A bridge over the river of suffering
A message from our executive director
When working with rescue parrots you see many things: suffering, neurosis and psychosis. Often I see eyes darkened by futility. They have given up. They have reached the point where they would rather die than continue living. Life has become a living hell where the one that they wanted to love has turned into a demon. Because of that demon they become raving, screaming creatures that would do anything to make the pain stop. There is nowhere to turn; they live in a nightmare world.
This is how most people come to us. As rescuers, we naturally take the first paragraph to mean the suffering of birds. No, I am not talking about a parrot being relinquished. I am describing many of the people who turn over their birds to us. Often they are close to mental breakdown. They never dreamt that the sweet-looking, cuddly cockatoo they brought home would turn them into awful, spiteful people who throw things at cages and yell “stop it” at the top of their voices. Often they have abandoned the bird to its cage because they are afraid of another bite. Many times they cover the cage to stop the incessant screaming. Most of them would feel contempt for someone who mistreated a dog. In truth, I think most of them feel contempt for themselves. They hate what they have become.
See our latest Cockatude video podcasts. Here is what one viewer had to say:
Finding the Chloe Sanctuary and Cockatude has been a life-changing experience for us. Buddy and I started intensive training just over 30 days ago. I’ve called our journey ‘The 30 Day Cockatude Challenge’.
In just 30 days, Buddy:
1. Learned to fly. He just needed some encouragement and confidence. He’s not keen about it yet.
2. Stopped tearing up the newspaper on the bottom of his cage from day 1. I think it was because he was no longer bored.
3. Toilet trained himself. No skill on my part – I just made a fuss about his ‘beautiful’ poo. Now, he only poos on the single sheet of newspaper at the bottom of his cage, or on a perch tray. No accidents for more than a week.
4. Learned to use, sit, and stay on the training stool, even if I left the room.
5. Learned to perform a behaviour in return for a reward of his favourite food.
6. Learned to wave, with his right foot. It took ten days from scratch. Positive reinforcement and an extinction burst.
7. Learned to lift each wing for inspection (although he won’t stretch them right out yet).
8. Had his toenails clipped at home, by me. I never thought I would be able to do this.
9. Buddy learned to say my name (Brad). Probably picked it up from Rose. He doesn’t call me by name – it’s just mixed in with his prattling.
10. Learned to ask for a ‘cuppa tea’ (anytime he sees my cup). Discovered that he loves tea – it’s his favourite treat. Might drives us nuts after a while! I’m a coffee person, and he’s not allowed any. Those days are over.
11. Reduced screeching to almost none. Still has a screech about an hour before sunset – as is usual for his species. That’s okay. We encourage all other noises.
12. Continued training during a molt with no unexplained bad behavior. (But don’t touch the blood feathers!)
13. Learned to climb down and hang on the cage door to be let out (loves swinging on the door). Will perform this behaviour with the prompt ‘Do you wanna come out?’
14. Broke a bad habit of climbing straight out of the cage as soon as the door was opened. Broke some other bad habits, and banned some games which were going to lead to trouble.
He really did do all this in just 30 days. I don’t blame you if you find that hard to believe. I wouldn’t have believed it. But there are many witnesses, including Don, who helped and encouraged us the whole way through. — Brad Lemon
I would like to gush on, and on, but I’ll just let the list speak for itself. I can’t think of any way to repay Don and the Chloe Sanctuary for the critical things I’ve learned. I’m a patron, but it doesn’t seem enough.
To anyone who is struggling – please watch the latest episode, and then work backwards through the series. Learn Cecil’s cockatoo song – it’s been a great redirection technique for us. The bird we found 3 years ago was lunging and biting. You will do it!
Do you want to know more about us? Click the link below for a two minute presentation.
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The Chloe Sanctuary is a scientifically based environment where abused and damaged parrots and cockatoos are healed and given sanctuary, volunteers and caretakers are trained, and the public made aware of these exceptional creatures. Using hands-on education and lectures, seminars and events, we share our knowledge and love for these wild animals.
We use donated funds primarily for veterinary exams or critical procedures, medicine, food (we provide high quality pellets and homemade vegetable, fruit, and grain mash), enrichment items, cages, perches, and flight harnesses.
The cost alone for food for one bird runs about $35 a month. At the moment feeding costs are running us about $450 a month. Veterinary bills average around $3000 to $5000 a year. Avian’s are expensive to vet: an intake exam with all the proper tests runs about $300. Our freestanding perches are in need of replacement and we have cages in need of repair. We make our own enrichment items and that saves us a great deal on toys, which are essential for their mental well-being. A toy that costs $20 in the store we can make for about $2.50. Even with that savings toys for a single bird cost about $20 a month.
Your donation will help us to give proper medical care, food and enrichment items for those in need as we heal their spirits and prepare them for a life among humans.