September was Disaster Preparedness Month which seems fitting considering the recent fires that have ravaged our state and others. The rescue has seen firsthand how individuals in our community have experienced heart break and seen communities as they dealt with the fires that ravaged our state. We have tried to help where we could and were overwhelmed by all the support we received from our wonderful Facebook watchers who donated money, supplies, and cages. We have been able to help seven birds have a safe space to land free from fires and smoke while their families try to rebuild. Many of us have learned a valuable lesson. How prepared are we if faced with the same situation? What would we take? What would we leave behind? What can we do ahead of time to make sure our birds are safe?
So here is a disaster preparedness checklist for bird safety:
1) Action plan: Agree where everyone will meet if you are not together when disaster strikes. Make sure everyone knows where the disaster supplies are located.
2) Shelter: Make a list of local pet boarding facilities, lodging or nearby friends or family that will allow you or your pet to stay with them. This list should include evacuation circumstances that take you out of your hometown/city. Also have phone numbers for local bird rescue groups who may be able to help temporarily.
3) Veterinary: Have a list of veterinary facilities that provide bird care. Maybe they provide boarding or can see your bird if there is a need.
4) Carrier: Make sure to have a light weight crate, travel cage or carrier for each of your birds for ease of transportation and to keep them safe. Have the birds name, your name, phone, and vets number on the cage.
a. If you are using a travel cage, consider the door size as it is easier to get a scared bird into a cage with a large door.
b. Put the cage in the room and to slowly introduce them and eventually place them in the cage and take them for a ride in the car so that it is less likely they will be scared.
c. We recommend having pillow cases just in case evacuation happens quickly and there is no time to retrieve the travel cage you can just scoop the bird up and go. This also works well if the bird is difficult to handle or is not cooperating.
d. Contact one of the bird rescue groups to see if they have temporary fostering facilities available or at least a cage that can be borrowed.
5) Rubbermaid emergency kit: Purchase a medium size Rubbermaid or similar brand plastic tub that has a lid that seals to keep out moisture to place all of the emergency items for your bird to grab at a moment’s notice. Have your pets name, your telephone and other contact info such as vet, etc on the tub.
a. Medication: Should keep at least 7-10 days’ worth of medication in a childproof container-clearly labeled with the name, dose and strength.
b. Photo: Have a photo of you and your animal as evidence of ownership in case you become separated. This should also include a physical description of the bird.
c. First aid: Kits are easy to assemble and most items can be purchased from a drugstore.
d. Towel: Should be included in case of emergency restraint.
e. Comfort items: If your pet has a favorite toy, perch, etc. it is recommended that that a duplicate is kept.
f. Food and water: Keep 7-10 days for each pet, plus bowls for water, veggie/mash/fruit, and pellets. Should also have the birds favorite treat for picky eaters.
g. Sanitation: Bring newspaper for cage lining, hand sanitizer, plastic bags for trash, etc.
h. Bird harness if appropriate
i. Parrot calming formula
j. Roll of toilet paper
k. Bottled water
Most of all keep yourself safe and practice evacuations so that everything is streamlined. I know most of us that have multiple birds find this difficult but it is so important to be prepared. EBR of Oregon is here for those located in Oregon when things happen and you need help. Keep our number and email handy in your emergency kit and call on us when needed.
These cages were left after the owner's home was destroyed in the Holiday Farm Fire. All of these birds made is safely out and are in the care of EBR until the owner is able to take them back.