For the birds displayed at 40% of viewport width
December 2018 by V. R. Duin


“Ack, Ack! Ack! Don't be cheap.
Bring us goodies, bring us a treat.
We don't have to wait on you.
You must share the work load, too”.

Dolly the Parrot, a book character and child education co-pilot argues why “for the birds” is not a suitable description for a bird cage, bird owner or bird dish.

Lonely and Quiet World?

Fine and Dandy? Some landlords and homeowner associations prohibit pets from living on premises. Birds are among domesticated animals working as emotional support animals. They break cold silence with words.

House Pets? Chickens may be happier outside with their flocks. Flock size may be limited by law. The health and safety of the flock is determined by the caring, knowledge, discipline and skill of the owner.

Picture Perfect? Some municipalities welcome hens, but disallow roosters. Are they discriminating by sex or by sound? Some places subject backyard chickens and coops to periodic inspection for zoning permits or renewal.

All Together Now? Permission from neighbors may be necessary. Nuisance complaints about noise, smells, filth, flock size and improper manure or carcass disposal may follow. Operations must meet any governing codes.

In the Clear? Landlords and rental management companies rarely collect pet deposits or monthly charges for fish or birds. When damages exceed these security payments, problem owners get evicted, including those with birds.

Hold It? Leniency may come with assumptions birds are caged. Fowl must be free to move and fly around. Wing flapping exercises do not offer the benefits of flying. It is unhealthy for birds to live out their lives in cages.

Tension? It is no secret; birds are not always in coops or cages. Some of them serve as comforting and loving lap or shoulder companions. Wild birds seek companionship in the flock. Unaccompanied birds get stressed.

Collective mindset? A bird in a cage is not the same as a dog or cat running loose. Feathered pets do not fill the news with liability caused at private or public housing. Still, poultry gets lumped with problem rodents and reptiles.

Chore Time?

Face It? The bigger the bird, the bigger the destruction. The Parrot Enrichment website discusses Toys and toy categories. Busy pets cause less disaster to wood, electrical cords, leather products, paper or curtains.

Sitting Pretty? Birds do not want messy homes. They clean house and amuse themselves by launching food and hulls between the bars of their cages. Birds foraging in full dishes also are entertaining themselves.

Fertile Ground? Bird droppings, inside and outside, can harbor diseases. Droppings land everywhere. Care must be taken to keep toddlers from playing with them. Down, dander and feathers may cause allergic reactions.

Form and Function? Wild birds' eating habits feed creatures under trees. In return for around-the-clock care, birds provide valuable benefits. Beyond free eggs, the physical activity of pet care is healthy. Animals are educational.

Creative Culture? Birds express themselves with colorful trinkets and toys. Some species obsess with decorating arrangements. A safe supply of bling and reflective mirrors may stimulate and entertain them for hours.

Homemade and Purchased? Toys challenge birds to forage, chew, separate and shred items, stimulating work in the wild. Styrofoam products cause toxic reactions. Woven ones create deadly entanglements.

Distress? When a bird stops preening, it needs evaluation. Change of diet, bathing or veterinary treatment may be required. A bird must Eat Like a Bird and preen to have the healthy sheen valued by owners of these feathered pets.

Get Hopping? Daily cleaning in and around pet areas is required. Dirty cages, dishes, perches, toys and surrounding areas are not suitable for birds or owners. Filth is a source of contagious infections and illnesses.

First Hand? Cages or coops need care. Hand-held vacuums are helpful for cleaning discarded seed hulls, down and feathers. If feces don't dry like cement, a scrub brush may not be needed to wash the area.

Going to the Birds? The expression means things are going poorly. This is the case for birds in wet cages. Liners are paper products. They fall apart and soak residents. Restoration costs may depress friends of the distressed fowl.

Wrap Up? Wing clipping is controversial. It is intended to prevent escape or endangerment. Done incorrectly, at a young age or to just one wing, it interferes with the natural flight reflex. Attempts may result in harmful falls.

Neighbors Helping Neighbors?

Learn to Love Birds? Bird owners learn how much their hard-working birds give in return. This awareness may help reduce animal suffering. All the while, birds save money by laying eggs and time by recycling food waste.

Natural Pest Control? Birds eat crop-destroying bugs. Disease-carrying mosquitoes, ticks and fleas with Dengue fever, West Nile Virus, Lyme disease, Encephalitis, Chagas disease or Malaria disappear into birds.

Canary in the Coal Mine? Researchers at the National Audubon Society report the disappearance of world bird populations at an unprecedented rate. This loss largely is attributed to pesticides, predation and climate change.

In 50 Years? A recent study found bird populations declined 29 percent since 1970 in North America. The drop in grassland species was 53 percent. Raptor and water fowl population growth was attributed to hunting laws.

Stark Trend Birders have noticed the disappearance of the birds they watch. Who wouldn't recognize the loss of one-third to one-half of their wealth? This decline needs to be reversed, before it becomes too late.

Help on the Way? Strikes and marches for climate control and animal protection cannot await Earth Day. Efforts to slow deforestation, change agricultural practices and stop predation must become everyday events.

House Cats? Inside is where these bird killers should stay. A 2015 study found cats to be the number two cause of disappearing birds. They hunt for pleasure rather than for food. Aware owners can arrest this problem.

Body Care? Because birds birds can see UV light, the cat-killing problem may be reduced by UV-reflecting collar materials in bright colors. Bells also make feline predators more obvious to birds.

Enjoy the following video. Take a nature break as V. R. Duin's “grand chicks” chow down, settle in and doze off in their bird dish. There is calming sound. The video was provided courtesy of her daughter. (21 seconds)

Starting to Settle In and Doze Off