Foster Parrots, Ltd.

By on May 1, 2024 in Giving

Many people are unaware of the overwhelming crisis of unwanted parrots in captivity. Foster Parrots is a parrot rescue and exotic wildlife sanctuary organization working to protect captive and wild parrots.

Foster Parrots Ltd. Resident

This Yardi-supported nonprofit was founded in 1999 in Hope Valley, Rhode Island. This New England organization works regionally, nationally and internationally to provide rescue services to parrots needing help, advocate for parrots as wild animals and protect those who still fly free. The legal pet parrot trade perpetuates the decimation of parrot populations in the wild, driving many species toward extinction.

A devastating fire occurred at Foster Parrot Sanctuary in April 2021, and three years later, it is finally able to break ground for its reconstruction project. So, with construction chaos in the mix, Foster Parrots strives to maintain quality service for its programs and 380 resident birds!

“We run what I believe to be one of the best parrot adoption programs in the country, which enables us to bring rescue services to a greater number of birds in need,” shared Karen Windsor, executive director for Foster Parrots.

Foster Parrots also offers valuable humane education programs to the local community. Since the fire, they’ve had to scale back a bit, but they look forward to the day when they can resume a full schedule of educational activities.

Yardi funding provides invaluable and direct care support to its birds, including veterinary care, high-quality nutritional support, toys and enrichments that help keep brilliant avian minds engaged and challenged.

“Our number one goal is and always will be the care and welfare of our sanctuary residents, and Yardi has been a cherished participant in this work,” said Windsor. She continued, “Yardi’s commitment to community service and philanthropy is rare and profoundly commendable. Your focus on engaging employees in community service empowers them as valuable participants in the wonderful work of so many nonprofit organizations. I am sure it nurtures a beautiful, inclusive corporate culture there at Yardi.”

Marc and Wally

In the early 1990s, Foster Parrots’ founder, Marc Johnson, was a potter with a studio in Cambridge, MA. Wanting a little company in his studio, Marc purchased Wally, a blue and gold macaw. As he left for home with his new friend, a neighbor came running out with a mitred conure parakeet in a carrier and asked Marc to take it because he didn’t want it anymore. On that day, Marc purchased his first bird and rescued one, too. His relationship with these birds made him realize the absurdity of keeping parrots captive.

Wally Foster Parrot Ltd. Resident

Suddenly, with two parrots in his studio, people started to bring Marc birds they no longer wanted, just by virtue. Soon, he had 30 parrots in his tiny apartment, and it became clear that there was a growing unwanted parrot problem. Driven by the mission to rescue and advocate for parrots, Marc abandoned his passion for pottery and founded one of the first parrot rescue organizations in the country!

Wally inspired Foster Parrots, Ltd., and because of this one macaw, thousands of unwanted, languishing and abandoned captive parrots have received love and help through Foster Parrots. Marc went on to travel around the country for three decades, raising awareness and instilling avian welfare values.

In 2004, Marc traveled to Guyana and subsequently founded an eco-tourism-based conservation project in the village of Nappi. This stopped the poaching and trapping of parrots in this region and helped save a vast forest that would have otherwise been sold for logging.

All this happened because of Marc’s relationship with Wally, which shows how one bird had the power to change the world!

Volunteer Opportunities

Foster Parrots welcomes volunteers to help with bird chores. However, due to the nature of the work, the training involved requires at least one morning per week for three months.

Foster Parrots also holds “Yard and Garden” parties in the summer. These volunteer events require no training but outdoor work with rakes, shovels and garden gloves. Anyone interested in volunteering can reach out to [email protected] or [email protected].

“As a society, we have grown so accustomed to seeing a bird in a cage that we often fail to recognize that a cage is not a natural environment for these highly intelligent, profoundly social, flighted wild animals. Cages are prisons. At Foster Parrots, we dream of a world in which the sight of a bird—or any wild animal—in a cage is no longer acceptable to anyone,” expressed Windsor.

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