I really enjoy going to bird-related events. Every time I go to an event, I try and get a look at what people are buying, what they’re wearing and what seems to interest them. Being an old hand at the Houston Parrot Festival, I know many of the people who attend and what to expect.
I’ve never been to “Parrot Palooza” even though someone told me that they had the pleasure meeting me at one. I’m curious to see what kind of shin-dig it is. The Midwest Bird Expo is more like a big shopping mall with some speakers throughout the day but what’s different and very cool is that they have these educational booths scattered around. People can shop for toys or a new cage, and “boop!” There’s a little display about healthy bird diets, or eggs or some other cool subject. Now that is a standout at the Expo and I haven’t seen that anywhere else. I applaud them for it. I’ve been getting to know some of the people at Midwest and I really like them. I think it’s a Midwest thing.
And like a tree, I’m starting to branch out. I made it recently to the Oasis Open House event which was wonderful, and I’ve been invited to speak at the Raleigh Durham Caged Bird Society’s event in June. I asked them what they wanted me to speak about and they’ve left it up to me. I suppose I could talk about “Chop” as it’s a big subject in my book, but then I always get questions about the Memos, the blog, and inexplicably, people want to know about my flying schedule. What’s to say? I fly to Haiti, turn around and come back. And then I do it again. And again. And yet again. I try not to think too much about it; I actually put more planning into what I’m going to have for lunch than thinking about the flight itself.
I’ve been to the Long Island Parrot Society, the Rocky Mountain Society of Aviculture, and a local bird club in Florida. So I’ve gotten around a bit. But one thing is very clear: Bird People are some of the nicest folks as a group that I’ve ever met. When I went to training at the Flight Academy almost 25 years ago, I felt as though I was walking into a snake pit. It was a very competitive environment and we were all scared to death so that was to be expected. It didn’t make it any easier, but I understood that careers were at stake here.
I had a job in a hotel in Minneapolis about 30 years ago and it was simply treacherous. The competition, back-biting and politics was hideous. Gawwwd I hated working there!
But bird people? I have had very few incidences where I wasn’t completely at ease with the people I met. I don’t know why this is.
I think maybe it’s because the tribe is kind of like a self-cleaning pool. The group sort of cleans itself. And the ones who drop out? Well, they were probably there for the wrong reasons and didn’t really belong in the first place.