Chapter 1 - Introduction and Overview
Welcome to the joys of bird ownership! Whether you just “adopted” your first bird, are adding birds to your “flock” or are an expert human companion to your avian friends, you’ve come to the right place for fast and easy information on how to adapt yourself and your home to the birds in your life.
Now what, pray tell, makes me qualified to tell you how to do such a thing? I’m not a veterinarian, or an ornithologist, or a biologist. There’s no fancy title after my name. I’m just a woman that works in professional licensing by day and writes novels by night. What makes me so special that I presume to tell you how to best integrate birds into your life and home?
I’ll tell you what qualifies me to write this book: over 25 years of experience with having birds as pets. I’ve had birds in my life since the tender age of ten, and for most of that time it’s been a multiple bird home. First
it was three budgies named Samson (Sammy), Delilah, and Petesy. They were my companions from middle school through college. I took a two year break from pet ownership after graduating college to get married and adjust to a job and home ownership, then came sun conures Zacchaeus (Zack) and Chloe, and budgie Oliver
(Ollie). Over the years I’ve not only learned a lot about having birds in your home, but I’ve noticed that the well of knowledge has drastically expanded. The diet and healthcare for birds has improved drastically, resulting in longer life expectancies. When I got Sammy for my tenth birthday in 1985, life expectancies for budgies was five to seven years. When I got Ollie in 2010, the life expectancy for budgies had increased to ten to fifteen years. And sun conures (along with other mid-size parrots) weren’t readily available or well known as pets in 1985.
A lot has changed, and the information we’re getting is improving every day. Unfortunately, that information is scattered. Birds are the number three pets in America behind cats and dogs, so naturally most of the pet care manuals available are geared toward our canine and feline friends. Finding in-depth information on bird care is still a bit of a challenge. It’s out there, but you have to hunt for it.
That’s where this guide comes in. The purpose of this guide is to pass along some of this scattered information, along with other tips and tricks I’ve picked up over a lifetime of sharing my life with birds. This is by no means a specialty guide on bird ownership, nor does it go in-depth on any topic. there are plenty of species specific books, training manuals and videos, and website information out there, and I certainly encourage you to read as much as you feel is necessary to grasp the basics of these important topics. In fact, I encourage you to do two things right now if you haven’t done them already:
1. Buy and read at least one book that is focused specifically on the species of bird you have; and
2. Join at least one Internet Group dedicated solely to the species or general type of bird you own. (For
example, I’m a member of a Sun Conure group on Yahoo!).
This book is to give answers to those unanswered questions that are still hanging in the air after reading those books and supplementing what you learn from the Internet group. Topics I’ll cover include what birds are best for your lifestyle (or how to adapt the bird you have to your lifestyle), the best cage designs, toys, food, and socialization tricks that have actually worked in my home. I’ll also share tips and tricks that keep my birds healthy and happy, save me time, keep my home orderly, and frankly preserve my sanity by integrating three active birds into my busy lifestyle!
Birds are great pets that enrich our lives and bring us joy through unconditional love and companionship. We are obligated show our love and joy in them by giving them the best home and care possible. Life with the birds may be hard work and challenging from time to time, but it’s never dull and it’s certainly worth the effort. And for all of our experiences, just imagine what life is like for them living in a human home.
Welcome to the feathered frenzy!