Rounded Rectangle:

 “We are healthy only to the extent that our ideas are humane.”

 … Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.


Vegan … Animal Rights … Environmental

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       An Article By Lorraine Nicotera


Upstairs in my house in a small bedroom, I have a few free-flying parakeets that I have rescued. They spend their lives there with some fake fichus trees and lots of fresh food every day. These birds came to me because they were unwanted. I obtained them through shelters or by word of mouth. And, of course, through, the best place to get a pet.


Parrots are a species from the Psittacoses family, and they are recognized by their hooked bills. Birds like Parakeets, Cockatiels, and larger Parrots, like Conures, African Greys, and Macaws, are all part of the psittacoses family of birds. They are not native to North America. There was only one parakeet that was native to America, the Carolina parakeet, which was brought to extinction in the early 20th century.

To make space for more agricultural land, large areas of forest were cut down, taking away their living space. Their colorful feathers (green body, yellow head, and red around the bill) were in demand as decorations in ladies' hats, and the birds were kept as pets.


Even though these birds bred easily in captivity, little was done by owners to increase the population of tamed birds. Finally, they were killed in large numbers because farmers considered them a pest.

The parrots we see today are products of the pet bird trade, which is a horrendous analogy to puppy mills. Each year, millions of birds, mostly parrots from other countries, are captured from the wild or produced in captivity, many in bird mills, only to lead miserable lives languishing in conditions that fail to meet their instinctive behavioral and needs.


The Animal Protection Institute (, in coordination with the Avian Welfare Coalition (, is proclaiming Jan. 5 as National Bird Day on behalf of captive birds to draw attention to the exploitation of birds by the U.S. pet industry.


A couple of facts:


Nearly 12 percent of the world's 9,800 bird species may face extinction within the next century, including nearly one-third of the world's 330 parrot species.


Many of the world's parrots and songbirds are threatened with extinction due to pressures from the pet trade and habitat loss.


National Bird Day ( is not only a good day to take time to appreciate the native wild birds flying free outside our windows, it is also a perfect time to reflect on how we treat the native birds of other countries.


While we have enacted laws to protect our native birds--such as blue jays, cardinals, and crows--from commercial exploitation, we fail to recognize the inconsistency in allowing the pet industry to exploit the birds of other countries.


Even when bred in captivity, exotic birds are not considered domesticated animals, and all their inherent behavioral and physical needs remain intact.


Sadly, when it comes to birds, deprivation of their natural behaviors (to fly and flock, for example) is an inescapable component of their captivity. Each year, thousands of birds are sold into the pet trade to individuals who are under the mistaken impression that a bird will make a perfect pet.

Eventually, whether due to frustration, disinterest, or concern, many people attempt to rid themselves of the responsibility of caring for their birds. Unfortunately, few of these birds will find a loving home, and most will spend their days isolated and confined to their cages. Others will bounce from home to home as their caretakers tire of them, and some may be abandoned at local shelters and bird rescues, set free to fend for themselves, or euthanized.


Meanwhile, pet stores across the country, including Petco and PetSmart, continue to treat birds like merchandise, peddling them into the pet trade. The in-store care of animals in pet shops is always suspect because store managers are often faced with conflicting responsibilities of caring for animals, even when the animals are sick, and making a store profitable. Since the cost of veterinary care can easily exceed the commercial value of an animal, common sense leads to the conclusion that profits and animal care inherently conflict, especially in a retail environment.


Before choosing an exotic bird/parrot as-your companion, do some research into the proper care. These sensitive and very smart birds need lots of attention and space to be really happy.

Phoenix Landing, a parrot adoption and education organization, offers courses about what you need to know when being a bird guardian. They are not yet located up here, but much can be learned from their website at Then when you are ready, of course, adopt so you don't support the pet bird trade.


Lorraine Nicotera is an animal-rights advocate, a vegan, a Massachusetts Certified Wildlife Rehabilitator, and the Vice President of the South Shore Humane Society. Visit Her Website at


A Day for Our Feathered Friends

Alibris Hot off the Press Standard, Inc