While there are a number of area rescue organizations working to adopt out homeless dogs and cats, there is scant attention paid to another category of pets that needs help too – homeless parrots.
“We have a growing issue in Charlotte with abandoned and surrendered parrots,” said Amber Rosintoski Doty, owner of Parrot University (Parrot U) and its nonprofit arm, Companion Parrots Rehomed.
“Sometimes their owners are physically unable to care for them, sometimes it’s a financial issue. And with an expected longevity of 70 to 80 years, it’s even more difficult to find them homes.”
But that doesn’t stop her and Companion Parrots Rehomed from trying. At any one time, the shop on N.C. 51 in Pineville may have 25 to 30 birds, fully vetted and waiting for adoption.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Charlotte Observer
With a degree in biology, Doty has worked with birds for 10 years, first at a few zoos and then at the Carolina Raptor Center. When she bought Parrot U/Companion Parrots Rehomed, the business became a family affair.
Her father and mother, Larry and Becky Rosintoski, help out in the store and also help care for Mara, Doty’s 6-month-old daughter who camps out in the classroom while Doty works with the birds.
While her husband, Alen, supports her mission to find homes for the parrots, he rarely ventures into the store, as birds aren’t on his list of favorite animals.
“Actually he’s afraid of them, but he appreciates my passion. He says I can have as many birds as I want – as long as they are at the store,” said Doty.
While she would love to go out of business – meaning all the parrots that need homes have them – she doubts that will ever happen, especially since baby boomers are starting to retire.
“It’s estimated that there are about 7.5 million parrots in the homes of baby boomers. Chances are, these birds are going to need placement in the future,” said Doty.
On the local level, Companion Parrots Rehomed has a wait list of more than 100 birds waiting to be surrendered and adopted out. That doesn’t count the birds, like the two scarlet macaws, that were rescues from a hoarding situation.
Doty says getting a bird should not be a spur of the moment decision. Just as you have to prepare your house for a new puppy, a bird is no different.
She requires all potential parrot parents to take two free classes – Parrot 101 and Avian Health and Wellness – before choosing their new bird.
“People think they want a baby bird, but they are more likely to have a successful match if they adopt one as an adult. That’s when the birds pick mates,” said Doty.
“You really don’t choose a bird, it chooses you. We think we choose them as pets, but they choose us as mates.”
Adoption fees range from $30 to $400 depending on the bird, just enough to cover the vet and quarantine fees necessary to ensure the bird’s health.
Doty says that sometimes it’s tough to see the condition of some of the birds that come to Companion Parrots Rehomed, but with the love and attention from staff and volunteers, old wounds heal and they are ready to go to their forever homes.
Melinda Johnston is a freelance writer: email@example.com
Parrot U and Companion Parrots Rehomed is at 321 S. Polk St., Suite 2C, Pineville 28134. Parrot U sells bird toys, birds cages, birdseed and everything else bird related. They also offer bird boarding. Proceeds help support Companion Parrots Rehomed and its birds. Hours are 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday – Saturday and noon- 5 p.m. Sunday, Visit them in person, or go to
Want more South Charlotte News?
To receive a weekly email of stories from Ballantyne, Cotswold, Matthews, Mint Hill, Pineville and SouthPark, go to http://signup.epiodata.com/subscription-management/CharlotteObserver/index.html. Choose “South Charlotte Community News - Weekly news from around South Charlotte”. The newsletter email is sent Wednesday afternoon.