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It’s been a long road…

Today marks the beginning of 6 years of fairly consistent blogging at “Parrot Nation.” I completed five years of blogging here yesterday, registering at WordPress. They sent me a notice and a short thank you note.

With this being my 520th post, I have had 4,450 comments in that time. My average over the years has been over two posts a week. Not bad.

My first year of blogging, the traffic was pretty low. I wasn’t even on Facebook. I remember thinking in the first couple of months, “Wow! I got 100 views today!” Now, I usually get that in the first couple of minutes when I post something.

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The first photo to appear on “Parrot Nation.”

It’s not that the blog wasn’t good five years ago. I had some cool stuff coming out of the work I did at the Cincinnati Zoo. It’s simply because I just didn’t have the traffic. The blog was new and face it, it’s a blog about a very specific subject.

That’s fairly normal I think, unless you’re “Pioneer Woman.” I don’t know how she did it, but she was a massive hit right out of the chute. But then, she lives on a huge, gorgeous ranch in Oklahoma with stunning views, beefy ranch hands, 4 cute kids whom she home-schools, and she has a camera from hell, shooting her food, horses, cattle, kids and of course those ranch hands.

It’s the Mommy blog on steroids. Mine is not the Mommy blog on steroids.

I’ve given this blog a lot of time, attention and I don’t know really how I’ve managed, but it’s been a long time and a lot of posts. And it’s morphed into something it wasn’t at first. I wasn’t sure-footed in the beginning. The blog didn’t know what it wanted to be. And then it began growing a mind of its own and became a combination of making fun of the situation we’re all in, as well as a commentary of events in aviculture and a dialogue with the people who belong to the “Parrot Nation.”

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My dining area PG: “Pre-Grey.” Clean and scar-free. 

I was thinking about it this morning: Why do I do it? I could be mopping the floor or cleaning out the linen closet instead of sitting here typing my words into this silver box. 

I think the answer to this is, “I really don’t have a choice in the matter.” I’m a born writer. I liked to write from the time I learned to read. And for those of you that do write, you know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s an innate thing. We can’t not write. If I couldn’t write, my shopping lists would probably get very creative.

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Here’s what I think. Many of the best in the field of Aviculture are just that. They were trainers or aviculturists or other expert in the field that had to learn to write well due to their expertise. Expert first-writer second.

On the other hand, I was a writer long before I ever had a parrot in my life. The birds followed the writing. So naturally it would be logical that my writing would take a left-hand turn into the field of aviculture.

My friend Heather is a Flight Attendant and is a very popular blogger and author about working in aviation. Naturally she gets a ton of traffic due to the subject matter. There’s a lot more people flying on planes and working in that field than those in the world of birds. So she has a big audience. Birds? Not so much. But Heather has to be very careful when she writes or posts a photo. She cannot breathe a word about who she flies for and she really has to watch what she says.

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That’s a lot of pressure. I hate pressure. If I had a deadline at BIRD TALK, I’d work long hours just to get he damned thing done early so I didn’t have to worry about it. My record was a 2000 word feature in four days. I thought my editor’s head was going to snap off. “How in the hell did you do that?” And I told her the same thing: I hate pressure.  

Many people begin a blog only to abandon it after a while. I’ve seen many falter and then fail to maintain a heart beat. if it was easy, everyone would do it. But trust me, it isn’t easy. Ask someone who’s tried. I think one of the reasons I’ve managed for as long as I have is the support I get from my blog readers (a.k.a. “Bleaders”) as well as my refusal to box myself into just writing about one thing. If you do, you quickly run out of stuff to write about.

But the world of animals is a very big one. And we’re pretty diverse. God knows we don’t all agree. And the controversy alone is fodder for a post. So if you look around long enough, you’re going to find something to write about. You simply have to sort through it.

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Keeper Ricky Kinley’s locker at the Cincinnati Zoo. Kind of like my brain…

As I start my 6th year here, I’m looking forward to providing more content worth publishing. Believe me, I appreciate your support, your comments, your input and your encouragement. It’s been a fun ride and I’m looking forward to more. Thank you all!

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