On January 5th, we celebrate National Bird Day.
Did you know that one of the fastest growing group of discarded pets in this country is the exotic bird?
And while we hear a great deal about displaced dogs and cats and the protection and anti-cruelty laws that have been enacted for their protection, birds are often ignored or short-changed when in comes to protection under anti-cruelty and pet shop laws.
In the 1990's, exotic birds became the fastest-growing pet of choice. Since 2000, there are well over 100 bird rescues or sanctuaries across the country, caring for hundreds of unwanted and abused birds in need of rescue and lifelong new homes. It is also believed that potentially untold thousands more exotic birds languish, ignored and most likely in a state of deprivation, in their cages.
Why has this happened to these magnificent birds?
Because in many cases the bird owner or, their family members, are rarely educated or understand the total commitment necessary for the care and special needs of the exotic bird. The bird may exhibit behaviors like biting, aggression or self-mutilation. The birds are prone to making loud noises and the area around the cage of one of these birds will always be a mess. It doesn't take long before the novelty of owning an exotic bird becomes a nuisance and the birds is then often left alone in a cage without adequate socialization, medical care, food, water or clean living conditions. Countless other birds will be physically abused, given away to another person who has no idea how to care for it, released outside to fend for itself, simply abandoned in an empty house or apartment, or they simply perish.
National Bird Day, is an opportunity to learn how to work to protect these magnificent creatures through public education. It is also the time to raise awareness about the enormous global influence and the devastating effects on wild parrot populations because of the impact of exotic bird trade. The parrot species, more than almost any other major group of birds, is now globally threatened and could well become extinct if actions to reverse the current trends are not taken.
If you are interested in learning more about the plight of exotic birds, you could begin with the resources listed below.
The Avian Welfare Coalition is a working alliance of veterinarians, conservationists, avian welfare and animal protection organizations dedicated to the ethical treatment of exotic birds. For more information about the AWC please visit their website.
The Animal Protection Institute is a national non-profit animal advocacy organization with 85,000 members, working to protect animals from cruelty and exploitation through legislation, litigation, and public education. For more information about API’s exotic bird campaign, please visit their site.
Crayola Activities for Kids Fun and educational projects for kids for National Bird Day.