Rescuing a cockatoo involves a lot of hard work and research; these birds are not for everyone. They can be loud, messy and expensive to keep. If you have your heart set on rescuing a cockatoo and you have some experience with bird keeping, find one that will be a good match for you.
The best place to get the word out about anything is social media outlets: Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter and all the other social sites. Getting the word out about wanting to adopt a cockatoo is no exception. Use your existing social media sites, and join some others, so you can tell your friends, and their friends can tell others and so on. Send out emails, too, and give everyone on your list permission to cross-post so they will forward the email on to their contacts. Many cats, dogs, birds, snakes and pocket pets get a second chance this way. Craigslist and Petfinder are also good Internet resources for finding a pet.
Specific Breed Rescue
Just like greyhounds or Siamese cats, cockatoos have dedicated fans. People who love cockatoos, many of them former or present cockatoo breeders, often form rescue organizations to help cockatoos find new homes. Similar to any animal rescue organization, cockatoo rescue groups find volunteers to offer foster home services to a cockatoo until a permanent home can be found. Find local cockatoo rescue groups by asking your local animal rescue organizations and avian vets. If a rescue group is outside your immediate locale, transport volunteers may be able to help unite you and your new cockatoo. Check with your local humane society, animal control or wildlife agency and ask to be put on a waiting list in the event a cockatoo is surrendered, as often happens. Even if those agencies don't actually house cockatoos in their facilities, they may maintain lists.
A Cockatoo's Needs
In order to grow into a well-adjusted and sociable pet, cockatoos need to be well-socialized as juveniles. Most rescue cockatoos are older ones who may not have been raised well. This means they're birds with baggage. If you are a seasoned cockatoo owner, you are in a better position to adopt a rescued cockatoo than if you've never had one. If you are a novice cockatoo owner, select the youngest cockatoo you can find to minimize the risk of challenges born of possible past failures. You will need an abundance of patience and dedication to rehabilitate a cockatoo who has been abused or neglected. Cockatoos are known for forming close bonds with their humans and for enjoying physical contact such as snuggling.
Before bringing your new cockatoo home, have an avian vet lined up to check your bird out soon after you get him. Cockatoos in rescue are usually given cursory intake exams, but you want a full physical examination as soon as possible. Cockatoos have specific dietary and physical needs in addition to their emotional requirements. Discussing your particular cockatoo with a board-certified avian vet will reward you with bird-specific information as to what to feed your bird, housing recommendations and instructions on introducing your bird to other family members, both human and nonhuman.
Michelle A. Rivera is the author of many books and articles. She attended the University of Missouri Animal Cruelty School and is certified with the Florida Animal Control Association. She is the executive director of her own nonprofit, Animals 101, Inc. Rivera is an animal-assisted therapist, humane educator, former shelter manager, rescue volunteer coordinator, dog trainer and veterinary technician.