by CAROL ANN KAMINSKI
FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE PARROT FANCIERS' CLUB, INC.
PARROT HAVEN ASSISTANT
LONG ISLAND, NEW YORK
Interview your sitter. Let the bird meet the sitter prior to the job. Obtain references. Ask questions.
What is your birds' routine? What foods does he like and what time are meals and snacks served? Inquire as to what supplies are needed.
Leave a note stating your vet's name, number and permission to treat your bird, along with an agreement to pay any related costs if your bird needs medical attention while you are away. Leave a method of payment.
Make sure you give the date of you arrival and departure.
Be courteous. Call the sitter if there are any changes in travel plans. You wouldn't want your bird left alone for an extra day or two because the sitter thought you were coming home and never made it. Also your sitter may have made other commitments. Do not take advantage of the sitter.
List the birds' band number, name and species on the contract. Be sure your birds' wings are clipped and nails are trimmed. Your bird is more prone to be spooked with a stranger present and may startle easily, flying off into the wild blue yonder or smashing into a mirror.
Leave the phone number of a family member or a friend. Someone who recently took a trip made up a book with photos of each of her 10 birds and a short history of each bird: who likes what and who gets medication, etc?
It's also a good idea to label the different foods for each bird if you have birds ranging from canaries to tiels to greys.
Have written permission for the sitter to enter your home. Leave a phone number of where you can be reached. Make sure a key is available and that the necessary doors are left unlocked. If you have an alarm, give the sitter the code.
All these details will make you more relaxed, knowing that all your babies' needs have been taken care of. Have a great vacation knowing that your birds will be well taken care of.