Parrots pay a visit to kindergarten students at Sacandaga

Baby the parrot in a cageKindergarten students at Sacandaga had a feathered visitor on Friday as the Northeast Avian Rescue brought a “baby” to school.

The students, in Vicky Milkins’, Melissa Peterson’s and Kim Lavery’s classes, had a visit from “Baby,” a parrot brought by Jill Lewis from NEAR.  With Lewis was Betsy Messenger, the volunteer coordinator and humane educator at NEAR.

Milkins volunteers at the rescue, feeding, socializing and cleaning the parrots.

“Baby” delighted the classes with her wide vocabulary and various squawks.  Students especially liked her “robot” voice and when she calls herself a “baaaaaaad boy!”

The students learned what makes a bird a bird – hollow bones, wing feathers/tail feathers, beaks, a crop for storing food and a gizzard for digesting hard things.

Messenger brought an egg matching game – students matched eggs from a macaw, amazon, budgie and cockatiel.   The students learned that all birds flock call – or call to groups of birds.  The classes practiced that by “calling” to each other.

Lewis taught us about the 3 R’s of NEAR: Rescue, Rehabilitate and Rehome pet parrots.  “Our big take away is that we need to help protect these beautiful birds so they can live free and in the wild,” said Milkins.

NEAR is a totally volunteer, registered 501(c)(3) parrot and exotic bird rescue located in East Greenbush, NY. NEAR began operations in October 2013 and currently receives between 150 and 200 parrots and exotic pet birds annually. NEAR is committed to providing the very best care and finding safe, loving and permanent homes for all the birds that come into the shelter. From the smallest finch to the largest macaw, every bird is special and deserves to be treated with respect, dignity and love. Aside from taking in surrenders from the general public, NEAR works with local and regional law enforcement as well as SPCA organizations to assist with abuse and neglect cases involving birds. There is no short-term solution to end the deluge of abused, neglected and otherwise unwanted birds. Only with education can we hope, in the long haul, to change the hearts and minds of people who don’t realize the harm they are doing to these precious animals.

Here are a few photos from Friday’s event:

Woman showing how to act quietly as a bird Students showing projects during program Students sitting in cafeteria during program

Students lining up during program