National Bird Day

I’ve been into birds for a long time. So it came as a very pleasant surprise to me when I came across a reference of the National Bird Day celebration coming up on January 5th. What a cool idea! What better way to show and educate people on how to care for their birds, and become aware of the different types of pets available and products that are sold.

Wow, what a disappointment! This thing is the complete opposite. This whole thing is being coordinated by the API and AWC, both of which are PETA wanna-be’s trying to end the entire bird pet trade! By carefully disguising this celebration as some sort of education packed date, it’s nothing but a recruitment drive to get members to join their group.

WHO ARE THESE GUYS?

The Animal Protection Institute (API), and the Avian Welfare Coalition (AWC) have only one agenda. Their goal is to completely stop the breeding and sale of pet birds, and thereby preventing you from owning one. They are totally against the sale, trade, or use of birds as pets.

To accomplish this, they hide behind the arguments that pet stores abuse birds and do not know how to care for them. They point out mass bird farms designed to breed birds for the purpose of pet store chains. They point out the poor conditions these birds live in.

But while they cast out this huge net, they are also punishing bird breeders who love their hobby and their birds. They also penalize the pet owner, accusing them of being barbarians, for the “displacement and suffering of captive birds” by keeping them in cages throughout their lives, and “not contributing to the viable preservation of the species”.

They are labeling me, a bird breeder, and everyone like me as evil! This is nothing but nonsense!

THE FACTS

I think that the National Bird Day needs to be taken away from these activists. For starters, there already is a “Bird Day” celebration that has been held every year since 1894, which happens every May 4th. But since this day was designed to “recognize, appreciate, and enjoy birds”, it does not fit into their militant agenda. Therefore, they set January 5th for their day of protest.

I think it’s very important that you, the bird hobbyist, the bird owner, the bird breeder, and BIRD LOVER need to also get your voice heard.

How many endangered species of birds have been brought back from near-extinction due to the efforts of bird breeders? How many birds have been saved by the efforts of bird lovers who oversee even the wild bird population?

Is it fair to you, the bird owner, to be lumped in with a very small group of irresponsible bird breeders and subsequently be punished by having your bird taken away from you? That is, after all, the goal of these two groups.

Therefore, everyone needs to join Sapphyre and I in celebrating National Bird Day on January 5th….but for the RIGHT reasons, by educate people about pet birds and how to care for them.

We certainly do not condone the way some breeders raise their birds. But to allow these two groups to pass laws similar to those that were passed in California, which virtually prevents the breeding of birds altogether, is simply wrong. We need to speak up and use our influence to change the agenda of these two groups. Or at the very least, let people know these groups do NOT speak for the vast majority of bird owners in this country.

You don’t solve the problem by destroying an entire pet trade! Do you seriously think that will stop the abuse? Has any of the thousands of laws pass in this country prevented the abuse of dogs and cats? Wouldn’t taking all of this time, money, and energy and using it to educate bird owners be a better way to go?

So go ahead and celebrate National Bird day…but do it for the right reasons. If bird owners do not take a stand now, you will certainly pay for it in the future.

Related posts:

  1. Attending a Bird Show
  2. Join a Bird Club
  3. Sharing a Bird Cage
  4. The Two Minute Guide To Owning a Bird
  5. Are You Looking To Buy Unweaned Birds?

Comments

33 responses to “National Bird Day”

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  1. Paul says:

    Do you have answers to these questions you posed?

    1) How many endangered species of birds have been brought back from near-extinction due to the efforts of bird breeders?

    If you’re talking about hobby breeders or breeders producing birds for the pet trade, the answer is zero. If you’re talking about scientists keeping a captive parrot population alive in captivity for a couple of generations, a few. If you’re talking about anyone breeding parrots in captivity and successfully releasing them to survive and reproduce on their own in the wild, it’s zero.

    2) How many birds have been saved by the efforts of bird lovers who oversee even the wild bird population?

    Again, when have amateur “bird lovers” been in the position to “oversee” a wild bird population. I don’t understand this statement.

    — Paul

  2. Emily says:

    Wow. This article is so judgemental and defensive. You consistently use terms of ownership when referring to birds. Not everyone who loves birds believes that it is their unalienable right as a human being to “own” one. We are talking about living, breathing creatures here, not inanimate property. You do not have the “right” to “own” birds. They are not “pets” existing solely for your enjoyment or so you can have enjoy your hobby. They are wild animals and deeply sentient beings that hav been forced to live in captive conditions that very rarely are able to meet their wild, natural needs.

    Many pet stores DO abuse birds and DO NOT know how to care for them. Not all, but most. In your insistence to outline your version of the facts, you fail to acknowledge THAT is a fact as well. Ther ARE mass production bird breeding facilities that breed birds for profit with lack of regard to the welfare of their avian wards. Captive exotic birds DO suffer at the hands of people who claim to “love” them. These organizations push for further restrictions so that those stores and breeders who abuse birds are not allowed to do so. As a breeder, if you are responsible and your practices are humane and in the best interest of the birds, you should not be threatened by further restrictions on the sale and breeding of birds.

    Bird breeders DO contribute to the displacement of captive exotic birds. That is also a fact. There are far more birds out there in need of homes than there are people to care for them. THAT is a fact. Avian rescues are overflowing with birds in need of homes and all of these birds came from breeders who “love” their birds. Why breed more when there are so many homeless birds already? Because YOU love to do it? It is at the expense of the birds that you practice your “hobby”.

    What experience do you have on the other end of the spectrum, the rescues in which these birds end up? Have you visited one? Have you seen the thousands of birds without homes in any given rescue? They all came from breeders. Many breeders simply don’t know that their birds end up in rescues because they are unable to keep track of them.

    If you had adequately researched the API and AWC before making your judgements, you would learn that they are not opposed to breeding of birds to maintain the viablility of the wild populations of the species. Your accusation that these organizations are against such practices is completely false, as is your insinuation that these groups will “have your bird taken away from you”.

    I encourage you to learn all sides of a story before publicly making such judgemental and false statements.

  3. Sarah says:

    If one of the goals of API and AWC is to commendere birds that are in homes, what do they think they are going to do with all those birds?

  4. Matt says:

    Sarah, your comments are 100% FALSE and nothing more than the typical scare tactics used by the pet trade so you can continue to make a living off birds. Please provide proof that this is the goal of the AWC and API, not some rhetoric as you have clearly displayed. The AWC and API promote adoption which would require the bird actually being placed IN your home and not TAKEN from your home. Please educate yourself on the difference.

    I think anyone reading this article should do their own research into what National Bird Day is really about. On top of that, they should also discover what the author of this blog is all about (thetameparrot.com). I think the average intelligent person will realize which group is making money off of these sensitive and intelligent animals by selling programs to tame your wild animal and which groups are operating strictly based on the protection of the animals, for the animals. I see the difference, do you?

  5. Susan Dobrowolsky says:

    There seems to be a paradox here. When I go to the Avian Welfare Coaltion site or the Animal Protection Institute’s site, I see no mention anywhere of people having their parrots or pets taken. In fact, I read lots and lots of suggestions to adopt parrots and how to provide loving, enriching homes and environments. Could you please direct me to the factual basis of the statements that either of these organizations would have people no longer caring for animals? This claim is what really sounds like propaganda, and quite frankly, slander.

  6. Jerry says:

    The only rhetoric out there is coming from the activist groups. Or are you denying that the API and AWC are NOT trying to shut down every bird breeder and pet store in the country with their sponsorship of wacko pet laws?

    Go to their website….read their goals carefully, and you can decide for yourself.

    While I support the general idea of this group, their methods are a bit to left-wing for me.

  7. Emily says:

    I am wholeheartedly denying that the AWC is trying to “shut down every bird breeder and pet store in the country with their sponsorship of wacko pet laws”! It is an entirely false statement! I have extensively examined their website and it is clear to me that the goal of the AWC is to be an adovacate for the well-being of captive exotic birds who are suffering. What is wrong with that mission? That it may restrict your “hobby”? If your birds are not suffering, what are you so threatened by?

    Their mission statement as printed on their website “…is to raise awareness about the plight of parrots and other captive birds and to serve as an educational resource for the humane community, law-makers, and the general public.” It says absolutely nothing about trying to “shut down every bird breeder and pet store in the country”. It is also clearly stated on their website that they work towards “preventing the abuse, exploitation, and suffering of captive birds, address the crucial issues of rescue, placement, and sanctuary for displaced birds, advocate for legal protection for birds living in captivity, and support legitimate conservation programs that may ensure the survival of wild birds and the protection of their natural habitats.” What is so “wacko” about that?

    One of the principles of the AWC is to “promote responsible guardianship of all captive birds”. Obviously the people who believe that the AWC is trying to take away their “right” to “own” birds did not read the AWC’s principles and goals statements before spouting off false statements about the organization as the AWC clearly states on their website that they support caring for captive exotic birds in a responsible and humane way.

    Another principle states, “We support and encourage responsible legislation protecting the rights, health, and safety of birds living in captivity.” How can someone who truly loves and cares about birds be opposed to such a goal? Do you not want your beloved birds’ rights to be protected? Or are you more concerned about your own “rights”?

    Jerry, I am interested to know how you define “activist” and for what reasons you have come to label this group as such.

  8. Jerry says:

    Emily,

    I am interested in how you define “guardianship” and what that entails.

    Sounds like Hillary’s idea of having the government take over control of raising your children “from cradle to grave”.

    Just read your answer again! It wreaks of government control! We need that?

    And your answer only confirms what I’ve stated. In your view, bird breeders and pet stores are exploiting captive birds, by breeding them and selling them for a profit. And you conveniently point out the EXACT spot there the AWC’s mission is to put a stop to it! But you go on to deny they are doing it?

    Like I’ve stated….we need to teach and educate people on how to raise and care for their birds. But groups like these have determined that people like you are far too ignorant to do it by yourself, so they must step in and declare themselves “guardians” over your birds! Your words not mine!

    I would love to tell you about a lot of “animal rescue” people. Like Marsha, a girl in Wisconsin who took in “unwanted birds” until she was shut down because of the condition of the birds and how they were raised (and sold).

    Or Max from Montrose Michigan, who had two old mobile homes on his property loaded with over 200 birds. He advertised in the local newspaper looking for “unwanted” birds, then turned around and sold them for a nice profit. They shut him down, but I’m told he has opened up a new “rescue” in Florida. And these are just a couple of local cases. So who is really helping the birds here?

    These are the sorts of people that you want to take guardianship of my birds? You won’t mind if I oppose this do you?

    By the way, I’m sure that you read California’s Assembly Bill 202 and how it now makes it illegal for most home bird breeders to raise birds? Oh wait…you don’t know about that law because you still think the AWC isn’t out to get bird breeders. But this law was heavily lobbied by these two groups. It makes it illegal for them to own any unweaned bird unless they have first passed the PIJAC Avian Certification. Thank God Sapphyre and I already have our certification…..at lease we can raise our birds without fear of further government intervention!

    Define “activist”? If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck…..yeah, I think AWC and API fit that.

    From their press release:

    Celebrate National Bird Day (January 5).

    The Animal Protection Institute (API) in coordination with the Avian Welfare Coalition (AWC) is calling on activists around the U.S. to take action on behalf of captive birds by drawing attention to the exploitation of other country’s native birds by the U.S. pet industry on January 5 — National Bird Day. Learn more at http://www.nationalbirdday.com »

  9. Jerry says:

    Matt, since you brought it up…..

    http://www.avianwelfare.org/store/index.htm

    AWC sells books, coffee mugs, and a lot of other items too. How are we any different?

    The profits that we have made from writing these books has gone back into caring for the several birds we have rescued.

    http://www.avianwelfare.org/store/index.htm

    How are we different then AWC, other then our emphasis on education over intimidation? You know about as much about us as you do of AWC and API me thinks……

  10. Scout says:

    Bird Day, which is celebrated on May 4, is a celebration of wild birds and a call to appreciate them and conserve their existence in the wild. National Bird Day, held on Jan 5, is a time for us to reflect not only on wild birds but to recognize that even captive birds are still wild at heart. It is a time when people (whether or not they live with birds) are provided with information about captive birds, so that they might appreciate them in the wild and improve the lives of those that are in captivity. It is an opportunity to consider the plight of caged birds and the many ways in which they are exploited. It is a chance for us to make choices that improve the lives of birds! It is a shame to see that this is considered “too left-wing” for people who consider themselves parrot experts. It’s also a shame to see the material given on the websites of the Avian Welfare Coalition and the Animal Protection Institute mangled and misapplied Here is a chance to make a difference, an improvement, in the lives of parrots, and yet there are people who want to dismiss it and sweep unsightly facts under the rug. An agenda should follow facts. Reputable organizations such as the AWC and API exist because the fact is that animals need protection from suffering and exploitation. To deny this is preposterous. You hint at an acknowledgment of the tragic conditions in which many captive birds live, and yet, rather than defend a principle, you choose to defend a pleasure. Rather than “cast a net” which would help parrots, you worry about people whose hobbies may be affected. I wish that you had chosen to come right out and say how you really feel about parrots and their place in the wild (or our homes, as your position may be), rather than attack these organizations and perpetuate the misunderstandings which contributes to the suffering of birds. You accuse them of placing an agenda before the facts, but it seems to me that this is what you, and not they, have done.

  11. Matt says:

    First off, my apologies to Sarah – I originally misread your comment so I redirect those initial comments of mine toward the author, not you.

    Jerry – those “rescuers” you pointed out as having done terrible things to birds such as the 200 birds in the mobile homes and “Marsha” are not legitimate rescuers by any sense of the word. Anyone who claims to do rescue yet breeds them and sells them for a profit is nothing more than a hoarder-breeder hiding behind the idea of “rescue”. So don’t think for one second that these are the type of “rescuers” that the AWC or API support – that’s ridiculous.

    Jerry, you are the author of these blogs, right? I was reading another one of your blogs in which you felt so terrible that a cockatoo was sold, rehomed, sold again and generally passed around until you finally rescued the bird. Do you feel that is an isolated case? If so, I can understand why you feel there is no problem with what you do. If not, how can you spend a life of breeding and selling birds out into people’s homes with no control over where they may ultimately end up? Passed around home to home, some that are neglectful, maybe abusive, poor diets, sentenced to live in a small cage, maybe they’ll end up at pseudosanctuaries or in the hands of hoarder/breeders like the people you wrote about above. The chances of them coming back to knowledgeable people or to reputable, good sanctuaries or rescues are slim.

    So I suppose what I am doing is trying to answer your question of what makes you different than the AWC. You may educate and rescue but you still contribute to the problems birds are facing in captivity while the AWC and API do not. That’s the difference.

  12. Jerry says:

    Matt, come on!!!

    “…how can you spend a life of breeding and selling birds out into people’s homes with no control over where they may ultimately end up…”

    This very same argument can be pointed out to car salesmen, gun salesmen, and countless other businesses/hobbies. Are you saying that I should be forced to evaluate whether I feel someone deserves a product before I sell it to them? Then I am expected to follow through with the sale, evaluate their performance, and if I’m still not happy, then what? Take the product back against their wishes?

    Is this what you are advocating?

    Read my blogs, go to YahooAnswers and read our answers to other questions. we advocate EDUCATION! We do NOT advocate having the government interfere with our lives, or the lives and choices of the general public.

    Any educated person can clearly see, by visiting these activist sites, what the purpose of these groups is.

    But hey, I have a question for you, since you appear to have some inside knowledge of these groups. Where can I locate their financial statements? I’ve gone all over the net and for some reason they do not care to release them to the public. You know, the info showing where they make their money, who donates, and where the money is spent?

    How much their officers make? You know, that sort of thing.

  13. Susan Dobrowolsky says:

    I think one of the major difference between the way you think, Jerry, and the way I think is that I don’t see a parrot in the same “category” as a gun or a car. This is the fundamental issue, actually, and I’m glad it’s come up in such a way. Until you experience a parrot as a living, breathing, feeling being with its own sovereign right to an existence on this planet you cannot possibility understand that those of us who wish to help everyone do better by these birds are not trying to take away your right to a HOBBY – we are trying to engender a sense of reverance for LIFE. To me, there’s a big moral difference between the value of a hobby and a life. And I don’t mean to sound like I’m attacking you – I am asking you to stop thinking in terms of what is being taken from you and how you are being violated and to start thinking in terms of what these poor birds are enduring. No, I don’t want more government. You cannot enforce decency. I want us all to value and respect life and treat it with dignity. Oh – and on one other point – I don’t think the AWC wants to be the guardian of our birds – they want us to work at being the best guardians to our birds that we can be. Again, this is a big difference in perspective.

  14. Susan Dobrowolsky says:

    Regarding, financial records, all non-profits financials are a matter of public records. If you think you are going to find out that these people are making a profit by advocating for parrots and animals, you will be sorely disappointed. Why do you feel such a strong need to discredit the AWC and API? I find it fascinating. You seem to be responding very defensively, and I am not seeing or hearing what you have to defend. Do you feel that you need to defend yourself?

  15. Matt says:

    Jerry, the AWC is NOT a 501(c)(3) organization and does not solicit donations, so I do not believe they take many donations at all – it is pretty much an all-volunteer organization. So I don’t believe your “follow the money” theory works in this case.

    As far as API goes, they have been around for many, many decades and have a huge support base – so the fact that they are a well funded organization is not surprising . But a well funded organization really means that there are an awful lot of people on-board with their ideals and accomplishments. I suppose to animal exploiters, it can be scary to know that so many people support their mission – as it would surely mean an eventual end to the exploiter’s livlihood?

    Specifically, you can find any 501(c)(3)’s financials on http://www.guidestar.org – it’s not as hidden as you portray it to be!

    And finally, in regards to your comment that our very same argument can be made against those who sell guns, cars and a number of other things… the difference there is that those things are inanimate objects, not the lives of sentient creatures. Even if you should not be “forced to evaluate whether I feel someone deserves a product before I sell it to them” don’t be so shocked to discover that a large and growing number of people in our society do not agree with or support what you do.

  16. Sapphyre Cross says:

    I really don’t know why the person who posted the questions below would think that birds that were or are endangered have not been helped by Breeders and other groups.
    It is a fact that if it wasn’t for breeders that many species of birds would not be here today.

    And I am responding to these 2 ridiculous questions below.

    Do you have answers to these questions you posed?

    1) How many endangered species of birds have been brought back from near-extinction due to the efforts of bird breeders?

    One of the most endangered birds in the world, the Kakapo, is now being brought back from the brink of extinction with the help of scientists from the University of Glasgow.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070824220755.htm
    If it wasn’t for educated bird breeders there are birds that were beyond being endangered, an example is the Black Palm Cockatoo and the Hyacinth Macaw- Here is a list of the endangered Macaws alone- http://www.exoticbird.com/endangered_macaws.HTML
    The spix’s macaw is the most rarest in the wild as any species can be, one lone survivor. In the late 1980s, many believed that the Spix was extinct in the wild, so conservationists concentrated on breeding the few in captivity then the spix’s macaws would be released into the wild in hopes that the species would be able to pick back up in breeding and rebuilding the population. There are Breeders that are trying to build up the numbers of the Pheffort, since only 30 birds were known in captivity and many of those were owned by private parties.

    If you’re talking about hobby breeders or breeders producing birds for the pet trade, the answer is zero. If you’re talking about scientists keeping a captive parrot population alive in captivity for a couple of generations, a few. If you’re talking about anyone breeding parrots in captivity and successfully releasing them to survive and reproduce on their own in the wild, it’s zero.

    2) How many birds have been saved by the efforts of bird lovers who oversee even the wild bird population?

    I do not know how someone can say that zero. Because here in the USA the “Bald Eagle” was brought back from ‘near extinction.

    “Strong endangered species and environmental protection laws, as well as active private, state and federal conservation efforts, have brought back the U.S.A.’s Bald Eagle population from the edge of extinction” If it was for the Federal Laws that became in effect Strong endangered species and environmental protection laws, as well as active private, state and federal conservation efforts, have brought back the U.S.A.’s Bald Eagle population from the edge of extinction.” http://www.eagles.org/moreabout.html

    From the research I have done along with the reference link is In the past 30 years there have been 21 species that have been saved from extiniction thanks to people who have taken the time to breed them.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2006/aug/25/biodiversity.conservationandendangeredspecies

    Yes I do rescue and rehab, I am licensed, I have worked with birds of prey and I work with exotics. I have spent the majority of my life devoted to caring for birds, educating the community about proper bird care with the hopes that people will continue to educated themselves to properly care for their pet bird.
    I do not get paid by the State or Federal Government for the work I do, it comes out of our own pockets. I do not turn away any bird in need of care. Nor do I believe that wild birds should be keep as Pets. Anytime I have had to raise a Wild baby bird it is not raised as a domesticated home hatched bird. It has to learn how to look for its own food and be re-released back into the wild, and it will be return to the area where it was found.

    By other people doing the same thing that I do does help keep species of bird alive so they can continue to breed and have their own families.

    The thing is you don’t really hear about how birds are being properly cared for by private groups or individuals, but the small handful of people that get busted for abuse will make the news, so then you think that anyone who has birds are not properly caring for them, and that just isnt the case.

    As you can see in my post I was able to get the information about how many Wild and Exotic birds have been brought back from the verge of extinction, and why is that? Because there are people who do care, and do the work that is needed and it doesn’t make the daily news. But it just takes 1 case of neglect to get everyone’s feathers ruffled and want to blame Breeders and Rehab groups for not caring for birds properly and that is just wrong.

    What is even worse is I came across a web site where a PETA member said that no one should own any pets, no dogs, cats, fish birds etc. Well they can dream on.

    There are people who shouldn’t have children but they do.

  17. Sapphyre Cross says:

    Matt, in over the 25 years that I been educating people about the proper care of their birds one of the main reasons that people give up on the bird is because they did not educate themselves, they become overwhelmed with the bird and they get rid of it. There are thousands bird breeders out there that don’t give up on the birds and they spend years caring for them. Yes there is a money to be made, but you have no idea how much it does cost to run an Aviary.

    Jerry is my husband and we have done a lot of writings about bird care. We are not Hobbyist we are Professionals. There are a lot of sacrifices we have had to make in order to care for the abused and neglected birds that we take in. We have never gone on a vacation because I will not leave our birds behind, I am with with them 24/7 and I have spent over 25 years doing this work.

    We are very well known for the work we do to turn these bird’s lives around for the better. I have welcomed the Humane Society, Animal Control, Vets, and Police into our Aviary to see for themselves how the birds have been cared for. I have adopted out birds to new homes at no charge, and made sure that whoever gets the birds are educated to know what they are getting into, otherwise they would never have gotten a bird from us.
    But I refuse to take orders or demands from PETA or any other groups that feel that no one should own a bird.
    It is clear that they are not educated about birds since they don’t believe in owning Pets.

    Many of our birds have been taken to Nursing Homes, Special Need Groups and Area Schools, and what our birds have done for the people there is priceless. Not only were we teaching people about birds we did hands on training, people and children who have never seen a bird up close were able to hold and interact with our birds. It has been proven that pets are excellent therapy for everyone. And if PETA had it their way no nursing homes, schools or rehab centers would have the benefit of having a bird on their shoulder or a cat in their lap. The Blind People wouldn’t be able to have a leader dog.

    Our birds are not a lab experiment, they are my teachers and what I have learned from them is passed on in educational presentations

    The birds are human raised they do not have a wild instinct, most our birds don’t know they are birds because they are treated as a family member, and I am not the only bird owner out there that treats their birds this way.

  18. Matt says:

    Sapphyre, you wrote “Nor do I believe that wild birds should be keep as Pets”.

    And at the end of your second post, you stated “The birds are human raised they do not have a wild instinct, most our birds don’t know they are birds”.

    Wow – that’s amazing. Please tell me how, within only a couple decades, you have been able to completely domesticate a species!

    So by your reasoning, we should be able to take – let’s say – a bald eagle pair out of the wild, make them breed in captivity and after a couple of generations claim that we have bred the wild instincts completely out of a baby pet bald eagle. That’s exactly what has been done to other Country’s wild animals including parrots here in this Country.

    In fact, the majority of problems people are having keeping parrots as pets in this Country stems from the very fact that they do indeed maintain their wild traits and instincts making it difficult to care for them properly in people’s homes.

    How sad that you rejoice in the idea that your birds do not know they are birds. This sounds alot like “well, we want birds but we don’t want them to act like birds”. Then what was the point of taking birds into captivity to begin with? To have something pretty to look at? To have something that was sit and entertain us or “talk” to us? It sounds like an awful lot has been compromised in regards to parrot welfare just so people can fulfill their own lives at the expense of another.

    Let’s fulfill the bird’s lives. There are a multitude of other ways to fulfill our own lives. It’s all about the birds and what is best for them, not what is best for us. After all, that’s exactly what National Bird Day is all about.

  19. Susan Dobrowolsky says:

    Hello,

    I think many good points are being made here. However, some of the examples used to discredit opposing viewpoints are taken out of context. First of all, regardless of which side of the argument I am on, I can take an example of something and say that it is just plain HORRIBLE. This is not helpful. Yes, PETA is extreme. Yes, there are people involved in PETA who believe no one should have pets. Citing this does not further an understanding amongst us – it polarizes us by painting all “activists” as nutcases. Further, when discussing pseudo-rescuers like “Marsha”, one again is trying to paint all rescuers as hoarders and charlatans. The problem with this type of argument is that in labeling the other side as “bad”, there is little room for further consideration. In my mind, this is the refuge of a weak argument. Labeling, or in the more extreme sense, bigotry, is simply intended to nullify another party.

    If we begin with a premise that we all “care” for birds, then we can start defining what that care and concern means to us and what we think we can do to express that concern.

    National Bird Day is a day to think about the value and beauty of the lives of birds on planet it Earth. It is a day to consider how humans have altered and impacted the natural evolution of birds and what of that is good and what of that is wrong. National Bird Day is simply a day to consider what we can do to elevate our sense of reverance for another lifeform on this planet and how to act in concert with that reverance.

    National Bird Day is not a day about human rights. National Bird Day is not about protecting human pocketbooks and human desires. National Bird Day is not a day to find people to trash and label because they are concerned about the welfare of birds.

  20. Jerry says:

    Susan….your argument is identical to the abortion issues….and I quit debating that years ago. So we will just have to agree to disagree on this issue. This group is trying to stop all bird breeding, which eventually will prevent everyone from being able to get a bird. It’s right there on their website, and you either haven’t visited their site or you lie about their purpose.

    And I’m not trying to defend myself. My past record in working with birds attests to that. I do NOT want groups like AWC representing themselves as spokesman for bird enthusiasts….and I want people to clearly see what their agenda is. Are you the one who is worried that I am “peaking behind the drapes” of this group?

    Matt, many times people will form charitable organizations for the sole purpose of supporting their own income. Without government oversite, you don’t know if your donations are going to education or to pay someone’s undeserved salary. This is why legitimate charitable organizations file as a 501c and file financial reports. Many times, you find a lot of interesting things in these reports.

    For example, you imply that the API is very large, and has a “a huge support base “. According to their 2006 Form 990, their total amount of membership fees earned was $15,000. Now, their membership is $15 a year (individual). That only works out to 1000 members. I guess our perception of huge is quite different. I used to run a computer club with over 3500 members. I never considered my group as huge.

    And maybe you need to look at this form also, and educate yourself about the group you are trying to defend. With gross receipts of $3.1 million, and expenses of $2.7 million (most of which went to salaries) Only $45,000 ever made it to groups actually fighting for animal abuse! The rest went for salaries and consultants.

    I wonder how you are going to defend this.

    http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2006/946/187/2006-946187633-03226c10-9.pdf

    This is why I do not appreciate activist groups implying that they speak for the bird community!

    Susan, as it has already been explained, there already is a Bird Day! National Bird Day was created for only one purpose! To bring attention to a group of activist groups and their narrow minded view that birds should not be held in captivity! I see no reason why you can’t celebrate and educate people on the original Bird Day.

  21. Sapphyre says:

    Well Matt I guess you heard of imprinting?

    Yes I have domesticated all of my birds and so does many other Parrot owners.
    Do you even know what a Domesticated Parrots is? Because my Parrots are not born wild born.

    I hand raised these kids from the time they were 10 days old They do bond to the person who is feeding them and they look to the human as their parent.

    Now if this isn’t called. Domesticated I don’t what is, but I am sure you will disagree with me, but did you spend over 2 decades of your life studing and learning everything about birds?

    Or have you been brainwashed by these groups that seem to think they know more about birds then people like me who are educated professionals?

  22. Susan Dobrowolsky says:

    Hi Jerry,

    I have to admit that I am not familiar with the Bird Day of May 4th and will do some research in addition to considering what you have said before commenting on that point.

    I also applaud you for your research and desire to present facts in order to clarify your stance regarding the nature of certain organizations. I will also do some research here and get back to you on these points as well. I am not able to do so this evening but did want to acknowledge what I’ve seen here and that I am taking it into consideration.

    I think it is clear that we have some philosophical differences, though. I do think that the amount of birds being bred into captivity needs to be addressed because it is becoming evident that there are thousands of unwanted birds ending up in rescues (and pseudo-rescues which is really horrifying!) and parrots that are being rehomed repeatedly. Do you want to see things become for birds what they are for cats and dogs where “excess product” is euthanized? It is already being done in several parts of the country. I for one find that breeding a living, feeling creature for profit and then euthanizing it on the other end is the most profound abuse of life there could be. Do you think it is worth considering stressing adoption over buying and breeding as has become the way for cats and dogs? Or does this dip into your bottom line? This is not a jibe – I want to hear what you have to say on this. Maybe I am wrong about where you stand.

    Also, regarding Sapphyre’s contentions that birds can be domesticated, that is actually scientifically incorrect by definition. I understand what you are saying through your experience of having parrots become bonded to you and dependent on you, but that is not how science defines domestication. Parrots are still considered captive bred animals. They retain a large portion of their wild traits even after being “hand-reared” (or “parent-deprived” according to some research). I think this is all a matter of degree of perception – there are many subtle indications in a parrot that they are not completely adjusted to and comfortable in their environment (our homes). Of course, this would require the posting of scientific papers to support.

    Bottom line – what is the objection to wanting parrots to have the best quality of life possible? How is someone like myself threatening? I want to understand.
    Forgive me, but when I read your posts, I continue to see a focus on your rights and your experience. Am I wrong that you do not feel that parrots also have a right to have their rights and experience considered? In my mind, higher regard for parrots can only mean higher regard for all life, including ourselves.

    Thanks.

  23. Susan Dobrowolsky says:

    P.S. I am not advocating that we stop having parrots as pets. But I will be honest and say that if I could turn back time, I would make it so that they were not “used” by humans in this way. HOWEVER, now that millions are in captivity, I stress adoption, education and providing the best life possible for the birds in captivity. If you saw my home and how my Senegal Parrot lives, you would understand what I believe is required environmentally, socially, time-wise and financially. I still feel that my parrot has been deprived of some of her birthrights, and no matter what I do, not being God or Nature, I cannot make it perfectly right for her, try as I always will.

  24. Susan Dobrowolsky says:

    Hello,

    I’ve done some research into the origin of both Bird Day (May 4th) and National Bird Day (January 5th).

    Both have been around for quite some time and neither was started by the API, AWC or “activists” wanting to keep people from having parrots as pets. It is believed the the May 4th holiday is linked to the “second best time to go birding during the spring migration” and appears to have to do with bird-watching.

    National Bird Day is believed to have its origins in the “Christmas Bird Count” now in its 105th year. Annual Christmas Bird Counts are an important conservation tool for tracking the population status of North American Birds. National Bird Day was commonly recorded in older calendars and more recently has appeared in calendars produced by humane societies and other animal advocacy organizations. You can read more about Christmas Bird Counts at http://www.audubon.org/bird/cbc/index.html.

    My purpose in celebrating National Bird Day on January 5th is to contemplate how I can best honor my love for parrots and birds by increasing awareness of their needs in captivity and the wild.

    Regarding the statements made about where the money is going at The Animal Protection Institute, you stated that “only $45,000 actually made it to groups fighting animal abuse”. I didn’t know that API gave any money to other groups fighting for animals’ welfare because that’s what they do themselves, and there is nothing alarming to me that people are getting paid to do so. I think this is an honorable way to make a living.

  25. Jerry says:

    Thank you Susan….it’s a good start, but you need to dig deeper.

    The annual Christmas Bird Count actually begins on December 14th, and runs up to January 5. It’s more of a “bird month” then a “bird day”. You certainly will offend the API and AWC by implying this, as they have taken full credit and sponsorship for this event for the past 5 years.

    And what have they accomplished over these years? I see that last year, Madison Wisconsin issued a proclamation making January 5th “Bird Day” in Madison…..but I also note that nothing ever came out of it, other then the mayor getting some much needed photo-ops. Same for several other cities.

    In the meantime they “parrot” the same old phrases and myths passed to them by the API in their “proclamations”. One minute they say the parrots and songbirds are near extinction, then on the next line they bash bird breeders for breeding more of them. Go figure…..

    And while you may be satisfied that most of the money donated to these groups goes directly into the pockets of a few individuals, and never goes toward the purpose intended…..many others certainly do have a problem with that! But if that’s the way you lean, that’s ok with me. I quit giving to the Red Cross and United Way many years ago, when it was revealed where their money actually ended up.

  26. Emily says:

    Jerry,

    In response to your question, I am interested in how you define “guardianship” and what that entails.”

    “Guardianship” is a term used in leiu of “ownership” with the understanding that we do not “own” another living creature. Captive exotic birds are living creatures that we humans have taken from the wild, bred in captivity, and forced into living conditions that are a mere hint of the natural environments they were originally taken from. Since birds bred in captivity and raised to be “companion” animals are ill-equipped to survive in the wild, they must live their lives in the captivity humans have forced upon them. Therefore, someone must take care of them. But it is not necessary to “own” them or to use this term as it implies complete control over the object. “Guardianship” of a captive exotic bird involves caring for him/her from the perspective that it is a living creature, not an object or property.

    “Just read your answer again! It wreaks of government control! We need that?”

    The above statement is so preposterous that I am completely without a response.

    “In your view, bird breeders and pet stores are exploiting captive birds, by breeding them and selling them for a profit. And you conveniently point out the EXACT spot there the AWC’s mission is to put a stop to it! But you go on to deny they are doing it?”

    Jerry, I would appreciate if you would attempt to UNDERSTAND my view rather than to tell me what I think. In order to facilitate this, I will again repeat that SOME bird breeders and SOME pet stores are exploiting and abusing captive birds. In no point in this dialogue have I spoken in absolutes as you insinuate, nor have I condemned ALL bird breeders and ALL pet stores. It would be judgemental of me to make such statements about a wide group of individuals and organizations, many of whom and which have drastically differing philosophies and practices. The AWC does not condemn ALL bird breeders and ALL pet stores, either. They specifically state their focus to be on birds who are suffering. As I have stated before, if your birds are not suffering, you should feel in no way threatened by the work of organizations such as the AWC and API.

    “Like I’ve stated….we need to teach and educate people on how to raise and care for their birds.”

    I agree with you 100% here, Jerry! I believe that everyone engaged in this dialogue agrees and that the heart of this discussion for most is to educate people on issues surrounding captive exotic birds and their care in captivity.

    “But groups like these have determined that people like you are far too ignorant to do it by yourself, so they must step in and declare themselves “guardians” over your birds! Your words not mine!”

    Again, I ask you to please stop passing judgement on me as if you know me and can therefore label me. I take great offense to your calling me ignorant- such insults have no place in adult conversations and will only hinder communication and understanding.

    “I would love to tell you about a lot of “animal rescue” people. Like Marsha…These are the sorts of people that you want to take guardianship of my birds? You won’t mind if I oppose this do you? ”

    Of course these are not the sorts of people that I want to take guardianship of your birds! However, I think we all agree that the individuals you mentioned are in no way legitimate rescue organizations and you failed to mention the many legitimate rescue organizations who have taken in an overwhelming number of unwanted birds and provided them with much needed medical care, shelter, rehabilitation, and loving homes. In the event of a person’s inability to care for their birds and lack of a responsible guardian to designate this duty to, the legitimate avian rescue organizations ARE the sorts of people I would want to take guardianship of the birds. Were these legitimate rescue organizations not around, the birds would fall into the hands of individuals like those you mentioned or would be euthanized.

    “Define “activist”? If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck…..yeah, I think AWC and API fit that.”

    Unfortunately this in no way describes to me how you define activist and does nothing more than give me the impression that you make assumptions based on first impressions and face value.

    ~Emily

  27. Jerry says:

    Emily,

    “In response to your question, I am interested in how you define “guardianship” and what that entails.”

    If you are referring to the term in relation to owning animals….Guardianship is defined by the API and AWC as “One who is legally responsible for the care and management of the animal (sic)” I define it as ownership when it relates to birds or other animals, as you are the one that guards, watches over, or protects them. Captive animals are just that! They are totally dependent on you for their care. It is no different then having a baby. If you fail to care for it, then the government jumps in and takes it away from you.

    The issue becomes muddy when you ordain rights to animals equal to those given to humans. By doing so you open a huge can of worms that I am sure you will not be happy with.

    “Jerry, I would appreciate if you would attempt to UNDERSTAND my view rather than to tell me what I think. In order to facilitate this, I will again repeat that SOME bird breeders and SOME pet stores are exploiting and abusing captive birds. In no point in this dialogue have I spoken in absolutes as you insinuate, nor have I condemned ALL bird breeders and ALL pet stores.”

    Yes, Emily…..but unfortunately that is only your view. Unfortunately I have been on a number of sites where the activists imply that this is the norm for pet stores and bird breeders….they are ALL abusive. Again, look at their web site. They are NOT trying to shut down SOME pet stores…they want them ALL shut down. The laws they advocate do not effect SOME of the breeders, they effect ALL of them. The laws passed in California did not effect only the bad pet stores. It was so brood it hit pet stores and hobbiest breeders alike! So pardon me if I get offended by the API and AWC about as much as you seem to be offended by my blog comments.

    “IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU!”

    “Again, I ask you to please stop passing judgement on me as if you know me and can therefore label me. I take great offense to your calling me ignorant- such insults have no place in adult conversations and will only hinder communication and understanding.”

    Once upon a time there was a man named Jim Jones, who ran the “Peoples Temple” in Jonestown, British Guyana. I don’t know how old you are, and don’t know if you know what I’m talking about. Google it.

    But this man had a “huge” following of people who believed everything he said and worshiped the ground he walked on. The fact that he was a nut job meant nothing to them. His followers did whatever he demanded. His followers shut out everyone else, and refused to listen to family members and friends trying to point out he was not who he really claimed.

    The lesson here is that you never believe a group on their face. You look at their claims, investigate yourself, and learn the real truth. It didn’t take me very long to see what the API and AWC were about. I raise the red flag on these people and their supporters come out to blindly defend them, rather than investigate for themselves.

    You are free to believe what you want about these groups. But when their activities begin to effect me personally I must take a stand.

    My only advice to you: Don’t drink the Kool-Aid.

  28. Susan Dobrowolsky says:

    Hello,

    I don’t think it’s fair to suggest that the API and the AWC are even near the ballpark of a freak show like Jonestown. That to me, is extremist, but perhaps it is your intention to use hyperbole to make your point.

    As far as decrying extinction and breeding in almost the same breath, on the surface that does seem contradictory, but to use your own words, Jerry, we again must dig deeper (which is very frequently the case!). Clearly we can all agree that it is a tragedy that parrot species have become, and are continuing to become, extinct. The objection to breeding is not what you have inferred, though, I don’t think. I have a problem with breeding too many parrots in captivity, too, if there are tens of thousands who can’t get into homes or get proper care and now are even being euthanized! To me, it is not enough to just have numbers of parrots – we need to be concerned about the quality of their lives.

  29. Jerry says:

    Susan,

    I have now seen this comment a few times in this blog discussion….the euthanizing of large numbers of parrots because they have been overbred? Where is this happening? And is it parrots, or much smaller and prolific birds like finches?

    When you say “parrots” it implies much larger and intelligent birds are being overbred. This is amazing because they are usually pretty difficult to even breed, let over overbreed!

    And how about the mass euthanasia of other birds, such as Quakers? Where is API’s field troopers while this is going on?

    Of course I would be against putting down birds simply because there were too many bred….once again this is the sign of a breeder who just doens’t know their business. It simply makes no sense! Why would you put down a bird that is selling in pet stores for $300-$800 (or more) when you could just sell it or give them away to good homes?

    Out of curiosity, have you ever visited a “bird farm” that breeds mass amounts of birds like Cockatiels? How about a wholesaler? One that supplies the large department stores and pet stores? Have you witnessed this abuse for yourself?

    I personally visited them. I even went to one of the largest bird wholesalers in Michigan (Wolverton), that supplied most of the large department stores and many pet stores in the midwest. They had several hundred cockatiels, lovebirds, and finches.

    Very large cages, very clean. We saw no sick or unhealthy birds. Our visit was unannounced as we just happened to be in the area and asked to visit it…so they didn’t hide anything.

    Now, weigh my own observations….what I saw with my own eyes……against what these groups are saying. All I have asked is you look behind the scenes and see where the truth is.

    And don’t drink the Kool-Aid.

  30. Susan Dobrowolsky says:

    Hi Jerry,

    I have absolutely no doubt that you have seen immaculate bird-breeding facilities. This goes back to an earlier statement I made about how which ever side of the argument one is on, “bad” examples can be cited. You can say you have seen people posing as “rescuers” who are actually acquiring birds for the purpose of selling them for profit (which you have), and I can say that I have seen bird-breeding operations where parrots are kept in tiny, filthy cages without toys, adequate nutrition or adequate social interaction (which I have). Then I can come back and say that I volunteer for a reputable rescue organization where all the birds are very well-cared for and are only adopted out when a thorough evaluation of a prospective home has been done, etc., etc. and you can say that you have done a surprise visit to a large breeder’s facility where everything was ship-shape. This does not further the discussion.

    However, you have said some other important things. I am making claims and you are asking me to support them. I communicate with several very reputable people in the rescue field. The rescue I work for turns away as many as 30 – 40 birds a month, a number of which are macaws and cockatoos. We need more foster homes. My contacts at other rescues have recently gotten a three-year-old perfectly healthy Hyacinth and a Blue-Throated Macaw within a couple of months of each other! This is the peak of the iceberg. And yes, we are documenting the fact that even some large birds are being euthanized because there is nowhere for them to go. We see this problem escalating because we are starting to see how many hoarders there are among other things.

    I agree that I need to consider what you are telling me, and I appreciate that you are considering what I am telling you. In the interest of the birds, we need to put our heads together to figure out what all the facts are and what can be done to ensure that the millions of parrots in captivity get the best environments and care available through education and that parrots who need homes find them. I believe there needs to be a major shift in social policy to stressing adoption of parrots just like there has been over the last couple of decades for dogs and cats. I understand that this impacts the bottom line for breeders, but perhaps there are ways to offer services to people who have parrots to supplement your income if more birds are adopted rather than purchased. Look at how much the market for parrot toys and play areas has sky-rocketed!

    I don’t pretend to have all the answers. I just see too many sick and suffering parrots with nowhere to go. It breaks my heart daily. If you were constantly getting calls because someone got a parrot but didn’t know how much noise it would make or that it would sling food it would frustrate you, too, that pet stores and breeders don’t always give people all the facts about what’s involved in caring for a parrot. And this stuff about spending one hour a day with a parrot who otherwise stays alone in a cage all day… uh oh – that’s a whole ‘nother soap box!

  31. Sapphyre says:

    Jerry and I are amazed at your statement, Susan. We don’t have enough birds to meet the demands! At this time, we only have one Military Macaw looking for a home, and due to severe mental problems it must be placed in a home with someone who knows what they are doing. We have lots of room and potential homes….send your unwanted birds to http://www.borrowed-rainbow.com and have them contact us.

    And think about something…you make it sound like nobody wants birds….even free adoptable ones…..but how does this explain the huge demand for birds from petstores and breeders? The demand is there, you just have to get your rescue groups to look around a bit harder. Maybe not be so picky over the new bird owners qualifications.

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