Can You Provide The Special Requirements Necessary
To Be a Responsible Bird Owner?
by Theresa Jordan
(from "The Quaker's Nest" Issue III, 1997)
Everyone who has ever cared for and loved a bird should be given a medal. After all, who puts up with the never-ending antics of these feathered creatures every day and is still "in love" with his feathered friend? These fun-loving creatures will at times try your patience to the limits, and the next minute will make you wonder how you ever lived without one! And although most birds are happy-go-lucky, there are *some* minor
requirements for your relationship to get off on the right foot.
In order for the bird and the bird owner's relationship to be mutually rewarding, almost all avian species have decided that one of the partners must exhibit certain qualities or characteristics. And almost all of them have also decided that it is the human partner who should be the one to display them! To give you some examples, some of these traits include, (not surprisingly):
- The ability to turn a deaf ear.
Why is that everybody knows that birds can be noisy, except for the birds themselves? Personality as well as inbred characteristics play a large part in exactly how noisy these guys will be, but the owner's response to their chatter will most certainly have an effect on whether or not it will continue, and to what decibel.
- The opinion that vacuuming is a hobby, not a chore.
Wouldn't it be wonderful to actually enjoy vacuuming, sweeping, dusting, and birdcage cleaning? Does such a person really exist? Your feathered friend might decide that you fit that description, and will be more than happy to accommodate your needs, just to ensure that you know you are appreciated!
- The patience of Job.
Yours will be sorely tested when you try to get your bird buddies back in their cages after a few hours of sun, fun, TV, and popcorn. (And just like children, they may have to be coerced or bribed.)
- Handyman/woman capabilities.
Have you ever had a bird that assisted you in changing the look of your home? Unsupervised, these interior decorators can change the look of your home without looking at a single "how-to" book! Diverting their attention with toys usually works well, especially if they are taught from the beginning exactly what they are and are not allowed to chew on. Birds are natural born chewers, so it would be practical to keep on hand several items that they are allowed to destroy. Attempting to teach your bird not to chew on anything, or punishing it when it chews on something will only result in frustration for both of you.
- The ability to rise and shine.
To some birds, there is something magical about the rise of a new day. This in turn requires them to notify the entire neighborhood of the blessed event! If they do happen to remain silent, we wonder what sort of mischief they are up to, and it doesn't take long for our curiosity to get the best of us!
- Doesn't mind a little mess sometimes.
Show me an immaculate bird room, and I'll guarantee it's someone's full time job. Where is it written that a bird has to dunk in water everything it gets? And who told them that the best part of the food is always in the bottom of the food dish? (This rule, by birdie law, requires them to scoop all the freshly poured food off the top and drop it on the floor, giving them access to the "best" of the goodies at the bottom.)
- Doesn't think sharing a dinner plate is gross.
This, of course, is mandatory for any sociable bird owner. Any objections on your part will grant you a look of utter disbelief. It is birdie law that anything you are eating is better than anything your bird is eating.
- Time on your hands.
Birds don't just seek attention--they demand it. And if you don't give it to them----well, you will!
- Money to burn.
Don't forget to budget in all those little extras that you didn't have before. When your bird food bill surpasses your people food bill, you know you're in trouble! And don't forget the toys! Toys are mandatoryToys are
mandatory for birds, whether home-made or store-bought----these little guys will play with anything, but beware---they do become bored easily. Toys must be rotated frequently.
- The right decision regarding wing clipping.
I've heard every excuse imagineable given by bird owners who do not, for some reason or another, clip their birds wings. I myself was absolutely postive that I could provide the safest environment possible for my sun conure -- *without* clipping his wings! I was adamant that *I* was too careful, too responsible, to
ever let anything happen to him. I was wrong.
- Lots of love!
Like any other pet, birds require a lot of love and attention. They literally thrive on it. And you will thrive on the love and attention you receive in return!
If you are willing to accept these "requirements", then you are indeed ready to be owned by an avian companion! Birds are unlike any other pet you may have, and once you share your life with one, you will wonder how you ever lived without one.
Theresa Jordan/Jordan Enterprises, 1997
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