National Bird Day
annually on January 5th (since 2003)
National Bird Day was created by Born Free USA (which was the Animal Protection Institute until 2007) and The Avian Welfare Coalition, to reduce the suffering of wild and captive birds. The day is meant to raise awareness of the destructive bird trade and cruel breeding mills, and to work for the improvement of conditions for birds already in captivity.
Millions of birds are captured in the wild each year, or are produced in captivity by breeders, who along with pet stores, sell them for profit. Many birds die in captivity before even being sold. Exotic birds have inherent behavioral and physical needs, which are often not met. They are still wild animals even though they are often treated as if they are not, and the confinement of birds to cages can lead to self-destructive behaviors. Buyers must not buy on impulse, and must be ready to keep a purchased bird for a lifetime. If buyers are not prepared to properly care for birds, birds may end up ignored in their cages, or left back into the wild to fend for themselves. They also may end up in overwhelmed bird sanctuaries.
How to Observe National Bird Day
You can take part in the day in numerous ways. If you want a bird, adopt a displaced bird instead of one from a pet store, and only do it if you can make a lifetime care commitment. Before adopting a bird such as a parrot, make sure you think about their needs. This will help stop more bird displacement in the future. You could help raise the demand for birds in the wild, instead of helping to raise the demand for birds as pets. Support conservation efforts to help increase ecotourism, which will allow more birds will be seen in the wild. It is fitting to spend the day seeing wild birds yourself, whether they be exotic or not. Check to see if pet stores in your community sell birds. If they do, talk to someone at the store, organize a peaceful protest, or write a letter to a newspaper. You could also check if national pet stores sell birds and contact them as well. Teach children about the plight of captive birds by sharing with them the book Lucky. Supporting well regarded bird rescues and sanctuaries is another way to observe the day, and The Avian Welfare Coalition also recommends supporting organizations such as the Indonesian Parrot Project, One Earth Conservation, and Hatched to Fly Free. Visit the National Bird Day Facebook page and Avian Welfare Coalition website for more information.