Tag Archives: bird ownership

Judgements in the Parrot World

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It might just be me, but I find that bird people (and I suppose all online animal enthusiasts) are very judgemental to people they do not know personally! Since the only record of these people I have is what I see them post, I try not to be judgemental… people have different situations and beliefs and reasonings that I cannot know or predict. But some people.. yikes! I feel so bad for them, that if it were me, I’d be crying.

But amazingly.. the things they are often criticized for, I do also!

For example, I’ve been called lazy, ignorant, cruel, and selfish for having Douglas clipped. This is the first time I’ve clipped him, and I did because his hormones were raging and he was attacking Kyoko. Of course, a lot of people deal with that situation, but not my exact situation. Do they know I pretty much live in a dorm room with two birds? Do they know that it’s hard to keep them separated? But i’m still called all those nasty words regardless, albeit indirectly.

I’ve been told indirectly that I shouldn’t own birds, because I often can’t afford to take my birds to the vet for yearly examinations. I have money saved for emergencies (although right now that is depleted… due to a recent emergency with someone else’s bird), but being a student, I can’t afford to spend $500 each on both of my birds to find out things that I already know. Mind you, if my birds were acting strange, or out of the ordinary, I would not hesitate to take them to the vet.

I’ve also been told multiple times that it is selfish to keep two birds that dislike each other in such a small space. But at the same time, it is mean of me to rehome them… not sure how to fix that situation then.

Recently, a thread on a parrot forum was brought up about a high school project to collect bugs and pin them. I pretty much do this for a living, since I work at the Royal Ontario Museum. There is a room with THOUSANDS of skin specimens of birds alone, and MILLIONS of other ones kicking around the museum… heck, i even saw a closet sized space with hundreds of jars with at least 20 bats in them each!  So I guess I am a monster eh?
Well now a days we don’t often kill birds for skins. They are usually birds that died from natural causes. But bugs are still often collected as well as other animals. I had a school project where we went around a field to collect bugs and we killed them and then learned to properly pin them. Is it terrible cruel that I didn’t even blink an eye, or hesitate at this? (Actually pinning was pretty gross). Heck! I even know how to skin a bird (i hope i never need to do that!) But all these things, that are advancements in science, are seen as cruel… evil… unnecessary…

Right now, I am working on barcoding the DNA of about 300 specimens from New Guinea, in order to see how birds are related, whether they need to be divided into subspecies… and basically I am just barcoding birds to be added to the Tree of Life. (Check out the project HERE. This is my project database here… BARCODE OF LIFE DATABASE.) I suppose it isn’t something that NEEDS to be discovered… but it is a large thing in evolutionary biology to show how every living organism in life is related phylogenetically. But there are also benefits to barcoding and taking samples from the wild…

FOR EXAMPLE: The Spix Macaw. Since all the babies currently in captivity are very closed related (inbreeding, etc.) in order to create offspring that survive and are healthy, scientists barcode the DNA of all the parrots, and try to  match up the two parrots that are the most genetically diverse. Sure, it’s not QUITE the same thing… but the point is, because I do what I do, does not make me an evil animal killer/hater.

What else.. I’ve also been shamed for not trying harder to feed pure organic food. It’s frowned upon that I keep my birds banded. The list goes on (although the worst rep i get is for having a clipped bird).

So… basically… according to most of the parrot people out there.. I’m a cruel cruel, ignorant bird owner that is lazy and selfish.. hehe.

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