The Seattle Animal Shelter’s Critter Program has more than just furry friends. We have plenty of feathered friends too! In 2017 alone, SAS placed 47 birds of all types into new homes both inside and outside of Seattle, and they were supported thanks to grants from the Seattle Animal Shelter Foundation.

A wide variety of birds come through the shelter. Parakeets, budgies, and finches are the most common; however, SAS has provided care to parrots, pigeons, doves, and lovebirds.

In fact, birds have been a part of the Critter Program since its inception in 2003. Since then, staff and volunteers have worked continuously to improve the care of these delicate and charismatic creatures.  Most recent efforts resulted in a new shelter entry protocol specifically to protect birds from stress and the spread of illness.

Let’s follow SAS alum Chip the Canary’s journey. Little Chip, pictured here, was a field stray brought into the shelter last fall. As with all surrendered and stray birds, he was immediately placed under a 10-day quarantine. He had a comfy cage, toys, perches, appropriate food, and water. Birds easily contract disease from other animals, including other birds. They are also sensitive to stress and temperature variations. The quarantine allows time to assess their health before exposing them to other animals and environments. Once his wellness exams were conducted, Chip was moved into foster care as soon as possible.  This little yellow bird became quite the cheerful singer in his foster home and soon found his forever family.

Chickens are also rehomed through the SAS Critter program. Last year, we adopted out 15 birds, including roosters, to new homes. Roosters are illegal in the City of Seattle so they are adopted only to residents outside the City limits. SAS frequently partners with outside organizations to transfer chickens to more rural areas and homes. Arturo the Rooster, pictured here, is a representative. This magnificent rooster came to SAS as a stray. He was housed at SAS until staff found a foster home for him outside the City of Seattle. He was eventually adopted by his new family and renamed Jet because of his fast moves.

SAS is very fortunate to have bird specialists on staff and in its critter volunteer program; however, we are always looking for more volunteers with this specialized knowledge. Foster homes are most important as we prefer to move birds out of the shelter environment as soon as possible. We always appreciate referrals as well. Available birds can be found at the Seattle Animal Shelter’s adoption page.

Spreading the word about available birds and encouraging adoptions is the best way to help these lovely animals live the lives they deserve. Lives with good health, lots of love, plenty of color and maybe some fancy singing!