Adoption Requirements

Getting Started

Our adoption coordinator will review your application and respond to you by email or phone. Please read our process and requirements on this page. Your understanding will streamline your application and interview.

After a successful phone interview and review by our adoption committee, you will be invited to visit the sanctuary, by appointment only, to meet the birds available for adoption. If you need to change your appointment, please give us at least 12 hours notice. No-shows will no longer be considered as candidates.

You must live in Southern California in proximity to our sanctuary. No Exceptions. We will not ship birds.

If you live in another country, you cannot adopt a parrot from us. We invite you to sponsor a special needs permanent resident instead. There are strict laws against shipping birds across international borders in order to prevent exotic species traffickers and breeders from exploiting parrots.

We know you are looking at this page and thinking, “my, so many words!” Please read on, we need for you to understand this information so that the adoption process goes smoothly for you and the parrot.


You must be at least 25 years old.

Bird experience is preferred but not necessary; however it is mandatory for adopting our larger birds.

If one of our birds chooses you, and you want to pursue it, you will be required to make a number of visits to the sanctuary to bond. If bonding on either side does not take place, you may find another bird. If not, we can place you on our waiting list.

When all parties have agreed this is a good match, the next step is a home check by our adoption coordinator. Please don’t think it is a white-glove test. We need to assess your home for safety and suitability, discuss cage placement and any concerns you may have. We would also be meeting others who live in the home and would be dealing with the bird.

Please read and discuss with our adoption coordinator our checklist that covers topics such as parrot health, safety, behavior, nutrition, cage, toys, and daily bonding time with the bird.

Mandatory clearance of ALL toxic substances: Teflon/non-stick cookware, counter top grills, continuous cleaning and/or convection ovens and Teflon coated irons, curling irons or other personal items. Teflon is highly toxic to birds. If you are not willing to do this you will not be considered to adopt from us. The bird’s safety cannot be overstated. Knowledge of toxic substances is critical and avoiding dangerous situations needs continuous, diligent attention. Parrots are extremely vulnerable to fumes such as scented candles, air fresheners, and smoke.

You must have a pre-approved, species-appropriate cage, travel carrier, and all necessary items before the bird goes home with you. Accessories, such as a variety of play gyms, toys and activities are not optional, they are necessary to avoid boredom. Avian-approved toys are essential to fulfill the bird’s natural need to chew and play, thus they must be replaced frequently. Watch zinc and lead/metals content, both are toxic. Your bird should have multiple perches in a variety of sizes to help prevent possible future problems such as foot arthritis.

A fully equipped avian first aid kit and knowledge of avian emergency care is a necessity. Some bird or pet stores sell complete kits. You should have an avian/exotics veterinarian’s phone number readily available. The Lily Sanctuary works with several, we have provided a list of avian vets in our extended area.

Once you decide on adoption, you must be willing to live your life around the needs of a companion parrot. Learn everything you can about them. Personal commitment to ongoing education is critical due to the changing world of information. We provide you with an extensive list of websites, books, dvds and other materials to guide you on your exciting new journey.

You and a Lily Sanctuary representative will sign a Temporary Adoption Contract, wherein you must agree that you will never breed, trade, sell or give away your bird. If the adoption does not work out, and we cannot help you resolve the issues, the bird must be returned to The Lily Sanctuary.

Your bird will be microchipped and registered to The Lily Sanctuary. We consider the first 90 days probationary. We will continue to follow up on the adoption for one year, at which time we will do the final home check. After a year you may transfer the Avid registration to your name as secondary or alternate owner at your expense if you wish; the transfer fee is nominal. Please notify us of any changes of address, phone numbers and email.


Owning a companion parrot is extraordinarily different from cat or dog ownership. Companion parrots can have a life expectancy of 25 to 80 years. Birds are curious, intelligent, emotional, and bond with humans, their new flock. Their vocalizing and conversations endear them to us even more. They are noisy, messy, time consuming, and expensive. And yes, they do bite.

We ask that you provide the following for your beloved parrot companion:

A daily variety of fresh foods, appropriate pellets, seed and water; 3-4 good-sized separate bowls (see safe and toxic foods lists).

Daily cage bottom paper changing and perch cleaning. Cages, stands and other bird accessories should be scrubbed and sanitized weekly.

A partial cage cover during the day can help decrease anxiety for timid birds. Don’t confuse this with cage covering because of screaming.

Provide 10-12 hours of dark, covered, uninterrupted, quiet sleep time every night.

Patience, ethical trust building activities and interaction. Our birds have come from a wide variety of situations, some very difficult, and deserve time and love. No negative discipline — yelling, beak flicking, water squirting or striking of any kind! This only degrades trust and thus creates and worsens behavior problems (biting, screaming, anger). Parrots are very different and do not respond to “dog” training methods due to the fact they are prey animals, not predators.

Complete safety from large dogs, predatory pets, and other possibly aggressive parrots, as well as safety from and for children. Rapid, jerky movements, running, aggressive (including teasing) and/or loud behavior from children or adults is equivalent to predators in a parrot’s brain. Such actions will elicit undesirable bird behavior. Remember, in the wild they are prey animals.

Daily, loving attention, handling, and 1-on-1 play time. Ambient attention is important (contact calling and talking from next room, for example). Bring your parrot with you whenever safely possible. Have several safe perches around the house where you spend your time (bedroom, study, dining areas).

Cages should be located in a clean, safe place in an area where people spend most of their time, yet out of the main traffic path. We suggest the family room or den. Kitchens are dangerous! Dangers include: smoke, hot burners, boiling and standing water — parrots can’t swim! Garages are unacceptable, as are permanent outdoor aviaries and rooms under construction.

Appropriate regular grooming, toenail/wing clipping and beak clip trimming are all necessary. Offer birdie showers for healthy feathers at least twice a week at the warmest part of the day. Oily, dirty feathers don’t zip properly or insulate. Many parrots destroy and pull out dirty, itchy feathers!

Provide adequate air conditioning, heat, humidity, and ventilation. Use fans to circulate inside/outside air especially with powder-down birds (e.g., greys, cockatoos, cockatiels).

Appropriate vacation care. Determine who can care for your bird in the event you go on vacation or need to leave for a family emergency? What is their bird experience? 
It is very important for this person to form a relationship with your bird so that your bird is comfortable during your absence.

Careful daily observation of parrot’s droppings, vocalizations, activity levels, etc. Changes can be indicative of illness. When a parrot displays signs of illness it is often already too late. In the wild it’s survival of the fittest, thus they hide illness symptoms. Consult an avian vet immediately. Unfortunately, vet bills are costly, try to budget for them.

NO smoking. If someone does, smoke away from your parrot and then wash hands before handling. There is an irritating residue of toxic chemicals left on the unwashed skin of smokers, which is readily absorbed through the parrot’s skin, feet and tongue, then ingested while self-preening.

Noise is a major factor to consider from both the owner’s perspective and that of neighbors. It is natural for parrots to vocalize, especially in the morning and at dusk. They don’t think they’re obnoxious, that’s what they do.

Start/continue your parrot book/trusted web link reference library.

We ask that you keep in regular contact with us and report any difficulties you may encounter. We are happy to follow up with behavioral suggestions and anything else you may need help with during the transition. If we don’t know the answer, we know someone who does!