National Bird Day

The following is from the National Bird Day website.

“National Bird Day” is not only a good day to take time to appreciate the native wild birds flying free outside our windows, it is also a perfect time to reflect on how we treat the native birds of other countries. While we have enacted laws to protect our native birds — such as blue jays, cardinals, and crows — from commercial exploitation, we fail to recognize the inconsistency in allowing the pet industry to exploit the birds of other countries.

Even when bred in captivity, exotic birds are not considered domesticated animals, and all their inherent behavioral and physical needs remain intact. Sadly, when it comes to birds, deprivation of their natural behaviors (to fly and flock, for example) is an inescapable component of their captivity.

Each year thousands of birds are sold into the pet trade to individuals who are under the mistaken impression that a bird will make a perfect pet. Eventually, whether due to frustration, disinterest, or concern, many people attempt to rid themselves of the responsibility of caring for their birds. Unfortunately, few of these birds will find a loving home, and most will spend their days isolated and confined to their cages. Others will bounce from home to home as their caretakers tire of them, and some may be abandoned at local shelters and birds rescues, set free to fend for themselves or euthanized.

Meanwhile pet stores across the country including Petco and PetsMart continue to treat birds like merchandise peddling them into the pet trade. The in-store care of animals in pet shops is always suspect because store managers are often faced with conflicting responsibilities of caring for animals, even when the animals are sick, and making a store profitable. Since the cost of veterinary care can easily exceed the commercial value of an animal, common sense leads to the conclusion that profits and animal care inherently conflict, especially in a retail environment.

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