Friday, October 27, 2006


A Bird Store Experience

I went on what I think of as the “BIRD TALK Intern field trip to Omar's Exotic Birds store” today.

I’ve never been in a store that specialized in just birds before. So seeing the birds on hanging perches was amazing. I’m so used to seeing birds behind glass at the major pet stores or behind bars, behind fences and across concrete valleys at the zoos. It was so exciting to see them gathered on their perches, free to move around.

I guess I would compare it to a little kid’s first trip to Disneyland. You can’t sleep the night before. Your heart is racing as you walk up to the gate. Then you walk under the archway and there you are. You look around wide eyed, not quite sure what to do first, trying to see everything around you all in one glance.

I used to do that even when I was younger. Whenever we went to a zoo, the thing that we absolutely HAD TO DO was go to the Lorikeet aviary. I would go inside the aviary clutching whatever piece of fruit I’d been handed, just looking all around at all the birds.

But there I was, surrounded by birds of different species and sizes. My eyes were wandering over a color pallet of macaws, conures, and Amazons. I took it all in, just trying to get a feel for it by observing and listening.

I didn’t really get into touching any or having any step up onto my finger. I wasn’t afraid to try. I was more excited to apply all that I’ve learned about the different species and by taking the experience in.

I watched as other people in the store had birds step up onto their fingers. I listened to them talk to the birds. All I could do was smile because they were all just so cute.

I walked between the perches, trying to see if I could identify which bird species was which without looking at the signs. I ran through all the information that I’ve been filing away in my head. How do you approach a bird, how do you not approach a bird, and what type of character is typical of which species.

The African greys are a lot smaller than I originally thought they were. For some reason I always imagined them to be huge. The sun conures and the Hahn’s macaw were precious. I saw a beautiful red eclectus that I couldn’t take my eyes off of.

The cockatiel’s made me think of the cockatiel my family had when I was younger. One of them looked just like him. Next to the cockatiels, the black-headed caiques were running all around inside of their little area. Two of them were wrestling. I probably could have sat there all day just watching them.

I was a little disappointed that there weren’t any lovebirds or parrotlets, but that just means that I’ll have to go back sometime to see the birds again.


Friday, October 13, 2006


Knowing the difference

The deadline for having all of our content in for the new web site is right here, and I have been literally up to my elbows in everything birds this week. Bird pictures, every issue of BIRD TALK from this year, species lists, excel sheets, ect.

In my last entry I talked about how I’m learning about birds. I’m still no where near a bird expert, but I can proudly say that I am starting to be able to pick out certain birds. I had to look through a lot of photos to record down which bird species we had pictures for. I made a game out of it and used the pictures like flash cards. I would look at the bird, take a guess on which species I thought it was, and then flip it over to see if I was correct. After four days of doing that, I was pretty excited that I could tell a white-bellied caique from a sun conure. Of course, anyone that owns one or the other knows the obvious color difference anyway, but for me, who had no idea that those species of birds existed, I was proud of this latest accomplishment in bird identification.

I noticed it last week when I was at the ice cream parlor with my sister. The coffee shop across the way had a picture of a big red bird displayed in the window. I took a look at it and the first thing that came out of my mouth was, “That is a green-winged macaw.” My sister looked at me strange and then said “Thanks for the bird lesson Crys.” Sarcasm was the tone, but it didn’t really bother me. When I came into work the next day I looked through my bird informational resources to see if I was right. I was, and it was yet another gold star moment.

Even more exciting to me is looking through the photos that BIRD TALK readers send in. Part of my intern duties is to moderate the message boards on the BIRD TALK magazine web site. After reading through the posts over the last five weeks I’ve started to piece together pet bird’s names, what species they are, and which user name they belong to. Not perfectly, keep in mind, but a few have stuck hard.

I was looking through some of the back issues to check on the spelling of species names when I came across some reader’s photos. I looked at the bird’s names that had been provided and it all clicked together. I know those birds! OK, not exactly personally know them, but I knew of them. It was like recognizing that your favorite celebrity was sitting two tables down from you at a restaurant. Well, it was exciting to me.

In the beginning, I joked with my friends that I was going to know all the basics about birds that there was to know. I’m starting to change my view, however, that it is not a joke. I’m slowly realizing that I’m only halfway through my internship and I have already learned so much. Pretty good for not knowing anything about birds, don't you think?


Monday, October 02, 2006


Let's Talk About Birds

I wouldn’t say that I am any more a bird expert than I was when I first came into this internship with BIRD TALK magazine. But, I would say that in the little over three weeks that I’ve been here, I’m learning a lot about birds. I didn’t know how interesting birds were. I guess you could say that I’ve had a first initial bite of that bird bug.

At first I was simply in a rush to learn as much as I could so that when I went to read and edit an article, I would have some clue of what I was reading about. My first day here I must have read at least halfway through “Birds for Dummies”. I learned the basic knowledge that first day. I realized that birds are very intelligent, and have physical and emotional needs just like we do. I’ve been reading a lot more about birds and each species as the team edits through the content that will be going up for the new web site. I think I’ve been learning more from reading the articles and from looking at all the pictures.

I can’t proudly say that I can tell a Conure from a Caique. But I can tell you the difference between a Cockatiel and a Parrotlet. And if you were to put a Green-rumped Parrotlet and a Pacific Parrotlet in front of me, I may or may not be able to tell you which was which based on what colors they were. But hey, you have to start somewhere, right?

I find myself talking about what I’ve learned about birds to anyone. I’ve been educating my boyfriend and some of his fellow Marines over in Japan all about what I’ve been learning about birds. I usually share at least one thing that I’ve learned that day with them. They’re probably wondering if I’ve completely lost my mind, but they do sit there and listen. Either they actually secretly enjoy learning something new too or they just enjoy the cookies I send every month enough that they figure they owe it to me to listen. Either way, I get to talk about birds to someone. I find it exciting to say the least.

I hope that by the end of my internship I’ll have learned a great deal about birds to put to good use one day. Especially if I do, one day, get my own bird.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?