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.


I've been to Omar's too. Had lots of fun. But, what really bothered me about the trip was the fact that the birds are out in the open and anyone can handle. Shouldn't they be protected? What about diseases, someone from outside could be carrying Psittacosis or something like that, infecting the birds?
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