There are more than ten thousand species of birds alive today. Birds occupy every continent, thriving in a variety of habitats and displaying incredible variety in behaviour and appearance.

It’s fair to say then, that birds are complex, exotic creatures. Yet a quick online search on “bird ownership” will pull up hundreds of search results convincing those lacking time that birds are the low maintenance solution to an animal companion.

The ill-fitting advice of pet stores and misguided online articles combined with unregulated breeding are just some of the reasons that the number of unwanted and homeless companion birds continues to grow.

Born out of a strong passion to break the cycle and provide love and care to birds in need, Melbourne’s Bird Re-homing Services Inc is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to providing excellent options for companion bird carers needing to rehome their pets as well as a humane option for adoption of companion birds.

“With many bird species being long-lived, it is estimated that the average captive bird will be rehomed at least five times,” said Nikki Arkinstall, founder of the non-for-profit organisation.

“Many mistake birds as ‘easy’ pets that are a good stepping stone to owning a cat or dog, or simply choose them for their talking ability, with little knowledge of health and welfare needs.”

Nikki’s passion for bird welfare emerged from a growing realisation that there was a serious lack of specialised bird services in Australia.

It was through her fifteen years of experience with various not-for-profit organisations and private veterinary clinics that she realised that where there seemed to be an abundance of specialised care for dogs or cats – nobody seemed to be focussing on birds.

That is how Bird Boarding began.

From humble beginnings in a tiny apartment (of which the entire living space was quickly taken over by bird cages), Bird Boarding now boasts a 500sqm warehouse (a decade in the making). From bird boarding the business naturally evolved to take on disadvantaged birds, abandoned birds as well as birds in general need of rehoming.

“Lamai Anne was actually one of the first clients to have had a bird re-homed by Bird Boarding (after some ill-fitting advice from a pet shop),” Nikki said.

However, bird rehoming is not a quick process. Bird Re-homing Services Inc. ensures that prospective owners are properly educated and possess plenty of understanding surrounding the particular bird that is up for adoption. On the other hand, surrenders are a much quicker process – which creates a challenge in itself.

Bird Boarding, located in North Coburg in Melbourne (full address on their website), has a range of Lamai Anne’s artworks. All proceeds from these prints go toward helping displaced birds find a new and suitable home. Drop in during their operating hours to help support this wonderful cause and learn more about birds and bird welfare. If you are after a companion bird, check out Bird Re-Homing Service's "Ready for a home" page for all the feathered friends currently up for adoption.

May 29, 2019 — Milena Tsitovitch