Why a “Dodo” Award? The harmless dodo of the Island of Mauritius is often cited as the first creature to become extinct simply because man moved into its habitat. I, due to my cynical nature, imagine humans managed to kill off plenty of creatures before this…they just weren’t quite as odd and mythical-looking as the dodo, hence no publicity. The Dodo wasn’t really “dumb” so much as he was trusting and innocent. He never had any real predators until humans and their dogs came along, so he was too “dumb” to know how dangerous they were. The Dodo approached humans like a child might, open and curious. The sailors usually clubbed the poor things over the head. The Dodo Award therefore reflects man’s indifference to other living creatures and his seeming inability to see how his behavior affects all that surrounds him.
The names have been changed to protect the guilty…
“Bedlam” or “Oh My Bird Looks So Cute When It Sleeps Next to Me!”
Bill loved his amazon parrot. It was famous for its talking ability and got him on many talk shows. He felt really proud of this delightful beast. Bill and his parrot, let’s call the bird “Frankie,” were all excited about appearing on a well-known late-night talk show. They arrived at their hotel in the Big Apple a few hours before the show, exhausted from their trip, and Bill decided to take a nap. Bill let Frankie sleep with him on the bed, not bothering to put him in his cage.
Bill woke up a couple of hours later to find his beloved amazon had been suffocated by him. He had rolled over on the poor creature and he was sleeping so heavily that he never noticed the bird squirming to free itself. He still had the balls to appear on the show seeking sympathy for the tragedy. Reportedly, the show runners decided to buy him a new bird to replace the one he crushed. Hope this one has better luck with this dumb owner.
Other Bedlam Tales (short versions)
One woman reportedly woke up to find her small conure dead in the bed and was so dumb she inquired on-line about it: What do you think happened to my bird? He was so healthy? He was just all ruffled up on the side of the bed. Sheesh, woman, get a clue! You SUFFOCATED your bird.
The lesson only a dodo wouldn’t get: DO NOT sleep with your birds! Put your birds safely away in their cages when you take your nap!
“Fly by Night”
Chris Rutt of the UK relates the story of a man who brought home a new bird and put the creature straight into a large flight cage in the dark of night! The next day the bird was dead. Of course it was disoriented in the large, dark flight. It panicked and broke its own neck throwing itself around the flight. The bird should have been kept in a smaller carrier and only transferred to the large flight during the day so it could get its bearings.
“Two’s A Crowd (Especially with Six Eggs in the Nest)”
Chris also relates the story of a man who called him to inquire about a male peachface lovebird. It seems one of his had died and the hen was pining for a new mate. He came to get the new bird and seemed to be a well-informed bird owner. He called the next day to say the hen had killed the new male. It seems he not only just turned the new cock loose in the cage the hen had always been in, but the other cock had only died the day before and the hen was on eggs!!!
Lovebirds are very territorial, particularly hens sitting on eggs. You NEVER put two adult lovebirds together without supervision, and you should always put the two birds in a new cage, not in one of the lovebird’s home cages, since they will often fight for the territory. I supervise new pairs closely for atleast the first few days. I have had to break up many a new pair, usually because the hen has been pecking at the male and not allowing him to eat. Oh, and don’t add a mate to a cage with a hen sitting on eggs for goodness sake! She will kill to protect her eggs and young! Wait until she’s raised her chicks and you’ve removed them!
The lesson only a dodo wouldn’t get: Educate yourself before buying birds. Read books, talk to experienced aviculturists, don’t be a know-it-all and ask questions! And hey, how about some common sense?
“Having My Baby”
Numerous Dodo Awards go out to all those breeders who sell unweaned chicks to inexperienced people. To sell an unweaned trusting baby parrot to a new, unsuspecting (and ignorant) owner who has fallen prey to the myth than an unweaned baby bonds better to its new owner is an especially egregious act. Many times these birds are given a death sentence, and the death they go through is horrific: burned crops, bacterial infections due to food in the lungs, and slow starvation because the feeder doesn’t know how to get down enough formula. To every bird breeder who has sent their birds to their untimely deaths through this selfish act, “SHAME ON YOU!”
The lesson only a dodo wouldn’t get: A baby parrot relies on the breeder for its health and safety. Don’t betray the trust of a helpless baby creature. If you can’t afford to properly wean birds or make sure they are in the hands of experience hand-feeders, find a new business that doesn’t involve living things.
“I Can Fly!”
A woman wrote to me wondering how to tame her lovebird who was “flying away, crashing into windows.” She related that the bird had appeared stunned on one occasion. I warned her to clip the bird’s wings to avoid a tragedy, as the bird could break its neck flying into windows. She wrote me a few days later to describe the bird’s horrible death after it once again crashed into a window. It went limp, then into convulsions, and died. Her refusal to heed the warnings of more experienced bird people resulted in a painful, cruel death for this little bird. The woman seemed completely clueless about her contribution to this bird’s death.
The lesson only a dodo wouldn’t get: Don’t buy a bird without learning the basics, listen to the advice of those more experienced, and use some basic common sense. Any compassionate person would know that letting a frantic, terrified bird continually fly into windows is cruel. Any person who does not see this as cruel and dangerous should not own birds (or any pets for that matter).
More tragic awards to come (unfortunately)…