Celebrating Our Feathery Friends
There are many different types of animals that we keep as pets, but none of them are quite as beautiful, unique, and colorful as birds. Spanning in a variety of sizes, shapes, colors, and features, birds are very unique animals and are often sought after by bird watchers, enthusiasts, and pet lovers. This blog will discuss the importance of National Bird Day, what makes birds so interesting, and how you can participate in observing this wonderful holiday.
What Is National Bird Day?
January 5th has been designated as National Bird Day here in the U.S. At first glance this holiday sounds like a way to honor and celebrate the majestic flying animals we call birds, but it’s a little more complicated than that. Originally created in 2002 by both Born Free USA (a wildlife charity organization that opposes the exploitation of wild animals in captivity and campaigns to keep them in the wild) and the Avian Welfare Coalition (an animal protection organization dedicated to the ethical treatment of parrots and other captive birds). As stated on the Avian Welfare Coalition website (hyperlink above), the purpose of National Bird Day is to “reduce the suffering of birds by raising public awareness of the destructive bird trade, the realities of cruel bird breeding mills, and ways to improve the welfare of birds already in captivity.” National Bird Day is more than just a holiday, it’s a campaign against the cruelties and mistreatment of birds as well as the promotion of avian welfare and protection. If you’d like to learn more about other pet-related holidays, check out our other Paramount Pet Care Blogs for more info.
A Brief History Of Birds
Birds are undoubtedly fascinating creatures not only for their ability to fly but also for their unique connection to one of the oldest animals to have ever inhabited earth, more specifically dinosaurs. All modern day birds evolved from a group of two-legged meat eating dinosaurs known as theropods. More common members of the theropods group include both Tyrannosaurus Rex and smaller Velociraptors. The oldest bird fossils on record are about 150 million years old dating back to the Cretaceous period. These ancient birds ranged anywhere from 100 to 500 pounds, had sharp teeth, and resembled small feathered dinosaurs. At the end of the Cretaceous period, around 65 million years ago, nearly all dinosaurs went extinct after a massive asteroid crashed into Earth and dramatically changed the planet’s environment. Birds were the only dinosaurs that survived most likely due to their small size, ability to fly, and capability to eat a variety of different foods. Over the course of the next 65 million years, birds continued to evolve and adapt to their new surroundings resulting in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and colors. Today there are over 11,000 different bird species worldwide each special and unique in their own way.
Should We Cancel Cages?
Birds are astoundingly beautiful animals, which is probably why so many people keep them as pets. However, keeping birds as pets is a very controversial topic as many animal lovers and activists would rather see birds set free and be cageless claiming they thrive more and belong in the wild as opposed to captivity. This is the argument made by The Avian Welfare Coalition claiming that keeping birds in captivity deprives them of their natural behaviors such as flying and flocking. Although most bird owners take very good care of their avian friends, the sad truth is that these animals are naturally not meant to be confined in cages and most pet owners are not capable of meeting the special needs of exotic birds. Cage confinement can often lead to feather-plucking, excessive screaming, self mutilation, and other destructive habits. As mesmerizing and entertaining as these creatures are, it’s important to ask ourselves whether or not keeping these graceful animals in captivity as pets is morally right or wrong. It’s also important to acknowledge what’s best for the animals themselves as opposed to our own interests and desires.
How You Can Participate
While this wonderful holiday helps shine a spotlight on the critical issues regarding the protection and survival of both captive and wild birds, it doesn’t solve those problems. Only we, dedicated pet and animal lovers, can truly solve the problems and dangers that threaten birds today. One of the best ways to participate in National Bird day and help birds all around the world is to promote and share the holiday itself. Educate your family, friends, and colleagues on these issues by making a post on social media regarding National Bird Day or by sharing this blog. The best way to address a problem is to first understand it. Another way to participate is to support reputable bird sanctuaries and rescues as well as avoid shopping at pet stores that sell or display birds. And lastly, show your support for avian conservation organizations such as Hatched To Fly Free, One Earth Conservation, and Indonesian Parrot Project. Now that you are well informed about the problems of bird protection and welfare, be part of the solution and get involved in making this world a better place for birds and people alike.