Curl-Crested Aracari

 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.