue, the NPRPF provides a forum not just for pet bird owners, but also breeders, conservationists, researchers, veterinarians, veterinarian technicians, students, and anyone else interested in parrots. They also have an online member chat group and will soon be providing periodic newsletter for its members.
It’s easy to get involved with the NPRPF. Just e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and tell them how you can help. They need volunteers to help in all aspects of the organization, from helping with membership, raffle donations, advertising for and at the Parrot Festival, computer work, fostering a parrot … the list goes on. If you cannot donate your time they are always in need of monetary donations to cover veterinarian visits, toys, and food costs of fostered birds and birds in sanctuary.
Learn more at their website here.