UPDATE: This project has been put on hold due to COVID 19.
In February 2020, I received a small grant to partner with senior centers in the greater Seattle area to build parrot toys for local parrot rescues. The partnership is a win-win: senior toy builders improve their dexterity, practice creativity, and contribute to a community project; parrots receive toys essential to their mental stimulation and beak health.
In the wild, parrots are constantly using their strong beaks to hollow out cavities for nesting, crack open nuts, and chew branches. Deprived of the physical and mental enrichment of the natural world, captive pet parrots rely on toys for mental stimulation and to maintain beak and nails. Parrots lacking this enrichment often turn to self-mutilation, feather plucking, and screaming, which can be too much for an owner to handle. Many parrots are relinquished to rescues. During its 20-85 year lifespan, the average parrot will be rehomed five times. When a pet parrot is surrendered to a rescue, rescues must use limited resources to provide immediate housing, food, and veterinary needs. Therefore, rescues rely on donations for enrichment to provide the parrots the stimulation they need.
We will be partnering with senior centers in the Renton, WA region to assemble parrot toys for local rescues. Building parrot toys requires hand-eye coordination and creativity. Participants will select a parrot to “adopt” from a group of photos, names, and short biographies of each bird. They will choose from a variety of pre-drilled toy parts including mahogany pods, wood blocks, leather scraps, yucca slices, and more and thread them onto a stiff raffia cord. The completed toys will be delivered to the rescue. We will take a photo of each bird with their new toy and print it for the person who built the toy.
Do you want to bring this program to your senior center? Are you a parrot rescue wanting to receive toys? Reach out for more information… parrotjoy [at] parrotjoy [d0t] com.