Is your parrot legal in your country/state?

Posted by Parrot Essentials on 13th Apr 2016

Can you legally own your parrot in the country/state you live in?

Quaker parrotThe last time I was asked about legally obtaining a parrot was more than 6 years ago and even then the question was more about the breeder rather than legally owning a parrot.

Jim and Cindy Tome rescued a Quaker parrot and called it Baby Bird. In March 2011, Cindy found a little bird lying on the grass outside the office window. She took the bird in, put it into a box and took it home that night. When she opened the box the bird climbed out on top and they noticed that it was injured. Cindy and Jim put the parrot into a dog crate with some water and wild bird seeds, until they figured¬†out what to do next. Cindy took the bird to a Vet and then carried on nursing it back to health at home. In a few months the wounds have disappeared and the feathers grew back, but they were none the wiser about the bird. The Vet could only tell them it was some kind of a parrot but wasn’t sure what species.

The bird was tame and both Jim and Cindy could handle it. Cindy could spread its wings and do anything to it, which made her think that this bird had to belong to someone. Whilst Baby Bird was recovering from its injury Jim and Cindy scoured the classifieds in the newspapers, Craiglist and forums looking to reunite Baby Bird with its rightful owner. After a few months of unsuccessfully searching for the owners they decided to keep the bird.

Cindy with Baby BirdOver time Baby Bird bonded to Cindy and became very protective of her. They also discovered that he can talk too. This is not very common in Quaker parrots, but this one was a pretty good talker. ¬†It took them nearly a year before they found out that their new friends was a Quaker parrot. This parrot is native to South America and prized highly as pet. They are very social and make for a good companion but are also considered a nuisance. In 1960’s either via escape or intentional release Quaker parrots started forming feral colonies in the eastern United States. They eventually colonised in more than 8 states. Florida alone is believed to have more than 100,000 Quaker parrots.

Because they are considered agricultural pests, they are banned in 10 states as pets.

Baby bird was illegal! Jim and Cindy decided to keep Baby under wraps and continue to look after him. However, last month Baby Bird developed a redness around his eyes and they had to take him to a Vet. On 29 March 2016 two wildlife enforcement officers knocked on their door at 8.30pm and confiscated their beloved pet.

Jim and Cindy were devastated but there was very little they could do to protect Baby Bird. Cindy missed day of work, too upset to go to the office. Jim was and still is, angry.

At present Baby Bird is kept at a wildlife sanctuary in Snyder County, where Quaker parrots are legal and the Tome’s are considering selling their home in Pennsylvania and moving to Maryland, where they can own Baby Bird legally.

So before you decide to rescue, adopt or purchase a parrot, first make sure you can legally keep it in captivity in the place where you live.

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