Not All Who Roam…Are Lost.

Written By: B.D. Butler - Mar• 14•13

roamReading my blog here on Parrot Earth you have probably seen me write the term, “I am not an expert”.  That statement still applies.  I am continually trying to improve my knowledge of companion birds,  their health/behavior and the different environments that they live in.  While I am on this journey into owning two rambunctious adorable grey parrots, I have grown into what I would describe as a “confident” parrot owner.  You see I have owned birds my whole life, but I didn’t have the knowledge that I have now.  The internet, amazon, ebay, bird groups and attending various parrot events have helped me hone some of my skills to get me where I am today.  I no longer panic, questioning every little thing I am doing.  I am not “googling” or “binging” with my phone to remember the things that I can and cannot feed my birds.  Because in the olden days, they just ate seed.  Parrots also didn’t require many toys or a lot of fresh vegetables, not to mention the enrichment that they didn’t need…. or so we thought.  Goes to show that most of us back then were wrong.  The intelligence and well-being of these creatures was known by some but not all.  It took years of people seeing through a different set of eyes and ideas to change how we do things today.

I recently chatted with Emily Trimnal, the author of Emily’s Birds.  I first have to say that I find her comical, determined and  a very genuine person.  She came up with the idea to travel across the country and gather information about different rescues and sanctuaries.  When I heard the idea, I thought, “what a great learning tool for those smaller places that don’t have the resources to see first hand how more successful and established rescues make it happen”.  Easy enough, right?  Wrong. 

I got my photo for The Roaming Parrot here.

I got my photo for The Roaming Parrot here.

The project is called The Roaming Parrot, maybe you have heard about it?  Now when I ask that question I hope you can feel the yards of sarcasm that are wrapped around it.  If you have a computer, are on Facebook and have a bird, I can almost guarantee that you have heard one side or the other about this group.  Emily asked me if I would write an article regarding this project and my thoughts, how could I refuse?  

I decided that I really wanted to look at this situation from all angles.  I am an incredibly outspoken individual and stick up for my passionate beliefs.  I also try to look at things fairly with objectivity and good intentions.  So that being said, I started my research and much to my utter shock, found there to be, what I call “vipers”, just waiting to strike with comments and unwarranted attacks on her integrity and the validity of the project.  These nay-sayers not only attacked Emily’s integrity but the integrity of the “two Janetsas they are called, of whom by the way are constantly volunteering and helping the avian community and are also on this project.  To be quite honest with you, I was shocked at the lack of respect in some of the comments that I read on their Facebook page, some people claimed to be very experienced with birds.  One in particular claims to have over fifty years experience with birds and clearly lacking in experience communicating with people.  It just made me remember my Aunt Toots saying “manners!”.

Just a sample of some of the comments on The Roaming Parrot’s Facebook page.

“So basically you are developing a tour guide of Parrot Rescues and Sanctuaries across the United States that has no purpose, because your interviews will not be slighted, and hold no valuable information, but yet you are collecting donations for the trip?”

“… frankly, you are just a couple of women who love birds and want to take a cross-country vacation.”

“you can do all the research in the world before you buy a car. Do you really think you’ll be smarter than the car salesman? Do you really think you’d get a “deal” that s/he wasn’t already planning to offer? Pul-eese”

You are probably shaking your head right now and wondering how can perfect strangers be so mean to someone they have never met.  The unfortunate part of this situation is, it has become an epidemic.  I touched on this topic in a previous article and it just amazes me how a person can become a bully fighting in a cause they claim to care so much about.  In that instance, with your negativity, you are not helping or becoming a solution to your cause, you are doing just the opposite and becoming a giant hindrance.  

From the comments of the skeptics and non-supporters of this project, it is being conveyed that this whole thing is simply “Oprah, Gayle and Kathy Lee are going to drive across country because knitting has proven too challenging and they are accepting bribes from larger rescues to get in their big book of tricks”.  In reality it is just not that way…at all.

I got my photo for The Roaming Parrot here.

I got my photo for The Roaming Parrot here.


Emily, Janet and Janet are merely trying to begin a collection of information from rescues and sanctuaries that they have been INVITED to.  There are no “special ops” going in and no surprise inspections.  There will be no camouflage make-up and no parachuting in at all hours of the night  (that’s a bummer because I hear that Janet H & Janet B like to fly).  Alas it will just be women in a Chevrolet Cobalt driving from town to town with a bunch of questionnaires.  I know, very scandalous.  

All joking aside, I would like you to take a deep breath and remember the days when birds did just eat seed.  A lot of them sat in cages with very little to do and very little enrichment.  It took one person to start looking a little deeper into the spectrum and the science of birds to make a difference.  It always just takes one person with an “idea”.  Emily’s idea is to start a collaboration and network in between rescues to help, not hurt.  She wants to help the birds that are in a small rescue in small town America be as happy and healthy as the birds that are in a main stream rescue in Los Angeles.  Emily also wants the birds in a rescue in Los Angeles to maybe have the same one on one treatment as the birds in small town America  Is that such a wrong thing to want, birds to be happy and healthy?  I don’t think so.  

The whole purpose of this expedition is to ask questions.  Do you have a 501c3 status?  What are your intake procedures?  What kind of food do you serve your birds and when?  Do your birds have access to a flight?  Are your birds fully flighted?  Do you play music for your birds?  How do your fundraisers to help keep your rescue afloat?  Do you have an avian veterinarian on staff or do you have one on retainer locally?  What do you do about “vetting” since your local avian vet is an hour away?

I got The Roaming Parrot here.

I got The Roaming Parrot here.


These are just a few of the giant list of questions they have to ask.  Nothing too hard-hitting in my opinion.  In fact I do not see any “biases” because there will be no “rating system”, no “three out of five star”s, no “percentage liked” and no “we recommend”.  In fact I saw an instance where The Roaming Parrot turned down a sponsorship from a very well established sanctuary, because they did not want to appear to have any favorites.  That doesn’t seem like a group that are “on the road to hell, paved with good intentions”.   It’s just a few people in this vast world of aviculture trying to make a difference.  A small positive pebble in a giant pond.  In fact if you want to put your “money where your mouth is” and are such an upstanding rescue, invite them out.  I am sure they would love to prove the opposition wrong.

You may not agree with this project, but attacking them on social media is not helping anyone.  In fact it kind of makes you look like a mean intolerant jerk.  Imagine someone attacking you for wanting to start a rescue?  Or imagine someone just randomly verbally attacking you in the aisle of a grocery store.  Not such a pretty picture, is it?  

I got "Be Kind" here.

I got “Be Kind” here.

The bottom line is, if you don’t agree with The Roaming Parrot, then don’t and move on.  Regardless of whether you are on board, this is going to happen.  So why not give them a fair shake and see what they can do?  Maybe offer them a little constructive feedback instead of slinging poo at your computer screen?  Put your adverse and opposing views in your back pocket and try to help them to succeed.  What do you have to lose?  It seems to me that Emily, Janet and Janet are the only ones who have everything on the line.




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  1. Cate Clark says:

    I, being a supporter of The Roaming Parrot, I do have to express disappointment in what I heard on the radio show last night. As it has not changed my position, I felt by allowing an individual to call in and basically take over fractured what you were trying to accomplish. That was credibility. I personally did not care to hear what was done in the past, I was looking to see what was in store for the future. The past has had little results. Constructive criticism has its place but I feel it should have been done privately with guidance. Roaming Parrot,
    you need to take what is yours and hang tenaciously to it. Stay focused on your program.

    • Emily says:

      Cate – thanks for your input. The show is continuing next week, and we are going to answer questions that people ask us online throughout this week. We hope that this allows us a more structured form of the show and allows us a little more time without getting as sidetracked. Its always difficult with that type of call in format to know what will happen.

    • B.D. Butler says:

      Thanks Cate!! I love input and I especially loved your “you need to take what is yours and hang tenaciously to it”… I love that line.

  2. Emily says:

    B.D, thanks for such an awesome post. We really appreciate an outsiders perspective on this project. The negativity can get to be a bit heavy and stressful, but knowing that the supporters far outweigh the naysers gives us the forward momentum we need. I truly feel this will turn out to be a great thing for the bird community, and I am so pleased that others feel the same way. Keep up the awesome blogging!

  3. You post leaves me absolutely speechless, which doesn’t happen very often. Thank you for your vote of confidence!

  4. Jacque Johnson says:

    This is an incredible idea that is necessary for us to start joining together as a rescue community…not as fractured individuals across the country. I LIKE to be able to pick up the phone and refer a potential adopter to a rescue in their own community, one that I can recommend with a fairly high level of confidence. One of the first things I did when I took on my current position was call other rescues across the country to try and set a benchmark for adoption/intake criteria and adoption fees. We can only be more successful by sharing our thoughts, hopes, and ideas. And for the record: although I will welcome Emily with open arms, the only incentive I offered her was a room to sleep in!

  5. I second Jacque’s sentiment. I look forward to learning about the places you all visit in the future! Kudos to you all for bringing a brilliant idea to fruition!

  6. Jacqueline Martens says:

    What a wonderful way to “set the bar” so people are all on the same page when it comes to helping our feathered friends. What’s needed is cooperation between us all to make it work not bullying by people tearing at you in this arena and showing you such disrespect. Gathering information and finding out what’s out there is a very important part of rescue work and I’m in total agreement with Jacque’s comment about being able to pick up the phone and refer a person to someone local. I also agree that having the questions before hand will help you guide your program without being blindsided by someone not as kind as you’d wish them to be…there are always those who rock the boat just to get their two cents in….Stay the course…and thank you for being involved. Most of us greatly appreciate your efforts. In my area, All Parrot Rescue has opened my eyes to the wonderful work being done to rehabilitate problems and re-home to find a better fit for all concerned. I’m grateful to have found them. Thank you again for all you’re doing.

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