July 9th, 2007

Ann Vole

Pet fixation prevented me from being bird watcher

I was watching the many species of birds flying near the windows of the building where I could see them very close. I had many birds for pets and as livestock on farms I worked on so I know they are very similar to mammals in how they think and make fine pets but it is hard to provide the chance to fly for pet birds. I can see some of the personality of the various species of wild birds by watching the different species interacting but it is a poor substitute for human-bird interactions to really see how they think. I can enjoy trying to identify different species of birds but I am constantly wanting to document personality traits along with physical characteristics and I am lacking such data. I think I will stick to rodents where catching and handling them is a normal part of studying them and I can provide all the environmental conditions for them to use their bodies the way a wild one does instead of restricting flight for birds or restricting swimming for aquatic animals
or running space for larger animals. For pet birds, I mostly restricted my choice to pigeons and doves that could be allowed freedom to fly as they always came home or large fowl that could be fenced in and allowed to live relatively normal within their enclosure (but flight was restricted by clipping flight feathers). Our budgies could fly around the house sometimes but they had to be caged most of the time for their safety. I would love to have bats for pets but allowing them freedom to fly would make it rather difficult (and there is the rabies concern and illegal in most areas).