This just isn't what Stephen and I
had planned when we married in 2004. We thought we'd be here in the US
at least until I could retire. You see... I really loved the company I
was working for and could not fathom leaving. But things there changed
for the worse and I finally gave up, resigning my position in March 2006.
If you do much "self-help" reading
(as I do) you will have run across this question:
could live anywhere, do anything, if money were no obstacle...where
would you be and what would you be doing?"
I used to hate
questions like that because they lead to ridiculous
"what-you-can-never-have" answers. But just this once, I
could imagine a
future for myself that was possible and attractive to both me and Stephen.
We decided to move to Australia.
Doing that requires a
lot of planning, money, and (for me, at least) more than a little courage.
But I know that sometimes good things that God has planned for me require
some effort on my part. So we downloaded Australian spouse-visa
forms, looked into the immigration laws and started thinking about what we should
take with us or leave behind.
What about our birds?
Australian customs and
import laws are very strict. The Australian people truly treasure
their native wildlife and environment, and their laws reflect their
concerns. Too many non-native species are already in Australia, creating
havoc and in many cases crowding out the precious native species.
hoped there would be a chance that we could bring our avian family with us,
and as soon as I was sure we were moving, I started looking into what would
So here is what
|Did a "Google" on the topics
"international pet bird import Australia" and found an interesting page
which talks about getting
import permits for pet birds. I also posted a couple of
"requests for experience and information" on 2 parrot-centered message
boards that I frequent.
Found 2 "we'll move your pet" businesses on the
web, and got a 3rd recommended by a friend. Sent emails to all 3
|We've heard back from the 3
- One sent a quote
- One sent an email saying you can't
import birds to Australia
- One sent a general contact email
asking us a few questions about where we are in the process of moving
(I replied to them but haven't heard back from that reply yet).
I also talked to the man who owns the
aviary where we got Jesse, and he indicated that he's pretty sure moving
her to Australia is possible. We're still hopeful, but the $$ in
the quote we received make us think we won't be able to afford taking
the whole flock with us, even if we can get their import approved.
|Heard back from the 3rd
moving company. The representative assured me that they have moved
parrots (legally) to Australia sometime in the last 3 years, but
suggested I should call AQIS to see if anything has changed due to the
current "bird flu" scare.
After tons of emails and a couple
of long-distance phone calls, we have our answer:
We found that the AU body "AQIS" administers the import/export
regulations and "Biosecurity Australia" apparently sets the regulations.
The Biosecurity folks told me that they are "reviewing" the import of
pet birds, but currently aren't allowing it. Apparently the review has
been underway for quite a while (years?). They did offer to have us
register with them as "stakeholders" - which means we'll be given
updates if and when they occur. We did that, of course, but we realize
that the situation is probably hopeless.
So what will we do? Honestly, I don't know. I don't like our choices:
give up the idea of moving - or give up our pets.
I guess I'll just pray for a miracle.
We continue to monitor the happenings with
AQIS and the Biosecurity group, but it's pretty clear that there's no
My "spouse visa" arrived from the Australian
government. We put the house up for sale and started seriously
talking to people about adopting the birds. A good friend of mine
took Bubba and Aussie to live with her. It was terribly hard to
see them go, but I am comforted by the fact that they clearly like her
and she's wild about them. I know it's a good match for everyone.
I found someone
interested in Pakshi who would be perfect for him (and Pakshi clearly
liked) but that fell through when we realized that the man's wife is
violently allergic to birds.
exhausted all the possibilities with people I already know, I realized
I'd have to advertise - so I contacted our local bird club and put an
online classified ad up on a popular website. I have been
surprised at the number of people who are contacting me expressing
this point we had plane tickets for the move to Australia. The
clock was ticking and I was becoming anxious about finding a suitable
home for the remaining birds. I had quite a few inquiries, but
turned down every one of them because the people who were contacting
me were clearly not suitable.
found a home with a nice woman who had not had a bird before, but
clearly was nuts about Forte. She showed interest in learning
and spent some time showing me that she'd take care of
Theresa, members of the bird club, adopted Pakshi. Seeing Pakshi
go with them was the hardest adoption for me. I loved all our
birds, but Pakshi was special because he actually chose me as opposed
to me choosing him. When they came to get him, Frank and Theresa
fell in love with Jesse as well, and they adopted her,
the 10th, we boarded our plane in Columbus, Ohio and bid a final
farewell to the place and people we love and knew so well. We
arrived in Australia on the 12th and began our new life.
and Theresa have become friends as a result of the adoption, and we
hear from them regularly. Pakshi and Jesse are in a loving home
with people who treasure them as we did.
Aussie's new mom keeps me up on their antics as well. They have
brightened her life and she's proven to be an excellent "parront".
Forte's new human did not keep in touch with us, so I can only hope
that she has done as well as our other parrot companions.
and I went back to the US for a short visit. While there we were
able to visit Bubba, Aussie, Pakshi, and Jesse in their new
homes. They are all doing great, and I put together a "reunion
page" with photos.
been participating in an Australian-based bird forum for several
months. One of the members there (someone who was subsequently
banned from the forum by the administrator) had been acquiring birds,
keeping them a while, and then dumping them so he could turn around
and get more, newer birds. His attitude upset me a good deal,
how could he be so callous? But then I thought about what I had
done... and was prompted to write this:
never "get over" love
« Thread Started on Sept 26, 2008, 8:09pm »
It's been nearly 2 years now since I came to this country. Many
of you know my story - and about the birds I left behind. Have
to say that even after 2 years I still miss them. I guess I'll
always miss them.
When hubby and I first decided to immigrate to Oz, we really
thought we'd be able to bring the fids. But we were oh, so
We had to find homes for 2 canaries and 5 parrots (Catalina
Macaw, Hahns Macaw, Sun Conure, Black Capped Conure, Cockatiel).
You can ask my hubby - with each adoption I was a basket case.
Cried until I thought I couldn't cry anymore. OH, God... and as
hard as it was for me, I know it was harder for them. After
all.. I understood what was happening - and I knew the homes
they were going to (and that they'd be loved and treated
well). The birds, however, had no idea what was going on -
they had no choice, no option.
I will never forget the look that Jesse (Catalina Macaw)
had on her face when her new family carried her out to their
car. Oh, God, just about killed me. She was so frightened, so
confused and hurt. Via circumstances which I won't go into here,
I ended up being in the waiting area of the vet's office later
that same day when her new owners took her to have her wings
clipped (I'd kept all my birds full-flighted). I can still hear
her anguished screams as the vet cut her feathers. I agreed with
the new family's reasons for what they did... but it just killed
me to be there in the next room knowing what she was going
through and powerless to comfort her.
2 years have gone by and it still hurts. I still ache for each
and every one of them, and it's hard to live with the fact that
my decision to move here caused them all so much pain (certainly
more than it caused me). I'm comforted because their new
families have kept in contact and I get regular updates (and
I was able to visit 4 of the 5 last May when I returned to Ohio
for a visit). But I can never forget that these wonderful
creatures went through a lot of pain because of me.
Please please remember that as much as you love your birds -
they love YOU more. It's not fair. But it's true.
I am not writing this because I want absolution from members
here - but because I want us all to remember that we must never
take lightly the relationships we form with our avian
companions. Never kid yourself that rehoming a bird is no big
deal. It IS a big deal to the bird. They are not possessions...
they are beings who love, hate, fear, and all the rest. If we
cannot respect their feelings, we do not deserve to have them in