This article was motivated by interactions with my local bird rescue. Using three examples, I attempt to illustrate the importance of weighing the risk of disease with the likliehood of it happening. The goal would be maximizing the happiness of as many birds as possible, perhaps finding ways to mitigate risk rather than just refusing to take it on, losing benefits to birds in need.
If fostering and adopting birds feels like walking through a minefield, people will be less likely to become involved. We need to present people with risks that that have some probability of actually happening. Think of all the possible ways a child could get injured. Do we want to make sure a child is never exposed to any situation where they might become injured? What kind of life is that?