Friday, July 28, 2006


There's Something About That First Bird

Every bird aficionado has their story about how they were lured into their ‘addiction’ to pet birds. While I have noticed this during my internship with BIRD TALK Magazine, I don’t think I truly recognized it until one of the editors here told me that several weeks ago. Since then I’ve paid more attention to the bird owners I am in contact with and they never fail to excite me with their stories of how they first came into keeping pet birds. The enthusiasm they have about their current and past birds is contagious, but you can tell there is always something special about that first bird.

In the stories I’ve heard, the person was hooked on pet birds regardless of the ridicule they may have received from friends or family members when they first acquired a bird. In many of the stories about initial bird ownership, contrary to what most novice bird people might think, it seemed the bird chose the human. This is likely the reason for the strong connection that keeps the human going back for more.

I was able to speak with a woman who became a bird breeder after she fell in love with a bright red lory years ago, which she kept as her first bird when little was known about keeping lories as pets. Her contagious energy when she spoke of her first pet lory had me ready to go out and find a lorikeet of my own immediately after hanging up the phone. An avian vet recently wrote me an e-mail responding to some questions I had and he discussed his first pet bird, a cockatiel. It was obvious the bird positively impacted his life and he will forever remain passionate about cockatiels, and pet birds in general, because of his initial experience.

Getting to hear these stories and communicate with people who are so deeply fervent about pet birds is one of the most fun parts of my job. What’s your story about your initial experience with pet birds? Everyone has one.


We started out with cockatiels that were given to us. From there, we bought conures. Those passed away, then we got Oliver, our CAG. He's the best!
My conure fell in love with me while I was working at Petco during my summer vacation in college. He had been in the store for three months and didn't like anyone else and bit everyone but me, so I started playing with him and carrying him around on my shoulder. I fell completely head over heels for him (and he with me) and was ready and willing to take him home, but convincing my husband Jasper (then my boyfriend) that we needed this bird in our life wasn't so easy. Wakku, the conure, ended up staying in the store for three more months while I worked endlessly at getting my husband to let me buy him. The day that he acquiesced, I went to the store to pick him up, only to find out he'd been bought by a family for their five-year-old JUST HOURS EARLIER. I was broken-hearted, and a friend of mine who also worked there made it her mission to get me my bird back. When Wakku's new owners called to ask why he was biting their five-year-old so much, she suggested it would never stop and maybe they should bring him back and get a cockatiel instead. Two weeks later, after much biting, they did bring him back and I got to bring him home with me. Years later, we are all a happy family and Jasper confides that he could not imagine life without our conure.
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