The birds are back in Warwick.
These are no ordinary birds either. There are macaws, cockatiels, African gray parrots, conures of many different colors and cockatoos. This time there are fewer of them – about 60, or about half the birds once housed in a storefront on Warwick Avenue.
They all have something in common – all have been rescued and all are up for adoption to the right family.
Lazicki’s Bird House and Rescue is now on West Shore Road, not far from Oakland Beach Avenue. Lazicki’s landed back in Warwick after being forced to leave Wakefield. That house is being demolished to create a parking lot, Stephen Lazicki said Saturday, over the cacophony that 60 birds make. Lazicki would have preferred to wait until warmer weather to make the move, but he got an eviction notice.
Lazicki estimates 80 percent of the birds he has have been abused or abandoned. The remaining ones fall into categories where families can’t care for them or the birds have outlived their masters. Some parrots can live to 125 years.
Lazicki isn’t looking to take in additional birds, unless it’s an emergency. He wants to settle in and the birds to adjust to the environment before taking more. Nonetheless, he could always use volunteers. Caring for so many birds requires regular cleaning and feeding. So, too, is the human contact the birds crave.
Abused birds have been hit or poked with sticks, said Lazicki. More commonly, people discover they can’t cope with the chatter of a bird and cover the cage with a blanket or isolate it in another room. Lazicki rescued one parrot from a garage.
Without interaction, the birds become stressed and, in some cases, resort to pulling out their own feathers. Malnutrition is another form of abuse. One bird up for adoption had been on a diet of only hamburgers and hot dogs because that’s all its owner ate.
“They can live on just about what we live on,” Lazicki said, but he suggested staying away from a seed diet and to include fruits and vegetables. There are a few things to avoid, including avocados and chocolate and, “Jack Daniels and Budweiser, of course.”
Lazicki’s passion for rescuing birds started in 1996 when he and his wife, Diane, thought it would be fun to get a cockatiel. They were living in East Hartford and scanned the classifieds to see what they could find. They discovered a number of people were looking for homes for birds.
“We realized there was a need … that’s where it started,” he said.
Finding homes for the birds has become easier with the Internet. Lazicki has a website and inquiries come from in and out of the state.
On Saturday, Christian and Emily Kroll, who don’t live far from the University of Connecticut in Storrs, made the trip thinking they might find a companion for their conure, which they have had for 16 years. As it turns out, Lazicki has two conures up for adoption. The birds appeared to have bonded with their prospective owners. Both of them squawked constantly while standing on extended fingers and using their beaks and clawed feet to crawl up and down Christian and Emily’s arms.
“I really love the noise,” said Emily.
Christian described their bird as a better watchdog than their dog. He’s usually the first to hear or spot them when they come home and will sound the alarm that sets off the dogs.
Lazicki thought the Krolls would be a good fit, but one of his volunteers will make a visit to their house to assess conditions before an adoption is finalized. Volunteers are critical to the birdhouse. Lazicki says he can always use more volunteers as the novelty of the birds wears off and people come and go. He said volunteering is perfect for students to fulfill community service requirements. And, with the move from Wakefield, he is losing some to the distance.
Nicole Duperre is not one of the lost. She lives in Warren and spends Saturdays helping out. She has owned a peach fronted conure for two years and finds the bird a wonderful pet, despite the occasional bite.
As she talked, from a giant cage behind Nicole, a cockatoo set up an awful racket. The noise overpowered every other bird, and the volume increased the longer the bird was ignored. Maxi was jealous. As soon as Nicole opened his cage, he climbed on her arm and cocked his head to be scratched.
“They’re like people,” said Lazicki. “They like attention.”