Felix, African Grey Rescue Parrot.

How a Rescue Parrot Sees their Rescue

How a Rescue Parrot Sees their Rescue

After 19 1/2 years with Harry, I found myself in a cage, alone. Harry wasn't acting right. He was always tired, and he sometimes forgot to feed me. So, one day, when Harry wasn't thinking about me, they showed up. They called him dad and they called me bird. And they put me in a cage I didn't know and took me to a place I didn't know and left me with people I did not know. 

But I knew I didn't like any of it. This place was loud. My home with Harry wasn't loud. This place had loud people and unhappy animals making loud sounds. My home with Harry didn't have other people or unhappy animals. Harry was a good guy. This place smelled wrong, and sounded wrong, and all anyone asked was "how much?" and "does he talk?" Annoying. Those are the wrong questions!

I have questions, but no one is listening to me. I now have a bowl full of seeds and a water bowl full of water from a sink. It's nasty and wrong. This is all wrong and I hate it.

So, there I am in a cage I don't know stuck between two birds in cages they don't seem to know either. I don't know what is going to happen. And we are stuck in front of a door that is opening and closing a lot and it is cold. I hate it here. I hate it so much I turn around and give everybody my back. I refuse to turn around. The cockatoo to my right wing is naked and jumping up and down every time somebody looks at him. I try to tell him to ignore all these people and their faces and their yells and their questions and their fingers poking in the cage. But he won't listen. He's so upset, he's lost. The bird to my left wing is old. He's an old Military Macaw. I can tell he's been through all this before. He barely looks at me or anyone else. And so it goes all day. My cage is so short I just see belts and bellies and purses and hands. I can't see faces to tell who and what they want. I refuse to look up. I won't. Neither will the cockatoo or the macaw. We all decide not to look. Noise, hands, cold.

The first day of people poking inside the cage I hate, and people upsetting the cockatoo that won't listen to me, and people talking to the macaw that won't listen to them ends. I hate this place and I hate this cage. I turn my back to it all. I do not know what is going to happen.

It's dark, it's bedtime. Where's my real cage? Where's my real dinner? Where's my real roost? Where is Harry? The lights go out. We are alone except the other animals. No one said good night. No one said goodbye. No one said see you later. They just left us. I do not know what is going to happen. I can't sleep much. It's not dark. There are lights flashing from cars outside on the fast-moving street. The cockatoo is rocking a lot. He can't perch still. I don't blame him.

Some time I must have fallen asleep because I woke up to hands in the cage, I hate putting more seeds in my dish. I'm hungry, but I'm not eating that. I can't eat any of that. And so, the day goes like the day before. People, cold, loud, people poking my cage, the cockatoo jumping. I turn my back to it all. And then it gets worse. So many people start coming in with dogs on leashes, I can't see anywhere. My cage is blocked by so many people and dogs! Dogs sniffing the cage I hate and looking at me with dog eyes. I'm stuck! I'm trapped. It's louder, it's faster, it smells, the dogs are everywhere. The people and dogs make a line out the door and the door stays open. We are all cold now, and we can't get warm because the line of people and dogs. I turn my back on all of this and close my eyes. I don't remember making a wish, but I suppose I must have, because when I opened my eyes, I heard a voice behind me.

"Hey buddy, what's your name?" Now that was a nice voice, with a proper question! I didn't turn around. I didn't want him to leave. He didn't sound like Harry, but he sounded nice like Harry.

"It's okay, I won't leave just yet. You must really hate it here. It's so cold!" And so, this voice kept saying really nice things and never asked questions. He just said things I was thinking and what I worried about, which was nice. I wasn't alone. I was going to turn around and take the chance of this nice guy disappearing when another voice showed up.

"Aw!" It was a girl voice. I knew that much. "What's his name? He has his back to you, he seems upset."

The nice not Harry voice answered her. "Poor guy, he is really upset. Let me talk with him a while."

"Of course." she said. "I'll stay with you, let's move these people away from his cage. This is ridiculous."

I turned around to find mom and dad making people move away! Oh yes, I knew he was my new dad, I knew that after he asked my name. And since they came as a pair, well that's a 2fer deal!  So, mom stood in front of the cage I hated and told people I was theirs and they needed to stand somewhere else. And dad and I talked.

Dad opened the cage I hated and asked if I wanted to step up. How polite and kind. Yes, yes, I would! So, I perched on dad's warm hand, and we talked some more. Mom kept telling people to stand somewhere else with their dogs.

I asked to step on mom. Sometimes you have to take chances to get what you need. So, I stuck my foot right out and up and waited for her to get the gist. She did pretty quick, too! So, I perched on mom's warm hand, and we talked. Dad left to talk to some guy, I saw him talking to that guy pointing at me and the cage I hate. Some boy walked up to mom while I was watching dad and tried to get me. I ran up to mom's shoulder and looked down at him. That boy said, "Can I hold that bird?"

Mom said, "This is my companion parrot, no you can't touch him." I finally knew what was going to happen!

Dad came back and said, "Ready to go home, Franklin?" I have to forgive him that name. My name isn't Franklin. That guy he talked to made that up. But that's okay. I can train mom and dad at home.

Kathy LaFollett is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.


  • Love your stories from the parrots perspective💚
    I read a lot before looking to adopt my 2nd…looked for size I was comfortable with…“they are more comfortable with who communicates simply, reads their body language, respects & gives choices”. One picked me & is still my sweet boy.
    I continue to advocate for adoption.

    Lorraine on

  • Thank you for writing this. Thank you for writing everything you write. You have a magic with words and the way you give them homes next to each other and uncover the inner world of emotions, kindness, and trust. And thanks for Felix’s story. I loved hearing how his new life began.

    klowey on

  • To Leslie T. There is a parrot rescue in Rhode Island. They have had people come from all over the country to adopt. They vet all potential adopters. You can find their website at RI Parrot Rescue, which displays the birds. I’m interested in Malibu and go Friday for the first people meeting and facility tour.

    Tm on

  • Would love to adopt..I’m good with yellow heads or Africans

    Gloria on

  • Would love to adopt..I’m good with yellow heads or Africans

    Gloria on

  • My daughter gave my umbrella cockatoo away last year because I was not suppose to live but I did
    I live in San Antonio please help me find him He is my life Haver and I love him so much 210-843-0035

    Sandra Foust on

  • I live in Orlando, Fl. I orginally was going to purchase a bird but than someone suggested that I go thru parrot rescue but no one returns my calls. Any suggestions?

    Leslie Tischler on

  • Very sad but Happy for (Franklin) Felix, wish I could have helped the other babies 🥰

    Mary Summers Culver on

  • You caught him perfectly. My eyey are leaking.

    Nancy Steinke on

  • I cried the whole time reading this.I think you should have rescued the other two birds too. They would have been good friends for Felix. I felt so sorry for them. I have fallen in love with birds that I wanted to take home with me but the breeder wanted too much money and would not let me pay it out. The bird really wanted to stay with me and screamed and tried to hold on to me with all his strength. I had been holding him all day. He loved me but the owner cared more about money than what the bird and I felt for each other. Another time I wanted to rescue a bird but was told he bites. This bird never tried to bite me and I spent time talking to him and trying to pet him through the bars. This bird probably tried to bite this person because he was unhappy and did not like them nor his small cage. I think people need to trust the feelings of the bird more. The bird’s feelings are worth more than money . Also birds really do pick the people they want to be with.

    Lois Epstein on

  • I tear up every time I read Felix’s story…oh what wisdom we would glean if we stopped long enough to see the world through their eyes…

    Susan Friend on

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