Adopting a parrot is a lifelong commitment, as these beautiful birds can live for decades. If you’ve adopted one only to discover that you can’t continue taking care of it, you might consider releasing it in the wild to live out the rest of its days. Is this the best option, though? Are you setting up your bird for failure by trying to do this good deed?
Unfortunately, if you try to release your pet into the wild, its chances of survival are very low. Keep reading to learn why most domesticated parrots won’t stand a chance when released into the wild.
Can a Domesticated Parrot Survive in the Wild?
In most cases, no, a domesticated parrot will not have a chance of survival in the wild. They cannot thrive in their natural habitats after being cared for their whole lives by humans.
Of course, if all the circumstances are right, there is a small chance of survival. If the climate is ideal and the bird is young enough and smart enough to know how to find food and shelter, they may have a chance. But, of course, since parrots are social animals, they’ll also need to be integrated into a flock for the best chance of survival.
Why Can’t a Domesticated Parrot Survive in the Wild?
Poorly Conditioned Body
Domesticated parrots are raised in cages, and even if they spend plenty of time outside their cages, they still won’t be strong compared to their wild counterparts. Wild birds are accustomed to traveling long distances, whereas your domesticated pet has likely only flown around your home.
A wild parrot’s beak is also much stronger because they use their bills for things like climbing up trees, crushing bones of small animals, and defending themselves.
Not Acclimated to the Climate
Wild parrots live in specific areas where everything they need to survive and thrive is present. So a domesticated bird isn’t likely to survive unless you live in the warm and tropical climates where parrots are naturally found.
Releasing a bird in a region that isn’t its natural habitat would be challenging for your little pet. Not to mention, a domesticated parrot has lived its life in the lap of luxury in a temperature-controlled environment in your home.
Not Prepared to Find Food
A pet parrot has never had to forage for food as it knows you’re going to provide all its meals. If your pet is hungry, all it has to do is squawk at you or tell you what kind of food it wants, and it knows you’ll provide it with what it needs. Releasing your domesticated bird into the wild when it’s never had to rely on itself for food is setting it up for failure.
Wild parrots in the wild learn from their parents. For example, they are taught how to differentiate between inedible and edible foods. Unfortunately, domesticated pets don’t have this luxury.
Wild parrots are highly social and live in flocks. They depend on each other for survival. Unless your pet miraculously finds a flock and is accepted into said flock, it’ll likely be left to fend for itself and, ultimately, won’t survive long. The stress of a solitary life can affect a bird’s physical health, not to mention the stress it’ll be under from having a complete change of environment and routines.
No Safe Shelter
A domestic parrot has lived a cushy home life where it knows it’s safe. It doesn’t have to worry about the temperature, natural disasters, or predators. Pet birds won’t have the same instincts as their wild counterparts. They didn’t have their flock to help raise them and teach them where they could go to find shelter.
No Understanding of Predators
A domesticated parrot has never encountered predators in its daily life. As a result, they don’t have to worry about life-threatening attacks. Even if you have other pets in your home, you act as the middle ground between your bird and the other pet, protecting them and hiding them from one another.
A parrot in the wild doesn’t have this same luxury. Instead, it will have grown up learning how to defend itself from its parents and flock mates. A domesticated parrot won’t even know what a predator looks like.
How Can I Safely Rehome My Parrot?
If you adopted a parrot and realized you can’t provide for it the way you hoped, you have options for rehoming it that don’t involve releasing it into the wild.
A local bird rescue might be happy to help you connect your pet with a new owner.
Listing your bird for adoption is another route to consider. Use the classifieds section of your local newspaper or local online marketplaces. Be wary of who you’re adopting your bird out to, though. We don’t recommend giving it away for free. Asking for a reasonable adoption fee will weed out any bad eggs trying to adopt a bird for its novelty.
Your local exotic vet is another resource you can reach out to. They might be interested in adopting your bird from you or know of someone in the area looking to add to their flock.
While releasing your parrot into the wild might sound like the “right thing to do,” you could be handing your beloved pet a death sentence. Domesticated birds don’t have the know-how or experience to survive in the wild, and many will die of starvation, be killed by other flocks, or fall victim to predators.
Unfortunately, they rely far too much on their human carers to have the chance of thriving and surviving in the wild. There are plenty of better options for rehoming your bird to ensure it can live a long and healthy life in the comfort of a bird lover’s home. So don’t think you’re doing your parrot a favor by releasing it into its natural habitat. A
natural habitat is in a warm and cozy home, being loved by its humans.
Featured Image Credit: Cheetahok, Shutterstock