As the New Year approaches, many people start making lists of things they’d like to accomplish in the coming year. Why not make a list that includes your parrots, finches, and doves? You can resolve to work on those issues you have been meaning to deal with for so long…I resolve to…
Make sure my pet bird learns how to eat a new healthy food. This means I’ll keep trying, even if my bird is picky and refuses that bowl of broccoli and carrots.
Play with my bird for short periods during the day, even if it is just a few minutes, so the bird knows he or she is really part of the family flock.
Take my bird to an avian veterinarian for that check up I’ve been meaning to do for many years.
Make sure my bird is properly groomed at least every 6 weeks, especially paying attention to his wings and toenails so he isn’t at risk for a fly-away or getting sharp toenails stuck in a toy.
Clean my bird’s cage thoroughly once a week in addition to daily maintenance. This means really scrubbing every nook and cranny of the cage and disinfecting it properly.
Work on the basics of gentle dominance, such as the step up command and the step down command.
(Photo: Pacific Parrotlet Mini; submitted my Manon Roos)
Take the time to observe my bird so I understand her moods and needs.
Take the time to talk to my bird, once again letting him know he is part of the family.
Give my bird a shower a few times a week to keep her feathers healthy and glowing.
Double-check there are no hazards in my home I may not have noticed before, such as hidden nonstick surfaces, small items that could be chewed up and swallowed that might hurt my bird, poisonous plants, or scented items that might harm my bird’s lungs.
(Photo: Mishka the Senegal; submitted by Rick Smith)
Read everything I can get my hands on about my species of bird so I know what is best for him.
Put together that emergency kit I’ve been meaning to put together for a long time.
Teach someone else how to handle my bird in case I am ever not around when my bird needs immediate help.
Stop allowing those bad habits to escalate into real behavioral problems by setting the rules and boundaries and consistently training and reinforcing positive behaviors.
Never give up on my birds. I will work through issues as they arise and attempt to understand how my bird thinks and feels. I will seek out veterinary care or an avian behaviorist and never relegate my bird to a closet or lock him forever in his cage out of fear of being bitten.
Make a life-long commitment to the living, feeling creature that is my pet, never choosing convenience over what is best for my bird.
May you all have a wonderful and happy New Year, both you and your feathered friends!
(Photo: Quaker parrot Pepper, submitted by Carla Fincher)
(All photos are reprinted with permission and should not be used without permission of the original owner.)