While there are millions of people who care for birds worldwide, the bird world is actually a fairly small community in the United States. And with the magnification and amplification abilities of the internet, the proliferation of social media, and search engines making good information within the reach of a single click, more and more people are getting connected. Take my friend Janet:

If you ever run into her, (You will eventually. If you attend any avian related events, ask Janet how she met me. She has a very funny response.) My point is, people are actually making friends and acquaintances using social media to connect. With that, they share and exchange information, swap ideas, photos and also help, encourage and console each other during the rough times. Due to this, many friendships are developing as well as a more “family-like atmosphere.” Consequently, you just might run into your “Online Uncle Max” at a bird event. You’ve never met him before, but you feel like you already know him because you know how many birds he has, their names and the fact that his African Grey can recite Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

Me, Robin Shewokis of Leather Elves, Lisa Bono of Platinum Parrot, Jessica Pineda, Editor- BIRD TALK Magazine and Dr. Susan Orosz

Photo supplied by Lisa Bono

But of course, along with this are the feuds that seem to pop up in even the closest of clans. Yes, you end up with blood in the water occasionally as misunderstandings occur, differences of opinion pop up and flat out disrespect for another’s point of view roars through the pixels*.

(*Fun Fact #1: Pixel: ORIGIN 1960s: abbreviation of the phrase, picture element.)

There are the “junior high school Mean Girl” moments as well as the warm and fuzzies. But that even happens in the closest of families, so this is to be expected, I guess.

Despite this, the information exchange has done wonders for the companion parrots of the world. As people join this ever-growing, “Global Family,” they are learning that it’s better to adopt than buy, that an all-seed diet simply blows, and that foraging and enrichment are important for our feathered buddies. And avian nutrition? Well, let’s just say that I’m working my keester off trying to ensure that Chop is the “New Black” in a parrot’s diet. I want to ensure that Chop is a standard element in feeding a healthy diet to your parrot.

Michelle Elle’s Chop: Photo by Michelle

As I keep my head down and go on typing, more and more people are learning that this is the way to go. I have other ideas and I’m trying to develop new methods and more ways to deliver the nutritional goods. And overall, I’m really focused getting that information out.

But as people become more aware of the needs and requirements of companion birds, interest in more information about how to care for them has grown exponentially across all areas of companion parrot care. Because of this, the demand for website content, more research and answers to the growing questions about caring for the little buggers has increased. The realization and insight people have gained through the internet about the subject of Avian Husbandry has had a positive impact on everyone.

These folks who never really grasped some basic elements of the diet requirements for parrots before, are now beginning to wake up and smell the quinoa. They are beginning to ask questions and search for information as they run into others who seem to have a better grasp on how to care for their flocks. They are starting to understand that while an all-seed diet might be easier, it sure as hell is more expensive, more dangerous and will lead them and their wallet down that ugly road to Avian Vet hell.

Michelle Elle’s got it down! Photo by Michelle.

Pictured:  flax seeds, rolled oats. barley and wheat baby cereals, cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, sesame seed, wheat germ, chia seeds

Enter the Chop Concept. Good news: It’s spreading like STDs at a Florida senior citizens social center. If dietary requirements are met, foraging opportunities are presented, training is done, and a clearer understanding of the needs and prerequisites of keeping birds is acknowledged, the birds are going to get a better shot at staying put. The bird is happier and healthier which certainly plays into their behavior. And if their behavior is easier to deal with and their needs are met, we’re less likely to want give up our birds.

This certainly would ease the strain on the shelters and the adoption and rescue organizations which would free them up to present educational seminars and social gatherings; a far more positive pursuit.

But me being me, it seems as though it’s not enough. When I was at lunch with some of the attendees after my presentation at the Phoenix Landing event on January seventh, I called for a toast. I thanked everyone for coming and helping me out. I then stated that I simply couldn’t wait to see Phoenix Landing go out of business. They laughed and held up their glasses. Because I don’t think they can wait for that day either.

Actually, I think that’s what we all want.