Friday, October 12, 2007


Bird People

I think we can all call ourselves “bird people." It’s one of those titles I like: “bird person.' We all have them, in little subgroups (the “macaw person”, the “cockatiel person”, etc). We have our mascot, Alex. We have our clubs, and conventions and bird outings. We all have stories to tell about our birds. We love our birds.

For the most part, us bird people are misunderstood by everyone else. Even by our own family members. When I talk to my dad on the phone, I can see him rolling his eyes when I say I went to the store and saw all these cute bird toys I want. The first time my sister and her family met my bird Tori, they weren’t sure what to think about her. “Does she just sit on your shoulder?” they asked, and managing not to roll my eyes, I pointed to Tori’s cage which was chalk full of all sorts of toys, goodies, and paper (since Tori loves paper.)

We’re not an odd bunch, despite what people think. We’re just passionate enough about birds that we’re honored to have such a title. And we want to share our passion with others, and make them bird people as well. There is, after all, a
"bird person" in all of us. History is fascinated with birds. Look at the airplane!

I’ve started doing this with my own family. I was telling my dad about Alex the African grey one phone call. As most of us know by now, he died recently, and it was a sad day for so many. I’ve gotten a lot of e-mails and letters from readers who tell me how they loved Alex as much as their own birds. Our Alex the African grey memorial page on Bird Channel is filled with pictures and sweet goodbyes for Alex. For all of us that knew him and loved him, it was a tragic loss.

But for my dad, he didn’t know who Alex was. I found myself telling him all the things he could do, what he knew, how smart he was, the fact he had a concept of nothing. My dad was impressed, especially by that. He was fascinated; he asked me a few questions, he agreed to read a magazine of BIRD TALK. In that moment, I saw a glimpse of that bird person inside of him.

Here are some links to various articles written by non-bird people who met Alex. They’re fascinating, and by the end of each article, you can almost see the writer slowly becoming the bird person they’re going to be. This was Alex’s gift to them, and one I’m always sure they’ll remember.

You can find them here and here.

So, go out. Talk to friends, family members, or complete strangers! Start them on the journey to the “bird person” they’re going to be. Remember all that we have behind us, and all that’s going to move us forward.

Flock On!

-- Jessica

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