I am sure most of you have been in bird groups, or chatted with someone at the pet store about bird ownership, or just in general talked to other bird people. The one thing that is common in most of these situations.... bird people are judgmental! For 2021 I am going to try to be less judgmental, and also not take other people's judgements personally. Here are some changes I am making in regards to each major issue of bird ownership: Birds are loud - Imagine a train horn, in your house, echoing off the walls. Granted, not all birds are THAT loud, but some are. Be supportive of the tolerance level of other bird people, your family, and anyone who may come over. If you are visiting my home this year, expect to be issued ear plugs upon arrival. Birds can (and will be) naughty - Our birds are like our children, you always want them to be on their best behavior, be quiet, use their manners and go to the bathroom in the right place. Some birds can accomplish being "good little birds," but not all of the time. If you come over and my bird says, "I just pooped on you," I'm just going to laugh about it, and if he really did poop on you, I may offer you a paper towel and praise him for using the correct context. Birds are messy - I am personally not someone who likes to sweep my floor every 10 minutes, so expect there to be pellet bits, raw vegetables, toy particles or whatever else on my floor at any given time. If you happen to be near one of the birds who likes to throw things, you should expect to have a water dish or food dish dumped on you, then for the bird to laugh. The change I will be making this year is I would like you to pick up whatever dish was thrown, refill it and give it back to the bird to throw again. Birds bite - I will do my best to keep the birds who bite regularly away from you. Just by entering my home, you should anticipate the chance to be bitten, as well as acknowledge that if you do get bit, it was your fault. This year, instead of regular run of the mill Band-Aids, I will keep a good stock of Bravery Badges. Birds in public places - If you happen to see me out and about with a bird, you are welcome to say, "hi." I know it's exciting to see birds, but why not make it entertaining for myself too. If you ask any of the following questions, here are the responses you are going to get: Is that a bird? - What bird? Is that bird real? - No, Jim Henson created it for me. Can I pet your bird? - You will have to ask the bird. How old is your bird? - Older than you... Can your bird fly? - No, he upsets the flight attendants. Can your bird talk? - I can usually get him to talk if you do the Chicken Dance.
By Tara Smith Tara is a Board Member and serves as the Foster and Intake Coordinator for Exotic Bird Rescue of Oregon. She and her family care for a mixed flock of 15 birds, both personal and foster. Tara particularly likes working with birds who pluck or have special needs.