Oak Creek —The Police Department is temporarily housing a small domestic bird that was turned in by an unidentified Racine county man who discovered it near the fishing pier at We Energies on Tuesday, July 1, when it landed on his shoulder.
According to dispatchers, this is the first house bird that has been turned into the police department, which works with Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission and other shelters to return stray domestic animals to their owners.
No identifying information about the bird can be printed or photographed because officers want the bird's true owner to prove his or her ownership and describe the bird accurately.
Exotic birds that are held as pets can range in value from $20 to $800, with some worth as much as $1,600, according to Mary Zimmer, office manager at the Center for Avian Rehabilitation and Education.
The number of stray birds reported to CARE increases dramatically in the summer, Zimmer said.
While domestic bird owners are encouraged to clip their bird's wings, which prevents them from flying, many opt not to. Some do what Zimmer called a "vanity clip," which makes the wing look prettier but does not prevent flight like a traditional clipping.
People may also be negligent of open windows or assume their bird will not fly away, Zimmer added.
"I just think people don't think it's going to happen to them," said Karen Sparapani, executive director of MADACC. "People should always have a plan B because the unexpected always does happen," .
In 2013, CARE housed 367 birds. In 2012, 404 birds were brought in.
Kim Bogadi from the Community Resource Bureau at the Oak Creek Police Department said it is very common for bird owners who no longer want to own their pet to release it into the wild and assume the bird is going to survive because they can fly. But that is not the case.
"Birds usually do die outside because they are not outside birds anymore," Zimmer said. They don't know what to eat because we put food in a bowl for them."
Local shelters also see a spike in stray animals during the Fourth of July weekend.
"Generally, when the ground rattles with fireworks and thunder, a lot of dogs are afraid of loud noises and are scared and try to run," Sparapani said.
During July 3 and July 4, 21 cats and 21 dogs were admitted to MADACC.
"It's not expensive to put a tag on a dog's collar, but it is expensive to redeem them from animal control," Sparapani said. If animals do have an identification tag, they can be brought right back home.
Birds can be banded, but many owners don't think to call MADACC if their bird goes missing, Sparapani said.
"People can get the word out," she added. "Calling us is a good thing to do."
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