NJMC staffer Jim Wright's column in The South Bergenite today is about the gowing problem of released/escaped pet birds:
First came the powder-blue Parakeet. Then a grayish cockatiel, followed by a saffron finch.
The Meadowlands Commission’s DeKorte Park is known for drawing all sorts of unusual birds, but the one-square-mile park has been attracting the “wrong” kind of bird of late – exotic pet birds that have either escaped from their owners or have been intentionally released.
Either way, the birds face a likely death sentence in the wild.
“I hope that most of the pet birds flying around DeKorte were accidental escapees from their homes — not unwanted victims who were released because owners were too lazy to find them a new home,” says Rose Agrusti, president of North Jersey’s Real Macaw Parrot Club.
“They just don't have a chance of survival in the outside world. They lack the survival skills that wild birds have.”
She says that a bird released in the Meadowlands will attract predatory raptors such as falcons and hawks: “In that case, the released birds could become quick meals.”
“Remember, these birds come from warm households with daily food and water provided. What do they know about looking for food outside during snowy winters or hot summers? Unless they are hardy stock and quick learners, their days are numbered.”
If you have a pet bird that has worn out its welcome, do not release it into the wild at DeKorte – or anywhere else, for that matter. There are bird rescues, sanctuaries, and many clubs such as The Real Macaw Parrot Club that provide options for birds who need a new home.
“Our club gets many calls a week looking for new owners for birds,” says Agrusti. “Some of these birds need new homes because they just can not adapt to the environment and family they are living with, or owners may have died or are moving and cannot take them,” says Agrusti.
“Clubs usually offer the pet-oriented birds for adoption to their members, and if a home is not found from within, a reliable bird rescue is called to pick up the bird and find a home for it.”
According to Agrusti, birds that aren’t tame or pet material usually are sent to a bird sanctuary such as Arcadia Bird Sanctuary in Freehold to live out their days.
Agrusti suggests that if you encounter a released or escaped pet bird to try to catch it. One way is to use food to entice it into a cage. Some may be so hungry that they just come right up to you.
NJMC Communications Officer Jim Wright maintains the Commission’s daily nature blog, meadowblog.net – featuring beautiful photography and the latest info on the region’s natural wonders.