You’ve chosen to keep birds. By choosing to keep birds, you have chosen a way of life. Not just a lifestyle, but you have managed to select a lot in life that somewhat compromises your choices and courses of action. In some ways this is grounding. It gives you a direction, a purpose and a place in a society and a culture that you have joined just by keeping birds.
There are a lot of bird people. And many of us know each other believe it or not. I happen to know a ton of them due to my participation in the field on many levels. This blog, my work at BIRD TALK and by just showing up at events has allowed me to meet a ton of people that I wouldn’t have met otherwise. Facebook cracked it wide open and now access to bird people all over the world is entirely possible. I prefer it to most of the bird forums because the forums seem too “bland.” FB is a far more vivid and colorful platform. And unless you’re a really colorful writer, it simply doesn’t come across.
Despite this access, it still comes down to you in your home with your birds. And despite our ability to access new ideas, new techniques, new and better ways to house,train and care for them, it’s still you and the birds. And not once have I ever seen Parker try and clean his own cage. Or help me make bean mix. Or assist with a myriad of other things that need to be done to keep things clean and the birds well fed.
Parker Having Tea
Sounds to me like someone has the upper claw and it’s not me.
It comes down to this: We have chosen a lifestyle that involves one big-assed load of work. And it’s not about us, it’s about them. It’s for them. And for some bizarre reason, we are supposed to take great delight in this exercise.
What in the hell were we thinking? Where is the satisfaction? What is the payoff?
I can’t answer that for you.
But I’ve figured it out for myself: It sure as hell beats doing nothing in my life.
It’s given me some amazing gifts and some incredible opportunities. It has added to my life experience in ways that are still astounding to me.
Oasis Sanctuary Bird
Life is a series of experiences. It’s up to us as to what to do to make our experience here on earth how we want it.
Birds are one way of expanding yourself and your life out of that box of the every day experience into another world and another lifestyle. By forcing you to be creative, to be disciplined, to be consistent, to be everything you need to be when you have birds in your life, it changes something in you. In most cases, it makes you a better person. I find that extraordinary. And when it comes down to it, I think learning to be a better person is the entire point.
June 19, 2011 at 8:45 am
What a thought provoking blog~
I was “thinking” that my daughter (then 2 years old) needed a pet that she was not allergic too (at 22,she has now outgrown allergies to dogs & cats). Reptiles and rodents were not on my list, ever!
I even know why I have the birds I do. I knew better than to pick others.
I have seen the dusty mess cockatiels leave , heard the noises that conures and cockatoos make, know that big beaks (large macaws) intimidate me and I truly dislike the natural odor of Amazons.
I have been very lucky to have experienced all of the above through bird clubs & breeders before I considered adding any of them to my flock.
I prefer, above all others, the Timneh African Greys, or any Grey.
There are far too many uninformed buyers out there that choose a bird to “decorate their living room” or “entertain the kids”~
It is up to bird owners & bird clubs to educate the public about the “hazards” of bird ownership.
I actually have stuffed parrot that I take along and put on a t-stand at public events and I will tell people,”if you don’t like cleaning up food, poop and chewed up toys from the floor daily, relish the peace and quiet in your home and do not want to have this as a persistant part of your day for the rest of your life, this is the kind of bird you need” (and point at the stuffed one).
It is a very big decision to add a companion parrot, that may outlive you, to your home.
The “satisfaction” in having them is that I wake up to pleasing sounds in the morning (“jungle alarm clock”), love their ability to pick up on a conversation or song and complete it whether it is whistled or sung & absolutely love the way they smell when their feathers are ruffled. All of mine know that a neck scritch is followed by a big nose rubbing in the same area!
Mine will tell me when they need water, want food or a treat, when the dogs or cats are in the aviary room and when they want to get out of their “rooms” (cages).
“The payoff” is that the mess they make is infinitesimal to the enjoyment they give me every day~
Thanks for prompting me to answer the questions; “What the Hell were we thinking?”, “What is the satisfaction?” and “what is the payoff?”