The macaw area in the Iowa Parrot Rescue’s shelter building. There are 30 macaws in their care, and most are either never caged or out-of-cage all day.
Sometimes it? the really small things that make the biggest difference in a life. For example, someone gave Abi Hutchison a canary. Someone else saw the canary and said, “Oh, you have a bird! Will you take mine??
Six months later, there were nine parrots in the house.
“At that point we had to decide whether to stop taking in birds or turn into a rescue (or become hoarders),?said Mike Hutchison, Abi? husband, of the Iowa Parrot Rescue. “We had a big old house and all of our children had grown up and moved out, so there was some space. We incorporated, got our 501c3, and the next year we received a donation to build a facility.?lt;/span>
The Iowa Parrot Rescue provides care for parrots that have had to leave their previous homes. Most are placed for adoption. It is a non-profit no-kill shelter offering sanctuary, adoption and rehabilitation for parrots from conures to macaws. It is entirely unaffiliated with any organization, business, or agency, and never charges any fees for its services.
“During the recession of 2008-12 we were taking in about a hundred parrots a year. It? been running closer to 80 the last couple of years,?Hutchison said.
Iowa Parrot Rescue encourages birds who come to the rescue alone to find a friend. Pirate, orange-winged Amazon parrot, was a solo parrot for all of his 65 years until he met and teamed up with Bogey, a double yellow-headed Amazon parrot.
“We usually place about as many as we take in, so anywhere from 80 to 100 per year are adopted out,?Hutchinson continued. “Our process is based on finding the right home for each bird, so we require interviews and home visits, with the bird having the final say. There are no adoption fees.?lt;/span>
No fees? The rescue does sell t-shirts and coffee mugs, and it offers boarding when there is space. Hutchinson said most of the rescue? money comes from donations, about 90 percent most years.
Hutchison agrees there are challenges the Iowa Parrot Rescue faces in the changing bird community. “In the short term, the biggest issue is returned adoptions. We’ve been doing this almost 20 years, and people who adopted are aging, lives are changing, and birds we placed need to come back. This is provided for in our adoption contract.
“In the longer term, the main question is continuity. Nobody is immortal, and some time I’ll have to quit doing this,?Hutchison said. “The facility and all of the legal and physical structures are in place; the land is leased to the corporation, the building and contents belong to the corporation, all of the accounts are in the corporation’s name. But there will have to be someone to run it on a day-to-day basis ?be here every day and know how to make everything work. Finding a person who can and will do that is the biggest problem we face.?lt;/span>
Hutchison wants help wherever they can. “We attend bird fairs within our range, like the Mid-American Cage Bird Society in Des Moines. We go to club meetings to speak,?Hutchinson said. “We take birds out to reading programs, schools, and other functions. We want to expose people to birds as companions, while educating them about caring for birds properly.?lt;/span>
The rescue is constantly experimenting with environmental arrangements for the birds: ways for them to live cage-free, new things for them to do and ways to feed.
The Iowa Parrot Rescue host tours for individuals or groups who want to learn about parrot care. It offers online and in-house learning materials on toy making and play area construction. It also serves as a site for hands-on experience for vet tech classes from Muscatine Community College.
The rescue? website has pages on health, toys and play areas. It also has an active blog on Facebook where the ongoing news and events are discussed.
The Iowa Parrot Rescue? website has pages on how to arrange a visit, how to volunteer and how to donate. They are always looking for volunteers.