National Bird Day––celebrated every year on January 5––is a day dedicated to spreading awareness on wildlife protection, and celebrating the beauty and complexity of our feathered friends. In honor of this special holiday, Born Free USA—a leading non-profit animal activist organization—has put together this handy list of 12 facts pet parents should know before bringing home a bird to join the family.
From Born Free USA:
January 5 is the 11th anniversary of National Bird Day, when Born Free USA shines a spotlight on issues critical to the protection and survival of birds. The annual campaign focuses on education and action to improve standards of care for birds who have been adopted as pets; educate consumers about adopting a bird from a shelter or rescue; stop the international trade in wild birds; and to protect and appreciate birds in the wild.
Says Monica Engebretson, wildlife biologist and Senior Program Associate for Born Free USA, “National Bird Day is about appreciating and protecting all birds. This year’s emphasis is on educating the public about birds as ‘pets’ and reminding people that birds are actually not domesticated animals like cats and dogs. They belong in the wild, and it is very challenging to meet their needs in a home environment. They are intelligent, highly social, flight-adapted animals.”
Domestic animals are animals who have been bred for hundreds of years to live in the care of humans and are distinct from their wild ancestors. Birds commonly kept as pets are no different than their wild relatives—they are the native species of other countries. Parrots—including lovebirds, parakeets, and cockatiels—represent the largest number of captive wildlife in the U.S. private hands.
There are an estimated 16.2 million birds kept in the U.S. as pets. Engebretson explains,
“While Born Free USA works to discourage people from buying birds under the misguided notion that a bird would be an easy to care for pet, the reality is that with this large number in U.S. households, our focus must also be on educating bird [caregivers] and providing them [with] information on the complicated and necessary care they need in order to survive and thrive.”
Adam Roberts, Executive Vice President of Born Free USA adds, “If someone feels they are ready for the commitment to care for a bird, they should only get one from a bird rescue or shelter, or from someone who no longer wants their bird and is looking for a new home for him/her. A bird should never be purchased from a breeder or a pet store. By buying a bird [as opposed to adopting] people are contributing to the brutal, cruel bird trade industry. If people can adopt the birds already here and provide them with the proper love and care they need, it will make a compassionate difference.”
12 Facts to Know before Adopting a Bird:
Born Free USA also has special materials for National Bird Day available at bornfreeusa.org/birdinformation with advice and tips on caring for your bird, or if you are considering adopting one. For more information also visit nationalbirdday.org.