10 Things Bird Owners Do That Others Find Baffling
10 Things Bird Owners Do That Others Will Never Understand
- Shower with their birds.
There’s a reason why shower perches exist — many parrots, like people, love to get soaked in a shower. Taking your parrot into the shower with you saves time and saves water. (Well, on second thought, showering with your parrot might cause you to take a longer shower if your bird opens up his/her wings and does a “water dance” to catch each droplet). Some pet bird people perch their birds on the shower rod or nearby so their birds’ feathers can benefit from the steam. If your bird likes to sing or whistle while in the shower, you might want to give non-bird overnight houseguests a heads up, or they might assume that’s you! Dogs are typically bathed all by themselves in the bathtub, outdoors under a garden hose or at the groomer, and cats are rarely bathed — so your cat and dog loving friends might not understand that showering with you is a favorite part of your bird’s day.
- Be OK with bird poop on their clothing.
Experienced bird people tend not to freak out if and when their bird poops on them. We just deal with it by blotting it off with a wipe or napkin and continue our conversation. When you think about it, bird poop is much less offensive, at least size wise and smell-wise, than that of cats and dogs.
- Sing to their birds in a “Sesame-Street” kind of way.
Compared to other pets, parrots tend to be a little more interactive — as in you sing, they sing; you whistle, they whistle; you talk, they talk back. Combine this with the fact that most parrots respond better to words or phrases said or sung in a silly way — a habit you quickly develop — and you might be amusing your houseguests without even knowing it.
- Save the good veggies and fruit for their birds.
If you have a houseguest with fridge privileges, they might be taken aback by your intervening if they open the crisp bin, the one dedicated solely for your flock. You know your birds won’t forgive you if they see some silly human eating their daily blueberry or freshly misted romaine leaf.
- Dedicate a quiet room for their bird.
Bird people know how much their birds cherish a good night’s sleep. Birds don’t want to be startled off of their perch and they don’t want to have to keep one eye open in a room with activity going on. Some birds even insist on going to bed at the same time each night and will start to vocalize their disapproval of being left in the “mix of things” when the clock strikes that certain hour. The solution is designating a separate sleep room. Your evening guests might be equally startled if they accidentally venture into your bird’s quiet room and are met with a squawk or the sound of a bird flapping his/her wings as he/she tries to stay steady on the perch.
- Hide in the closet, pantry or bathroom when they’re on the phone so their bird can’t interrupt them.
A lot of bird people have an in-home “phone booth,” which can be a closet, pantry or bathroom — a place where they can hide so their bird won’t know they are on the phone. “Why” a layperson may ask? Because many parrots seem compelled to compete with their people during a phone call. This can be through mimicking their person’s intonations, laugh or in, extreme cases, full-on screaming for the duration of the call. The bird will most always win, so the easiest solution is to slip out of sight/sound while you make or answer a call.
- Spend $25 on a toy their bird will completely destroy within the week, and then buy more.
It’s fun to go bird toy shopping because toys for birds are often colorful, kid-like, and there is an endless variety. A torn and chewed up toy is the ultimate form of flattery when it comes to parrots and their playthings. Bird people know that parrots need safe items to chew up and thoroughly destroy and won’t flinch at spending what would be considered a good amount of money in cat and dog terms on a toy that won’t last more than a week or two.
- Save their birds’ molted feathers.
Bird people are fortunate in that their pets “gift them” with a whole lot of feathers a couple of times a year, when their birds molt. A lot of parrot people save some of their birds’ colorful feathers as keepsakes. (My personal favorite is my cockatiel’s top crest feather, which resembles a little plume.)
- Whistle/contact call to their bird whenever they leave the room.
You might be so used to whistling to your bird from another room, that you won’t notice the curious expression on your visitor’s face, who probably doesn’t know the intricacies of your bird needing to know that you are nearby and safe.
- Drive two or more hours to their favorite vet or bird store.
Bird people are a dedicated bunch. This might mean driving a couple hours to a bird-experienced veterinarian or to an avian-retail store. In a dog and cat-centered pet world, a lot of bird people go out of their way to find top-quality avian services.
About Laura Doering
Laura Doering is the former editor of Bird Talk magazine and its sister publication, Birds USA magazine. She has covered just about every topic related to pet birds during her 13-year tenure at Bird Talk.