Birders celebrate birds every day, but today is special – it’s National Bird Day! Yes, it’s an actual holiday, but it might not mean exactly what birders may realize.
First founded in 2002, National Bird Day is an awareness campaign by the Avian Welfare Coalition. The impetus behind this campaign is to highlight abuses and poaching in the pet trade, encouraging bird pet owners to adopt rather than shop, to be sure their pets are responsibly and ethically bred and receive proper care throughout their lives. The organization strongly believes and maintains that birds are more beautiful wild, and promotes that message year-round.
I am no going to denigrate or criticize pet bird owners; that isn’t something to celebrate. There are many wonderful people who delight in their pet birds and give them the greatest of care, just as there are many wonderful dog, cat, reptile, fish, guinea pig, rabbit, and other pet owners who give their pets amazing, healthy, happy lives. Yes, there are irresponsible owners of all pet species who neglect, abuse, and abandon their pets. But rather than lash out, it is important to take this day to appreciate birds – both pets and wild birds – and give them all the best possible lives. This means both being a responsible pet owner as well as appreciating and supporting wild birds. The two don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
In fact, the more we all get along and work together, the better off all birds will be, and the more birds we will all be able to appreciate. Be aware, and spread the word – Happy Bird Day!