It? true that when you think of parrots, you probably don? think of North Dakota. Or north anything, really. But maybe you should.
The Center for Avian Adoption, Rescue, and Education (CAARE) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit all-volunteer corporation serving roughly a 200-mile radius of Fargo, North Dakota. Besides working with volunteers in their area, they also network extensively with other groups to find good adoptive homes for ?and sometimes intake of ?parrots.
CAARE grew from a parrot lovers group called the Red River Valley Pet Bird Club. In 2002, the members changed the organization? focus to that of shelter, education about, and rehoming of companion parrots. The group changed the organization? name to coincide with their mission, and the IRS granted federal tax-exempt status in 2006.
Up until 2009, the organization held monthly educational meetings in whatever public spaces they could find. They rented a storage unit for cages, food, toys and other supplies. Incoming parrots were placed into foster care in members?homes until adoptions could be completed. In 2009, CAARE found a permanent location.
Lois Novacek, president of the shelter, explained, “Having the parrots and supplies in one location is the best for potential adopters, who prefer to visit the shelter and see all of the available parrots at once. In addition, a central location aids our members and volunteers who wish to help in whatever manner they are able. While there are volunteers who provide care on a daily basis, there are others who prefer to just stop in and enjoy the parrots, sometimes bringing along special treats. Some volunteers who are especially knowledgeable about specific species such as macaws, cockatoos, quakers or conures will take those species into their homes or stop in to work with the parrots on such things as diet, stepping up, biting, fear, plucking, mutilation, etc. It is those volunteers who are the go-to persons for pre-adoption or post-adoption questions that may arise.?lt;/span>
Along with the shelter operation and in order to help fund the shelter, CAARE operates an on-site avian warehouse/store for retail sales of parrot foods, cages, toys and other supplies to the public. Additional operating funds are generated by adoption fees, silent auctions, sporadic donations, and small grants.
In addition to sheltering and rehoming, an important component of CAARE? focus is educating the public about parrots. CAARE accepts invitations to speak at local venues such as schools, libraries and pet adoption events, so as to enlighten people as to the plight of wild parrots and the proper care of captive companion parrots.
In the past, CAARE hosted a seminar on parrot care that was attended by veterinarians, vet techs and more.
In the past, CAARE hosted a two-day seminar concerning parrot care at North Dakota State University, which was attended by veterinarians, vet technicians, and others interested from as far away as Winnipeg, Manitoba, and Minneapolis, Minnesota. CAARE is looking into hosting a similar event in the future.
This summer, CAARE will be attending local community celebrations and having a table or booth staffed by volunteers, complete with educational materials and parrots (depending on the current local state of avian flu). The shelter also attends local pet adoption events as volunteers are available. “However,?Novacek added, “the most important education CAARE provides is to current and prospective adoptive parrot caretakers about what they have gotten into, or about what they are about to get into, with no sugar coating.?lt;/span>
Novacek noted that CAARE “is always looking for people wishing to volunteer in whatever capacity they have to offer.?She said that it is difficult to have enough volunteers during the summer because there are only a few months available to enjoy warm weather until cold weather sets in once again.
Because of the long winters and limited opportunity for parrots to enjoy the outdoors, the shelter does not keep parrots requiring sanctuary placement. Although it does not happen often, if a parrot is deemed to not be a companion parrot, arrangements are made for sanctuary placement.
It is unfortunate but likely the organization will need to put a moratorium on intakes because growth is exceeding the available amount of shelter space. Approximately 100 parrots were placed in 2014, and the rescue is expected to exceed that number this year.
CAARE’s large bird room.
CAARE has a public Facebook Page called Caare Nd. Their website at www.caare.net has contact information, a donation button, and contains other information such as parrots that are available for adoption, past adoptions, and volunteer schedules. An adoption application is required for a potential adoption, as well as a pre-adoption home visit. CAARE generally does not ship parrots.
You can become a member of CAARE by submitting a membership application and paying the annual dues. Once accepted, you will have access to the private Facebook group for volunteers and members, and other benefits including, but not limited to, discounts in their retail store. You?l also be making the north just a little bit warmer.
Want to learn about other shelters and rescue organizations? Then check out these!