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If you were a bird ...

If you were a bird ...

Posted 26 June 2013   by Amy         Permalink | 5 Comments

Tags: birds, cages, video

If you were a bird, even just for a day ... it sounds like the beginning of a Beyoncé song but it is actually the thought behind Brett Frawley and Grace Keyworth’s short doco, which made it to the finals of ABC’s Mini Shot competition:

It is easy for everyone to see that flying would be the bees knees, (with pooping whilst flying coming a close second). We even use the bird as a symbol of freedom. And peace. And love. And yet so many of them are put in tiny cages.

Wouldn't you agree, there's a tragedy in that?

In the wild, most birds are flock animals. They fly together, groom each other, play and share parenting duties. Many species even mate for life. And a long life it can be, with parrots living anywhere up to 100 years. 100 years! I wonder if parrots get a letter from the Bird Queen on their 100th birthday...


When you consider the fact many birds fly countless kilometres a day and spend hours foraging for food, it is hard to imagine how those living in small cages could ever have the same quality of life.

Of course, many people with birds will do everything they can to give them a good life. But sadly, for many birds in captivity, loneliness, boredom and stress can drive them to repetitive behaviour (like swaying from side to side), picking out all of their feathers and aggression. I'm sure I'd get pretty frustrated too if I had wings, but couldn’t use them.

What would you do if you were a bird for a day?

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Veggie Veronica Veggie Veronica 9 July 2013
This is NOT how kind bird owners treat their birds at all!
I would never clip the wings of a bird. If their wings had been already clipped, they can still ride on me. Even people who do clip wings make sure they can fly a little.
Birds don't sit in a cage all day. They come out for training and play time. Experienced owners also take them outside. On YouTube a cockatoo with clipped wings was being walked on a grassy oval and a bird that could fly was flitting around in the tree branches.
Most bird owners provide the bird with companions, a big cage and lots of toys. That solves the loneliness, boredom and stress problem.
Having pet birds is part of conservation.
If I were a bird I would be a cheeky cockatoo. I wouldn't mind whether I was in captivity or wild. If I was a pet I would want to have a responsible bird owner.
It's such a shame there's still so many bird owners doing the wrong things!
cry dove
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BFV BFV 9 July 2013
Isn't saying "having pet birds is part of conservation" kind of the same as people defending factory farming by saying "cows would go extinct if we didn't farm them"?
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Veggie Veronica Veggie Veronica 11 July 2013
I'm saying that the Australian bird, the Orange-Bellied Parrot, has under 50 individuals left in the wild. No captive-breeding programs would be a disaster. But with 208 birds in these programs, the future of this bird is looking up.happy
For some birds it's life-saving with captive-breeding programs. For others it's not necessary. I'm talking about near-extinct birds here.
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BFV BFV 27 August 2013
It seems like you're pretty knowledgeable on the subject so I guess you've weighed up the pros and cons.
My main concern is whether the birds bred in captivity would ever be able to survive in the wild. You can't usually release pet birds because they haven't had the opportunity to develop the necessary survival skills.
If they would always remain captive, then I wonder what part of the bird is being conserved, other than its appearance...?
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Veggie Veronica Veggie Veronica 28 August 2013
Birds are nice companions, and they are not only conserved because of their appearance but the part they play in nature.
Personally, I think pet birds should learn how to live in the wild. You should hide food in places like in the wild, and make your bird alert if your bird ever comes in the way of an eagle. It would also be better to have native species than non-native species, as our native birds would have some instincts if they fly off.
I know there are some bird rescues who look for birds who fly away.
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