Parker, eating bean mix.

What else can we do? We try to keep our birds happy, well-fed, trained and healthy. Most of us work at it. We learn everything we can and try our best to provide a suitable environment for them.

But after that what else is there? Well, I don’t know but I’m working on it. You see, if you’re here, you probably might pick up some good ideas here and there, but for the most part, you are here because you’re interested in birds. And if you are so interested in birds that you’ve managed to find this blog, then you aren’t who I want to talk to. Well, I do, but you know what you’re doing. You care enough to look for new information, for the next big idea. You want more. You give a damn. You already get it and want to get even better and more proficient at taking care of your birds. I applaud you.

Irena Schulz getting ready to speak at the Midwest Bird Expo

But I want to talk to the bird owners who don’t know what kind of parrots they have. And feed them nothing but wild bird seed. In a round cage. And it’s in the garage. With poop all over it. Perched on a plain wooden dowel. Or a sandpaper perch. With nothing to play with.

People at Petco attending a seminar.

I want to somehow reach those people that don’t know crap about taking care of their birds.

These are not evil people. They just don’t know any better.

They remind me of the airline passenger who tries to put this honkin’ huge suitcase in an overhead bin that isn’t even remotely big enough. It would take three people, a crowbar and an engineer to get that bag up there. Or the guy who wants to know what his next flight number is. Now how in God’s name would I know that? I don’t even know where he’s going, let alone the flight number. You realize I could riff on this for hours….

View out of my window returning from Best Friends Animal Society.

Now how do I do that? How do I get those people to join “the Parrot Nation,” as it were? How can all of us get to these people, sit them down and say, “Hey. You are doing a real bang-up job screwing up this bird’s life here.”

Now I realize this is not the most tactful way of going about things. And I wouldn’t ever really say that. But I think you get my point.

Problem is, I can’t do it alone. Barbara Heidenreich, Robin Shewokis, Dr. Susan Friedman, Kris Porter, and all of the other people working in the industry; we can’t do it alone. We can’t even get to all of these people as a team.

Bonnie Jay, Irene Pepperberg, Me and Paula Lynn Nolen Bowak

Because the people that need to learn the stuff I rant about, aren’t here at “Parrot Nation.” They aren’t on the parrot and bird forums, they don’t get BIRD TALK, and they certainly aren’t attending any seminars, conferences, or festivals. They’ve never heard of “Chop,”or  “Mash” and wouldn’t know a good bird diet if you held it under their nose. They’re buying cheap, crappy seed at a big box pet store and giving them grit.

But I’ll bet you know at least one person like this. Someone who’s just not getting it. Someone who you could help.

Now if you’re here, you know my blog isn’t the only fish in the pond. On the right of this blog, right over here,  ——————————————————————————–>

is a list of resources. Good ones. With lots of great information. From wonderful people who know what they hell they’re doing. And have written extensively about the subject of birds.

Cripes, many of these sources are where I learned this stuff. And there’s even more people who have lots to teach these people about how to properly care for their birds. Sally Blanchard, Susan Chamberlain, Liz Wilson, Julie Murad, Robin Shewokis, Barbara Heidenreich, many of the writers at BIRD TALK can all teach us about how to better care for our birds. The list is extensive. These people are all over the place and so is their information.

Robin Shewokis of “The Leather Elves”

So here’s what I want to do. I’d like you all to find one person who doesn’t have a clue and teach them. Make a connection with them. Train them. Show them. Help them. Give them the links to these sources. If they don’t have a computer, print them out for them. Share your “Chop” with them. Tell them what a good cage is. Teach them about decent perches. Start your own teaching program with just one person. If you belong to a club, drag them to one of the meetings. Begin your own teaching program because I’m not there. I don’t know these people but I’ll bet you do.

About a year ago, I was invited to speak at the Rocky Mountain Society of Aviculture. My presentation was entitled, “Making it Real.”  I had a dandy little Powerpoint Presentation to go with it, a contest and some great music and sound effects. It was fun.  I also admitted that when I first got Parker I knew nothing about birds and have spent the entire time since then making up for it. Here is a quote from part of the presentation:

Susan Friedman told me years ago that if you know more than the next person, you are bound by that knowledge to teach that person who doesn’t know. You have to pay it forward. Many people don’t think they can teach, but it can be as simple as answering some bird questions on “Yahoo! Answers.”  My God, those people need all the help they can get!


But, how many of you teach the stuff you already know?

How many of you have schools nearby? Kids? Grandkids in school?

Well, get out there! Put together a PowerPoint Presentation, or a speech with some photographs, and cobble something together.  Bird Nutrition! Conservation! Behavior training. Species specific classes. Cooking classes and bird nutrition. Go to a Scout Meeting and have everyone make a wild bird feeder. Promote Aviculture, promote your club and above all, promote education in good bird care! Use the Internet to get some ideas on what to present.”

Keeper Kim Klosterman Playing with a Kea at the Cincinnati Zoo

That pretty much sums up my point. I can’t help people if they don’t even know I exist. Barbara, Robin, Susan, Sally, Liz…None of them can do a damned thing unless people read their stuff. But that’s where you come in.

And you can make all the difference in the world to some birds who could really use your help.


Don’t forget to vote for my entry at the Quark Expeditions: