National Bird Day, celebrated each January, brings awareness of the importance of wild birds the world over and wild bird conservation. It has evolved into raising awareness about birds kept in captivity as well, including, presumably, the birds we keep in our homes! January is the month to recognize the importance of adopting rescued birds.
If you’ve been thinking about adding a bird to your family, now is a great time to consider a rescue. Many people don’t realize that it’s not just cats and dogs that need homes – there are thousands of abandoned birds around the world that are homeless. Many birds end up in in the hands of rescue organizations after new owners, unaware of the care needed, find that it is more work than they initially thought. These rescue organizations work tirelessly to find these beautiful birds forever homes.
Birds can make excellent pets and companions, but research is important before getting one. You need to know what is required to make the commitment! Rescue organizations can answer many of your questions, but do your own research using on-line resources, your local library, or bookstore. Visit your veterinarian for recommendations and find out if your veterinary practice offers bird care – if not, your veterinarian can recommend a practice that does.
Here are some points to consider when thinking about adoption:
- Birds can have surprisingly long lifespans. Small bird species can live for up to 30 years while large parrots can live well into their 70s! Find out the lifespan of the kind of bird that interests you. A pet bird is a long-term commitment.
- Normal bird behavior may be different than what you expect! For example, birds in the wild will scream to communicate with one other. Knowing how to respond (or more accurately, how NOT to respond!) if your bird screams is important.
- The daily requirements of a pet bird go beyond the simple provision of food and water each day! Each species of bird has its own unique requirements.
- Birds have a social structure that needs to be understood before acquiring a bird.
- Birds need veterinary care just as any other pet – you will need to budget accordingly. Find out how often the bird will need to see a veterinarian for preventive health care.
Once you have done your research and decide on a bird that will fit your lifestyle, contact rescue organizations in your area and meet a few birds before making a commitment to one. Consider adoption instead of purchasing a bird from a pet store – there are many birds already in need of a forever home. Before you commit to adopting a bird, check with the rescue organization to see if you can have your veterinarian check the bird over and ensure there are no unexpected health issues.
Even if you are not interested in adding a bird to your family, you can celebrate National Bird Day by learning about wild birds and the conservation efforts being made to sustain the world’s bird populations. Whether in the outdoors or in our homes, birds are important, and our world would not be the same without them.