The Bird at Townsend and Harrison
I pass the big house at Townsend and Harrison every day, and I always see this beautiful parrot in its cage by the window. It makes me so sad because no matter what time of the day, the bird is always there, in that cage, never let out. Does anyone else think it needs to be let out more often?
MaryAnn Johnson, May 10, 2019, 18:06:03
How do you know it’s never been let out?
Ryan Doyle, May 10, 2019, 18:07:18
Hi MaryAnn, thank you for posting about this matter. I have long been worried about the bird, too! Whenever I pass the house, I feel angry about how they can lock such a beautiful bird in that cage. Birds should not be confined in a cage. They belong to the woods. It is cruel to lock it in a house, even if an expensive-looking one.
Karen Powell, May 10, 2019, 18:09:15
Yes, I know this bird! It’s been let out of the cage only once during the last three years. The poor thing does not have any company! He/she was plucking itself once! Can anything be done?
Linda Gao, May 10, 2019, 18:16:03
SFACC—the city’s Animal Care & Control—is always an option. 415-554-6364.
Scarlett Watts, May 10, 2019, 18:57:23
MaryAnn, thanks for looking out after the bird. I don’t know about him/her, but I hope his/her situation will improve soon!
Simon Kim, May 10, 2019, 19:00:01
@LindaGao Parrots pluck themselves mostly out of sexual frustration, just saying…
Kevin Forest, May 10, 2019, 19:27:38
@ScarlettWatts Thank you, Scarlett! I am willing to rescue it. My neighbor recommended this rescue organization instead: https://www.pickaboo.org/ Do you think if I start a petition and bring it to the owner, he’d surrender the bird?
MaryAnn Johnson, May 10, 2019, 19:39:29
I actually know someone there…
Scarlett Watts, May 10, 2019, 19:40:01
Hi, just read this thread. I’m a Pickaboo rescue volunteer. I haven’t seen the bird myself, but I will make sure to check it out tmrw. I can then assess whether it is a situation we’d investigate. Thanks for looking out for the bird.
Doug Harrison, posted on May 10, 2019, 19:59:03
Don’t we have more important problems to worry about?
Lindsay Stone, May 10, 2019, 20:09:22
Hi MaryAnn! I am willing to co-sign the petition. There should be no place for animal abuse in our city.
Melissa Chavez, posted on May 10, 2019, 20:16:56
Hi MaryAnn! I just went to the house and checked the bird. From the outside, the cage doesn’t look that bad. It is hard to tell how much room it offers below the bird, but it provides at least twice the bird’s height above, so it is good. I’ve seen larger birds in even smaller cages in the past.
Doug Harrison, posted on May 11, 2019, 08:01:01
@DougHarrison Thank you for checking it out. The cage itself doesn’t concern me much. I’m more worried about her isolation—no bird nor human interaction. How can this isolation be good for her psychological well-being? Happy to jump on the phone to discuss.
MaryAnn Johnson, May 11, 2019, 08:02:59
Hi neighbors! Thanks so much for sharing your concern for the bird’s welfare. I’ll draft a petition asking the owner politely to surrender the bird to SFACC or Pickaboo for the sake of the bird’s well-being. If you’d like to co-sign it, please PM me, and I’ll send you a DocuSign link.
MaryAnn Johnson, May 11, 2019, 08:15:51
Hi MaryAnn! I am touched that you care so much about the bird. Good on you! But I wouldn’t ask the owner to surrender the bird. After all, you are in his business. Alternatively, maybe you could—or I could—tell him that you have a similar bird, and since birds need socialization, too, you thought that your bird and his bird could hang out together once in a while, in a park or something, out of home, at least. Another way is to slip in an article, a newspaper clip, or something to inform him that parrots can die from isolation. Perhaps he is simply ill-informed, and the knowledge can help him change.
Mary Keats, posted on May 11, 2019, 10:05:43
@MaryKeats Thank you for your thoughts! I see your point, but I’ve decided petition is the way to go. I don’t mean to confront and will raise this issue to the owner in the politest manner. But for the last four years, I have seen this bird being miserable in the cage, and frankly, enough is enough.
MaryAnn Johnson, May 11, 2019, 10:44:44
There may be facts that you don’t know that prevent the bird out of the cage. The owner could have a cat or a dog, you know, so he/she can’t let the bird out.
Alice King, posted on May 11, 2019, 12:12:12
@AliceKing Well, yes, but he could simply lock the cat/dog in another room, close the door and let the bird fly once in a while.
MaryAnn Johnson, May 11, 2019, 12:22:22
Hi neighbors! We’ve gathered 15 signatures so far! I plan to deliver the petition to the owner tomorrow at 3pm. If you’d like to join, please PM me. If you know anyone else who might be interested, please spread the word. Thank you! Peace.
MaryAnn Johnson, May 11, 2019, 17:04:16
Hi neighbors! A brief update on today’s petition. Karen, Kevin, Melissa, and I went to the house this afternoon and found that the owner is an old gentleman in his 80s. He is living alone, with only a help coming in each morning for one hour, cleaning and helping him with chores. His financial situation does not allow him to pay the help for a longer time, so the help couldn’t take the bird out. His own health condition does not let him take the bird out often either, and he would like to keep the bird at home for company. Given all these, we think that leaving the bird with him might be the best thing to do. We will continue to think of a way that best balances his and the bird’s welfare. We thank your concern and support over the last few days.
MaryAnn Johnson, May 12, 2019, 18:00:05
Hantian Zhang is a writer living in San Francisco. He is a data scientist by day.