Second Chances for Parrots (part 2)

This is a continuation from part 1 of this blog about Debbie Huckaby’s guest speaker presentation at the June Long Island Parrot Society (LIPS) meeting. You can find part 3, and part 4, and part 5 here.

When Debbie spoke of BOPS parrots, she smiled as she discussed that parrots are the heart of BOPS and the organization credo. This resonated as BOPS does indeed work tirelessly to provide a safe-haven for abused or unwanted exotic birds, re-home eligible companion parrots, and provide educational resources to the avian community.

As Debbie stated, "BOPS exists to provide second chances for so many beautiful parrots who need a place to land when they find themselves homeless through no fault of their own."

She presented a snapshot perspective, that highlighted that BOPS currently has almost 400 parrots in their care—and of that 400, many will be permanent residents as they are special needs or ineligible for adoption. Debbie explained that in many cases, a trauma experienced at some point in a parrot's life can make them in-eligible for adoption.

There was a silver lining though as Debbie explained "We have several dozen parrots that are currently eligible for adoption, or that are responding to re-socialization and will most likely be eligible for adoption this year—we just have to wait for them to tell us their ready."

She then discussed more about socialization for BOPS parrots—and how she and her team strive to provide permanent human companionship for rescued and surrendered birds that will thrive in such an environment.

This included a shout out to the contributions from Chris Armstrong, a leading parrot behaviorist—that spends hundreds of hours a year with BOPS birds. Go Chris!

As Debbie moved onto the people aspect of BOPS second chance formula, she stated that "Our volunteers quite simply drive our work. Since we are an all-volunteer nonprofit organization, volunteers are the mainstay of Birds of Paradise."

She painted a picture of the sheer dedication BOPS volunteers provide to the organization when she explained, "As you can imagine, the work performed by our volunteers is hard work, and certainly not performed by a group of coddled professionals. This should not imply that our volunteers are amateurs, either though. We provide orientation, ongoing training, and support for every volunteer. Most importantly, we ask that volunteers have basic parrot care skills and have time in their lives to give our birds attention and loving care."

People led to programs and Debbie started off by saying, "At BOPS, we take our programs very seriously and I'd like to share some of the underpinnings with you. We measure our program success in a number of ways, but mostly, it's about how many human and feathered souls we can help and heal."

The articulation of the fundamental underpinnings of BOPS programs was very interesting as they include sustainability, adherence to core values and transparency.

Debbie explained that "Each of our programs is aligned with our mission and has clear priorities backed by an implementation and management plan. We start by asking ourselves ‘what does success look like’—and then set our program goals and define metrics that can be measured on a routine basis. Our experience has been that this method leads to better planning, in that activities are linked to an understanding of how change is happening. It also leads us to better evaluation, making it possible to measure progress towards the achievement of our longer-term goals that go beyond the identification of program outputs."

Debbie talked about two of BOPS programs, Constant Companions (where BOPS where pairs people with compatible parrots) and Emergency Parrot Rescue (where BOPS provides community rescue services for abandoned, neglected and/or abused parrots.)

CONTINUE READING: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

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