Rocky finds a home

Hollister police rescue neglected exotic pet parrot

Rocky, an Eclectus parrot, was living in unsanitary, unhealthy conditions before animal rescue authorities and advocates in Hollister rescued him and nursed him back to health. Credit: Hollister Police Department

Hollister police recently rescued an exotic pet parrot that was suffering from numerous complications from ongoing neglect, malnourishment, unsanitary living conditions and lack of clean water, sunlight and ventilation.

The brilliant, green-headed colorful bird named Rocky is now thriving with a new family in a much more caring, healthy home, according to authorities.

On Dec. 12, 2018, Hollister Police Animal Care and Services was contacted by Santa Cruz County Animal Control, which had received a report of a male Eclectus parrot being kept in improper conditions in San Juan Bautista, reads a press release from Hollister Police. San Juan Bautista officials were advised of the bird’s situation, and called Hollister animal control officers to investigate.

Animal control immediately responded and found the green, red, blue, yellow and gray parrot in a dirty birdcage that had been left outdoors in cold weather. The press release lists a variety of unhealthy conditions and symptoms that Rocky was suffering from: no access to clean water; signs the animal had been fed an inappropriate diet for the species; and no sunlight or ventilation in the cage. The bird had a “severely overgrown” beak and nails, making it difficult for him to eat or perch, and he was missing several feathers.

Officers learned the bird had been living in these conditions for several months, police said. Due to the concern for the parrot’s health, the officers decided to immediately seize the bird and seek immediate veterinary care.

The parrot was transported to a vet’s office, where Rocky’s beak and nails were trimmed. A veterinarian suspected Rocky’s poor feather quality was likely associated with long-term improper diet, stress and lack of socialization.

After his initial examination and treatment, Rocky was transported to the Hollister Animal Shelter to be cared for while police conducted an animal neglect investigation, according to police.

During the investigation, officers consulted with Mickaboo Bird Rescue, a non-profit organization that specializes in the care of neglected, abused and injured exotic parrots.

On Dec. 20, city officials conducted an administrative hearing to determine if the owner should regain custody of the bird. The hearing officer determined that Rocky should not be returned to his previous owner due to the lack of basic care and concern for his well-being.

Authorities did not respond when asked if Rocky’s previous owner was charged or cited for a crime.

Rocky’s health vastly improved in the weeks following his rescue, police said. While in the care of shelter staff, the bird continued to visit an avian vet for routine beak and nail trims, as well as blood tests to ensure his health continues to improve despite his previous poor diet.

Furthermore, Rocky has learned to imitate the sounds of different species that pass through the animal shelter, including chickens, dogs and cats, according to authorities. He also enjoyed treats including scrambled eggs, fruit and basking in the sunlight.

After Rocky was nursed back to health and cleared his veterinary examination, authorities sought a foster home in the community. He is now living with a family who has experience with exotic birds such as Eclectus, police said. After suffering the loss of their previous bird, the family heard Rocky’s story and decided their home would be a good fit for both species.

“Rocky will live out his days basking in his large cage, in the warm sunlight that he needs to thrive,” reads the press release. “His new ‘father,’ recently retired, has already dedicated much of his time to building new perches and toys for Rocky to continue to provide him with the stimulation he requires as an advanced species of bird.”


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