NEAR does not charge adoption fees. We do accept donations, but a donation is not required. It is important to note however that the adoption process IS NOT "free."
- Food -- A fully seed diet is cheap and the birds love it, but seeds alone are not a healthy diet for your bird. In the shelter, we feed primarily Zupreem Natural pellets, along with fresh fruits and vegetables. Pellets are more expensive than seeds, but they should not be prohibitive in cost.
- Cage -- The best rule of thumb is to provide the largest cage you can afford. Since the cage is where your bird will likely spend a great deal of time, having one that is large enough to comfortably house the bird, multiple perches and toys, with room to spare is of utmost importance. Cages can range from a hundred to several thousand dollars.
- Toys -- Birds are extremely smart and easily bored. They need physical and mental enrichment. Appropriate toys must be purchased and replaced frequently. For some birds the cost can be as much as several hundred dollars per month.
- Medical care -- Avian veterinary science has come a long way in the last decade, but it is still considered "specialty care" and can be VERY expensive. Surgeries or extended diagnostic testing can be hundreds to thousands of dollars.
Adopting a bird requires a significant investment of time AND money!
There's no short answer to this question. Our goal is to find homes for birds, but not every home is the right match for every bird. The adoption process can be highly selective and might seem arbitrary and even unfair at times. Since birds often outlive their owners, the concept of the "forever home" is often a goal unreached. Many of our birds have lived through very difficult times. They are often neglected and sometimes even abused.
While we may miss the mark sometimes, we do strive for permanent placements. For this reason, ensuring our potential adopters have the proper level of experience and are the best fit for each individual bird. It can be a long, frustrating process for some of our more difficult birds, but we are committed to doing our level best for the futures of these animals.
NEAR always reserves the right to refuse an adoption for any reason at any time in the process. While this can be frustrating and disappointing for a potential adopter, we hope everyone understands that our dedication is to the birds, period.
NEAR follows a strict adoption protocol. Our one over-riding goal as a shelter is to ensure the birds in our care get the very best treatment possible -- especially when it comes to the care they receive once they leave us. While we reserve the right to deviate from our adoption process at any time, at our sole discretion, all potential adopters will be expected to follow this process.
- Application -- The first and most important step. Our adoption application can be found here: Adoption Application
- Virtual Interview -- After reviewing your application, we will set up a mutually convenient time for an online interview with our adoption panel. This interview will be conducted via Zoom or Google Meet. Other options for the virtual meeting can be considered on a case-by-case basis. We will take this time to get to know you a little bit and answer any questions that may have come up while reviewing your application. This interview will often be used as a means of determining the experience level of the adopter and whether we have birds available that meet this level of experience. You can expect the virtual interview to last 30 to 60 minutes. The adoption panel will determine how to proceed.
- Shelter Visit -- After the virtual interview, successful adoption candidates will be invited to visit the shelter and meet individual birds. We are exercising steps to avoid the spread of COVID-19, so we ask adopters to limit the size of their party, bring and wear masks and exercise social distancing wherever possible while at the shelter.
- Home Visit -- Assuming everything goes well at the shelter visit and a decision is made to adopt, a home visit will be carried out. Typically we do the home visit at the time we bring the bird(s) to your home. During the home visit, the adopting family will be expected to read and sign an adoption contract which, among other things, will require the adopting family to agree that if, for any reason, they cannot keep the bird(s) they adopt from NEAR, the bird(s) must be returned to the shelter.
NEAR receives upward of five to ten applications per day. Sometimes we get behind. Sometimes we get VERY behind. Our case load is probably the most common reason for communication delays.
We have also found that our email responses end up in peoples' spam folders. We have done everything possible to ensure our email is not mis-identified as spam, but it still happens occasionally. Always check your spam folder if you don't get a response from us.
Many times we find people don't fill out the adoption application completely or properly. It should go without saying that we ask the questions on our application for a reason. If a potential adopter doesn't think enough of the process to provide the information we ask for, then it's not a huge leap to assume they might have the same blase attitude toward an adopted pet. For this reason, an incomplete adoption application may not receive a response from NEAR.
NEAR reserves the right to refuse an adoption for any reason at any time -- even at the point of receipt of an application.
Buying a bird in a pet store is still legal and it is, of course, your prerogative to do so. But bear in mind that the average cockatoo goes through FOUR HOMES in its lifetime. The average macaw and Amazon Parrot also goes through multiple homes during the decades of its life. We believe pet stores and avian breeders are exascerbating an already exploding problem of unwanted birds in our country. Our goal is to avoid adopters who make impulsive decisions or who think birds are cool because they saw someone else who owned one or they are simply going through a phase. These are very intelligent, sensitive animals which are prone to psychosis, feather plucking and even self-mutilation if they are not given the appropriate diet and enrichment.
We are attempting to find permanent homes for our birds. If you as a potential adopter can't be bothered to go through a vetting process and you ultimately decide to run out to a pet shop and buy a bird, the chances are you will eventually contribute to the problem, rather than to its solution. We hope you will see how critical this is to the happy, healthy life of the bird, and will understand why we are so careful with the animals entrusted to our care.
Not as much as people think. The home visit is an integral part of the adoption process, but we are not interested in coming to your home and passing judgment on you or the way you live. We do home visits for a few reasons. First, we want to ensure our birds are not going into homes with obvious dangers -- many times, people don't realize some of the dangers -- which could include the destruction of that valuable antique clock your grandmother gave you which happens to be within reach of the spot you picked to place your new bird's cage. We certainly don't want any of our birds going into a home where there is hoarding or, worse, breeding going on. A person's disregard for their own personal safety and well being is probably not a good fit for one of our birds. Yes, this is blunt and tough, but it is what it is. Finally, we have found that people often have many questions about their cage set up and ways to improve on location, layout, etc. The home visit is the perfect time to answer these questions and provide specific advice that's tough to think of while you're standing in our shelter.
Beyond that however, we don't care so much how you live or what your decorating taste might be... we just want to be sure the bird will be safe in your home. The home visit usually takes only a few minutes. We answer your questions, have you read and sign our adoption application and then we are on our way!
When you adopt from NEAR, you sign an adoption contract. One of the most important items you agree to is that if, for any reason, you cannot keep a bird, it MUST come back to NEAR.
If you find you can't keep the bird, you cannot simply give it to a friend or family member. You cannot sell, trade or otherwise dispose of the bird.
We will always work with you if you run into hard times with your bird(s), but this is one of the most important items in our -- or any other reputable rescue's - adoption contract.
African Grey parrots are the most popular request we receive, by far. We seldom have them and we receive so many requests that establishing a "waiting list" is not really a realistic idea. We understand this may be a bitter pill to swallow, but we would rather err on the side of being honest and realistic about expectations. Also, if you have never had an African Grey parrot before, we STRONGLY suggest you do as much research as possible. There's a very real chance that after cutting through the hype, you might find a Grey is not the right bird for you or your family.