On Saturday, March 26, the Center for Animal Rescue & Enrichment of St. Louis
(CARE STL) was full of feathered faces and lots of “hellos” from people and animals alike. St. Louis Avian Rescue
(STAR) hosted its first “Meet the Birds” event in just over two years. The event highlights many of the rescue’s adoptable birds.
Jill Capps, who is the executive director of STAR, says the COVID-19 pandemic made it impossible to offer such large-scale events with the rescue’s adoptable birds. She says initially, many events had to be moved to outdoor spaces like festivals.
“Harness training a bird is not like leashing a dog,” Capps says. “So we ended up bringing our personal birds that we know are harness trained [and] are good with the public.”
For Capps, the Meet the Birds event was exciting. Capps joined STAR after the pandemic began, so she says she got to meet many of the foster birds and volunteers for the first time in person.
The socialization and being outside of the foster’s home was also a good experience for the birds, according to Capps. She says Meet the Birds allowed fosters to learn more about the temperament of the birds. Some birds, such as Chloe the Griffin’s Cockatoo, did not enjoy the crowd.
“They were uncomfortable for two hours, and it's horrible,” Capps says. “But now we know their home life has to be very calm.”
Capps says turnout was great and that STAR received five or six adoption applications due to the event. She says some visitors also came to meet birds they are working on adopting.
According to Capps, events like Meet the Birds are about more than getting birds adopted. It is also about educating the public about STAR and the realities of bird ownership.
“[People think] they go to the pet store, pick up a bird and that's it,” Capps says, “and that's not how this works. They are a lifetime commitment. And just as important as dogs and cats. They deserve a loving home. They don't just go into a cage.”