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January 17, 2015 / Leslie

Weekend Birding: Not-So-Wild Birds

It’s no secret that I’m NOT a cold weather person. Unfortunately, I live in the Midwest, which experiences its share of days below freezing. So it’s no surprise that I haven’t been out photographing birds for the past month. Snow, ice, subzero temperatures. Yeah, that. But today it is going to be warm – 40F+ … and I intend to be outside birding. Looking out the window just isn’t as satisfying.

Greater Chicago Bird Rescue and Adoption

Even when I’m stuck indoors I still interact with birds. In addition to being a volunteer with the forest preserve to monitor wild birds, I also volunteer a morning or two a week at a rescue shelter. Just like dogs and cats, birds need our help too. Volunteers clean cages, change food and water dishes, and spend time interacting and socializing with the birds.

Greater Chicago Bird Rescue

Birds at the shelter range in size from small birds – parakeets, cockatiels, lovebirds, finches – to the larger Macaws and Amazons. I took photos of some of the residents with my phone, and the birds agreed to be part of this week’s Weekend Birding.

Sun Conure


This is Lucky, a Sun Conure, who was found outdoors. She is very shy. I would love to take her home!



This is Wilber, a beautiful Senegal. This species can live up to 50 years.

Umbrella Cockatoo


Meet Harley, an Umbrella Cockatoo. He is quite the character. He was following me around trying to bite my shoelaces. His owner of 20 years passed away and he is looking for a new home.



There are a lot of Lovebirds and Budgies that need new homes.

Blue and Yellow Macaws


There are several Blue and Yellow Macaws at the shelter. These larger birds would benefit from an experienced adopter. Kiwi, the bird on the right, plucked her feathers out – possibly a result of a stressful situation in her former home.

Companion birds are a big commitment

Birds arrive at the shelter under many different circumstances. Too often people don’t realize the level of commitment it involves to have a bird in their home. Some of the larger birds can live 40, 50, or more years. Birds can be loud; they can be messy; they want our attention; they like to chew things.

Sometimes birds are abandoned by owners who tire of the responsibility, or their housing circumstances change and they can no longer keep a bird; a loving owner may become sick or dies, and no one in the family wants the bird; others are rescued from an abusive or neglectful environment; still others escape and are found outdoors.

Adopt – don’t buy

There are thousands of homeless pets – birds, along with dogs, cats and others. Adopt, don’t buy, and give a pet a home.


Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Melinda of West Metro Mommy. Visit her blog to see more great photos.

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Leave a Comment
  1. Louise / Jan 17 2015 3:26 am

    What a great post Leslie. There are so many beautiful birds at your shelter. It’s incredible how long the big parrots can live in captivity. I do love those Sun Conures, they’re gorgeous.


  2. Mary / Jan 17 2015 5:42 am

    Aw, poor Kiwi. Will she get more feathers? I know so little about birds. I admire your dedication, Leslie.


    • Leslie / Jan 17 2015 3:37 pm

      I asked that same question. They said in her case, probably not; she has damaged the follicles. Some birds do grow them back though.


  3. readerbuzz / Jan 17 2015 7:15 am

    I am so fortunate. A student had a cockatiels who laid eggs. She hand-raised the little chicks and gave me one. Shegecko (yes, she named the baby bird) has been the most wonderful bird. Last year a friend found a Quaker and we took him in. Squawky doesn’t have the gentle spirit of Shegecko, but he has calmed down a lot and even learned a word (from Shegecko, we think).

    Thank you for sharing this experience with us.


    • Leslie / Jan 17 2015 3:41 pm

      We have lots of beautiful cockatiels at the shelter too, but they wouldn’t stay still long enough to pose for photos. Squawky is a perfect name for a Quaker! There is a fairly large wild flock near my home. I usually hear them before I see them.


  4. diane / Jan 17 2015 8:00 am

    adorable and indoors in winter is me as well:)


  5. BermudaOnion / Jan 17 2015 8:16 am

    They’re all so beautiful but poor my heart breaks seeing poor little Kiwi. His feathers will come back, won’t they?


  6. Beth Hoffman / Jan 17 2015 9:32 am

    Oh my heart! And speaking of hearts, bless yours for helping so many feathered friends.


  7. Beth F / Jan 17 2015 10:22 am

    Poor Kiwi! Oh gosh. I too haven’t been out with my camera much. Once we get below 30, I’m not into walking outside.


  8. laurelrainsnow / Jan 17 2015 10:30 am

    That is a wonderful shelter! And the birds are gorgeous. Thanks for sharing about the homeless and abandoned birds…something I hadn’t really thought about.



  9. Sandra Nachlinger / Jan 17 2015 12:19 pm

    What a nice shelter! It’s so sad that people buy birds, cats, dogs, and other animals as pets without having a clue about what’s involved in their care. Thank you for your volunteer work in this lovely facility. I hope all these birds find loving homes soon.


  10. Melinda / Jan 17 2015 12:53 pm

    What a great place! We have a number of dog and cat shelters around here, but I don’t know if we have a bird shelter!


  11. Ginny / Jan 17 2015 1:38 pm

    What a lot of beautiful birds. I do hope that they find new homes eventually.


  12. Suko / Jan 17 2015 2:57 pm

    What lovely creatures! It is wonderful that you volunteer at the bird rescue. I’m of course aware of rescues for cats and dogs, but I didn’t know about bird rescues. Thank goodness we have these. I hope these beautiful birds are adopted into good homes soon.


    • Leslie / Jan 17 2015 3:51 pm

      Many people are unaware of the bird shelter so we are trying to get the word out to adopt rather than buy at a pet store.


  13. indrani / Jan 17 2015 10:06 pm

    I am so glad these pretty birds are being looked after. Great shots!
    It is definitely better to adopt pets than buy them.


  14. Julie / Jan 18 2015 7:25 am

    I, too, am feather brained. I have found the window to be a wonderful way to capture treasured close-up shots of wild birds- especially in chilly weather.


    • Leslie / Jan 18 2015 11:06 am

      Definitely! My guestroom overlooks the backyard, so I shut the door, open the window a crack, and take photos with the zoom lens. 🙂


  15. stacybuckeye / Jan 18 2015 10:47 pm

    Harley reminds me of the mean bird from Rio (sorry. I have a 4 year old so most things come from seeing a movie or show 2 or 20 times too many.
    I used to have 2 canaries – Chester and Lester 🙂


  16. Carol / Jan 19 2015 10:21 am

    For some reason I never though of there being shelters for birds. I’m not sure that we have a local one, although I would imagine Pittsburgh does. We’ve thought about getting a bird, because Amber loves them, but we haven’t yet.


  17. sagustocox / Jan 20 2015 9:19 am

    Wow, your shelter has far more birds than ours does. We have birds, bunnies, dogs, cats, etc. in our shelter. But birds are generally parakeets. I would love to take home shy Lucky! She is gorgeous.


    • Leslie / Jan 20 2015 8:01 pm

      This is a bird-only shelter. I’m not sure of the exact count, but it’s probably at 100 or so birds.


  18. Birds by Joe / Jan 23 2022 12:52 am

    Your blog is very nice. These tools are really very helpful…:-)



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