The History of TARA
TARA Tucson Avian Rescue and Adoption, was “hatched” in 1998 by Barbara Bailey and Sharon Bloch, long-time parrot owners who were appalled by the increasing number of mistreated and unwanted parrots. Barbara and Sharon each took in birds in need and when they were unable to take more, they recruited friends. However, they realized the problem was growing and knew it had gotten so bad that some birds were being euthanized. They also realized that the key was prevention and that Education was the only way to accomplish that goal.
They began ParrotCare, a three week, six hour course devoted to the care of pet birds and taught at vet offices and pet stores in Tucson. They reunited lost birds with their owners, often through cooperation with the local bird clubs. They enabled bird owners who were going to “get rid” of their birds because of behavior problems to keep their birds by educating and supporting those owners. They found good homes for birds with no place to go. They took sick birds to the vet and paid the bills themselves. They worked with Animal Control and other rescue/rehab/adoption organizations. They mentored young people who loved birds.
Barbara and Sharon had an advantage: they had both volunteered at a rescue and sanctuary facility outside of San Diego for several years. They had worked with parrots of all types with a variety of problems: illness, handicaps, physical and mental abuse, grief, neglect and that kind of unintentional abuse that comes from ignorance. Working in this hands-on environment gave them a new appreciation for what parrots need to survive in our world. Along with all the behaviors, they were able to learn about nutrition, housing, emergency first aid, the importance of toys, how to create a home for physically challenged birds, how important the “buddy system” can be for some birds, and how valuable Observation is when it comes to better understanding our avian companions.
Each of them has had large birds for over 15 years and most of theirs are of the rescue/rehab sort. They have learned that with kindness, patience, respect and love, all birds come around. They wanted share what they knew and help others have rewarding experiences with pet parrots. They decided to start a Parrot Rescue Organization.
There are two main types of Parrot Rescue Organizations (PRO): those which adopt birds out (PRO-A), such as Parrot Education and Adoption (PEAC) a very successful organization which is located in San Diego, CA., and those which provide a permanent home or sanctuary (PRO-S), such as The Oasis in Phoenix, AZ. The Gabriel Foundation in Colorado does both. Tucson Avian Rescue and Adoption (TARA) is a PRO-A and depends upon well-trained, dedicated volunteers and supporters.
TARA is networking with other organizations in the state such as The Oasis in Phoenix , Garuda Aviary in Sedona, a bird club in Yuma and another parrot rescue in the Phoenix area. TARA has been involved in both intra and interstate rescues.
Another facet of rescue has come from the Internet. TARA has helped in many online rescues throughout the country. By networking with other rescue organizations, TARA has been notified of people who are asking for help in our area. If you happen to come across sites that indicate where rescuers will travel, you will see that TARA will go as far as El Paso, TX, New Mexico, Arizona, and Southern California.
TARA is also affiliated with Pima County Animal Control and participates in their pet education fairs and also will foster birds which have been confiscated.
The requirements for volunteers, foster parents and adopters are similar: The three week ParrotCare course (6 hours total) and an as-yet-undetermined amount of volunteer hours and experience. TARA receives an incredible amount of calls from people who say “I want a cockatoo” and have no experience with large birds. Some are surprised that we will not send them a bird immediately; some are actually offended! Some are seeking to bypass the adoption requirements of other PRO-A’s. Some just want a free bird.
There are no “free birds” from rescue organizations. All the reputable PRO-A’s require an adoption fee to cover the cost of vet care, etc. TARA’s fee is yet to be determined by the board but there will be one. TARA will also perform a pre-adoption home visit and visits after the adoption. TARA’s adoption paperwork includes statements requiring a certain standard of care, regular vet visits, and the stipulation that the bird can never be sold or given away but returns to TARA if there are unforeseeable problems. TARA will also be able to take the bird back if the adopters are not fulfilling the requirements of the adoption. TARA members will be available to adopters and foster parents 24/7 to assist with problems, answer questions or just talk. If more parrot owners had this type of support, perhaps there would be fewer unwanted birds.
Please contact Barbara Bailey or Sharon Bloch with any suggestions or questions or if you wish to volunteer or donate money or supplies.