Yellow Crowned Yellow Naped Amazons

The Value of Bird Club Fellowship

Is the Internet Replacing Monthly Companion Bird Clubs?

As the Internet becomes even more popular with endless threads of information, the avian community often reaches out to other flock members with the press of a button.   And, thanks to the power of social network sites, blogs, and so many choices in state of the art portable devices, immediate gratification is merely a click away. Without a doubt, the power of instant communication might be a positive aspect in building camaraderie with other avian enthusiast. However, one must question this trend and whether cyberspace education alone is an adequate replacement for “real time socialization” with other avian enthusiasts.

Organized companion bird clubs can offer a lot in the way of avian education coupled with a kindred fellowship, and of course community outreach events such as bird expos, adoption and fostering events,  companion bird awareness  to name a few.

Don’t let the Internet be your only source of information for your bird.

Towel Restraint
Safe method for towel restraint

If you’ve been following the HARI Blog, you might have picked up a few lessons in caring for your bird such as “how to detect pododermatitis” or “how to use safe non-invasive towel restraint“.  Now imagine a qualified avian care specialist demonstrating these lessons with a real towel and a real bird.
Can’t get that on your computer or your portable device!  But, when a thriving bird club features  a guest speaker to show the members how to do this first hand, the lesson is  more meaningful. And, who benefits from that?

For many of our followers, locating an organized companion bird clubs may present a challenge.  We suggest looking for a club that offers well rounded activities or benefits that are in line with the membership and the positive aspects of companion birds. A bird club is as empowering as its membership. While that can be a challenge, we do encourage avian caretakers to seek out friends and support their local bird clubs.  Local companion bird clubs are the ties that bind the avian community.  Need to find a bird club near you…yeah…you guessed it. Check the internet!

LIPS 26th Year!

With that being said, we’d like to acknowledge one of the largest companion bird clubs in the United States, the Long Island Parrot Society.   This year, LIPS celebrates their 26th year as 501c3 organization and serves the New York avian community with many projects that promote responsible bird ownership based on education and example. With a membership of over 600, the club caters to the many facets of the avian community to include companion bird owners, breeders, pet shop professionals as well as support for the  fostering and re-homing of companion birds in need.

And, now for an HARI EVENT announcement!

Calling all of the avian community in the Long Island New York area and set the date! JULY 23, 2011!HARI Event 2011

Join Mark Hagen, Director of HARI and Josee Bermingham, AHT and head veterinarian Technician for the day as they present A Parrot’s Guide to Surviving in a Human Household for the Long Island Parrot Society.

Whether you’re a companion pet owner, a breeder, or pet shop, you don’t want to miss this all day event!  LIPS, one of the largest companion bird clubs in the United States present this special opportunity to all. Special discounts are available with multiple registrations. For more information on this event, please visit the Long Island Parrot Society

Companion Macawan ambassador to the wild

Parrot Life

Companionship, Health, Behavior, Aviculture, & Conservation

Companion-an-ambassador-to-the-wild smallHave you ever noticed the sub title of Parrot Life Magazine? While the official magazine of HARI remains popular with the companion bird “spoke” of the avian community, we wanted to expand a little bit on the true meaning of the words : Companionship – Health – Behavior – Aviculture – Conservation.

Some of the” Spokes of the Avian Community”

Whether you’re a companion bird owner, an aviculturist, or conservationist, the common love and respect for the parrot is so tightly entwined…much as stated by the theme for the 7th Annual Parrots International Symposium in Miami, Florida June 2-3rd. “One World For Parrots: Conservation, Aviculture, Companion”

Companionship, Conservation, Aviculture – none exist without each other and we don’t exist without all of them!

As Mark Hagen, director of HARI, prepares his HARI Presentation for this conference, the theme for Parrots International, very much like the sub title of Parrot Life Magazine, helps to bridge the gap between the “spokes” that make up the wheel of the avian community.

Jack HARI ambassador to the gray wolfLet’s face it, many folks have pets. And of those pet loving folks, many have a pet dog. Of those people that have dogs, how many are concerned about the welfare of a gray wolf? After all, the companion or domestic dog that dominates today’s pet industry is a descendant of the gray wolf. Not a whole lot when we consider the number of pet dogs! This is somewhat understandable. Our companion dog today, regardless of breed, is over 15,000 years removed from his wild counterpart.

So what does conservation, aviculture, and the companion bird communities have in common and why is it so important that these spokes maintain a close relationship?

In a nutshell, it’s a constant evolution and a very synergistic relationship. While it is widely documented that Man has had a close relationship with the pet parrot as early as 400 BC, there is still so much we learn about our modern world when we take a look at parrots in our homes or in the wild. Our feathered companions, especially if they’re fairly young, are possibly only a generation or two from its wild counterpart. With the lifespan of some parrot species, many wild caught parrots are amongst the companion or aviary populations. Some of the behavior challenges that plague the companion birds can be attributed to a stifling or better explain, a lack of understanding of parrot’s innate behaviors derived from living in the wild. How about nutrition for companion birds? In the 1980’s, HARI director, Mark Hagen studied the caloric metabolism of a nesting pair of Scarlet macaws’ diet in the wild in comparison to that of captive parrots to determine the needs of a companion parrot’s caloric energy needs. This information was the corner stone in the development of HARI approved Tropican. What if these parrots were not there?

Mark-HagenLet’s switch to captive breeding populations of parrots. Look at the plight of the Spix’s macaw (Cyanopsitta spixii.) While there are many parrot species that are considered critically endangered, the Spix’s macaw is the probably amongst the most well known in the avian community. It is believed the last known Spix’s macaw disappeared in the wild in 2000. What caused this? Some would say it was greedy collectors for the illegal captive parrot market. Some would say the destruction of environment due to over development of lands for cattle grazing and the need to fulfill man’s progress in the world that outsourced the trees and food sources for this little blue parrot. A combination of all of these to be sure! Parrot populations in the wild are like the looking glass or microscope of how things are in an ecosystem. It is said that when a species goes extinct-it is quite possible that at least 10,000 living things go with it…trees, plants, insects and more! We’re in a bit of a quandary with global warming….

The work and unity of concerned avicultural facilities such as Loro Parque Foundation and Al Wabra Preservation , to name a few, have been of great importance in rebuilding populations of the Spix’s macaw with captive breeding practices. While production in captive breeding programs have brought the world population to over 70, the current population is not sufficient enough to repopulate the wild bird numbers-but it’s better than zero! More studies on the behalf of the conversationalist communities is necessary is required to understand the demise in the Spix’s wild habitat. Meanwhile, captive populations of this species needs to be responsibly maintained and remain fruitful and healthy. Success of this species is in the hands of professionals that have committed to years of dedicated aviary management.

While these are only brief examples of how the spokes come together, we at HARI celebrate the endeavors of all them and we hope you do!