Donating Your Bird

If your bird has been aggressive to other birds, it is not going to be aggressive here in their colony. The dynamic is very different from a home environment. They are intelligent and they feel peer pressure to mellow out and get along. I think it shows in the faces and body language of our resident birds. They are quieter and calmer than living with us.

First of all, I know how painful it can be to research placement options. It is difficult just to make the phone call, even if your undecided. I want you to know, it is OK to call and ask as many questions as you need. Cockatoos are my favorite subject.

                                     Lori Rutledge

The Cockatoo Rescue and Sanctuary was established 1992

Your friends and family may want to take your Cockatoo for a pet. But, you know how difficult it is to live with a demanding, destructive bird. Follow your heart, you know your bird better than anyone.

I will cover the main concerns people have before sending their bird here. At some point, we will need to have a phone conversation so I can learn more about your birds individual personality traits.


1) How does your bird get here? Usually they are flown here. I only recommend, Delta and Alaska Airlines.  Covid has reduced the number of flights each day. Right now Delta is not accepting birds. The only choice is Alaska or driving. But things change during Covid. Your bird travels alone on a passenger plane. These two Airlines have an animal room adjacent to the cargo hold. The animal room is heated and  pressurized. It is specifically designed for animal transport and the lights go out while the plane is in the air. The birds just take a nap.


One of the advantages, you and your bird are going through the cargo office. So, you get to skip the chaos of the terminal and drive right up to the cargo office door.


Unfortunately, the Airlines are wise to Cockatoo noise, they are banned from the passenger deck.

2) Follow up: I call you from the airport to let your know, your bird has arrived safely. I call you the day after arrival to let you know how he/she is doing on the first full day. If the first few days we have rainy weather, I will delay introductions until its a nice day.

 The first month we stay in close contact. If there are any behaviors that are concerning, we brainstorm to make the transition more comfortable for your bird. Beyond that first month, you can call for updates.   

Birds that come here during the cooler months, go into the heated building and the indoor colonies.

Somebody has a full tummy
These Photos make me sick

Clearly, I am not trying to win a popularity contest…..

3)  Things we will not do. I do not take photos or videos, of your bird(s) in the enclosures with their new friends. If you want photos or videos of your bird, take them before sending him/her here. Just like donating a dog to the humane society, they don’t take photos of your pet in its new home. Although, I do give updates and they don’t.

If you choose to deliver your bird in person, which is fine, we are not open for you to walk through, tour, or, observe introductions. We would be meeting up at our entrance gates, nothing is visible from the entrance….on purpose for security. To read more, see the wild caught page from the navigation menu. The wild caught Cockatoos have suffered horrors at the hand of humans, it’s sickening. I am committed to protecting all of the Cockatoo’s that are in our care. The wild caught Cockatoos, that were never tamed as pets, are terrified of people as are many phobic birds. 

We all have been warned to tour, a facility before placing a pet. But, they were not talking about wild caught Cockatoo’s. Creatures that should be flying free. Stolen, trapped, removed from their Tropical Paradise, their family/flock, everything they have ever known. Those who survived, were stuffed into small cages and auctioned off to the highest bidder.

 Most of them went into breeding facilities to begin pumping out babies for the pet trade. Their babies/ eggs taken from them so, their body will be “tricked” into laying more eggs as replacements. A big breeder of Cockatoos, told me when he takes the eggs out of the nest box the pair will scream for days after. They were grieving. All that humans have taken from these wild caught….. now their babies.

The lucky ones, would be given two perches, with the nest box. Often, they have blinders (tarps) between cages, to prevent any “distraction” from other breeding birds nearby. Distractions after all, distract from breeding. Toys distract from breeding. They are expected to pay their keep with fertile eggs, pets……. our pet Cockatoo’s.

If the pair doesn’t produce well, they are separated, re-paired or traded over and over and over again. Until, they are used up, body depleted, no longer an asset, no longer paying their way. And, the breeder will put the bird “down”. The breeders were concerned that rescue organizations would attempt to “tame down” these old wild caught birds to sell, via adoption fees. In essence, compete with the breeding business’ baby bird sales. I have worked for years, to build “trust” with some of the breeders, so they will retire those old, used up, wild caught Cockatoos….. here. I built this Sanctuary for those “wild caught, ex-breeder, used up birds”! They deserve a safe, secure, peaceful, caring, stress free life ….. what’s left of their life.

We do not give tours, we are not a vacation destination and if you find yourself in our “area”, we are not available for you to stop by. I know your bird is valuable and your donating him to us. But, we don’t “need” more birds. We have to weigh safety, security and the well being of our residents. We cannot rescue them all and there is no prize for who has the most birds. 

Most importantly, our policy(s) is not negotiable.

If you are worried that your bird will be aggressive with the flock because, you get bit every now and again, don’t worry. They treat their own species better then us.

There is no deadline for questions and you are not committing to send your bird. 

You can reach us at 360 654-1538 Pacific Time Zone, leave a detailed message and best time to reach you

Our physical address and my home is : Cockatoo Rescue and Sanctuary 3132 212th St. NW,  Stanwood, WA 98292

Email is a last resort…

I hate email and avoid it. What happens? The email questions require a full page response from me, then the response comes a day later, with more questions. Its like a ping pong match and my responses need to be complete, I add in the details for this scenario or that scenario. Days later we are still in the same ping pong match that should have been completed in a 15 minute phone conversation. So, please call. Leave me a message with your species of Cockatoo. 

I don’t have regular office hours. My schedule is unpredictable because of weather, aviary maintenance, feeding, call volume, bird drama, introductions, and surprise projects among others… I take a couple of days off during the week. The days off vary each week. Usually, the rainy days. I know this drives people nuts, this isn’t a “normal job with normal hours” and the bird care, comes before phone messages.

I will call you back, as soon as I can. Please leave me your time zone so, I don’t call you too late in the day. We are in pacific time.

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