Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Bird World

Bird World by Meredith Phillips              32 pages                     

A good book introducing birds to people from the bird’s point of view as potential pets.     The book goes into the care involved and the needs of many different types of birds that are or can be domesticated from finches to parrots.   The book explains the different types of feathers birds have and what purpose they serve to the birds.   It describes the diferent types of beaks and claws or talons birds have and how they serve them.  It discusses how birds see and the radius they are capable of seeing and it tells the reader that while you may not see them birds actually do have ears and shows you where to find them.   I did not know that birds like their ears rubbed.     I would have thought they wouldn’t want them touched.   I learned something new right there and also where their ears are located.   It tells how birds can detect the subtle differences within other birds songs.     It discusses how a bird’s beak is both its nose and its mouth.    I did not know birds have a developed sense of taste.   I figured chewing on branches and such they must not have a highly developed sense of taste however this book will teach you that birds can actually distinguish between salty, sour, bitter and sweet, like humans.    It tells the reader the characteristics of various birds even varying varieties within a certain type of birds, ie. Finches, (Melba finch, Gouldian finch, Zebra finch, etc.).    It helps the reader to consider what type of bird would be the best fit with their lifestyle, one that lives in a cage?  Or an aviary?   Small bird or a large parrot that requires more space?    Do you want a bird to watch or to interact with because birds like to play, too and larger birds like toys the size small children play with.    Do you want a bird that requires minimal care or one that is higher maintenance?   Do you want a bird that talks or one that sings or both?    I have heard of Budgies(Budgerigars)  but I did not realize that they were what Americans tend to call Parakeets and there are loads of different varieties of Parakeets/Budgies in about every color you can imagine.   Canaries come in all colors and body and feather styles, too.    I had no idea.    And it was canaries that saved many a miner from death in the old days though they gave their all to do it.     The book discusses the different types of crests or feathers on a bird’s head that can in some species lift up to make them appear taller and fiercer to predators as can their loud or shrill sounds they make be unnerving to a would be predator.    I knew birds have a small respiratory system so you have to be careful to keep them out of smoky areas and can’t burn incense around them but they are REALLY susceptible to scents to even non-stick cookware too!   It gives off fumes that can make birds sick as can some cleaning products.    Some plants are ooisonous to birds which I didn’t think about and if you let birds out of their cages the book suggests covering windows and mirrors so they don’t fly into them.   Birds should not be allowed to get too cold because they can get sick and die.    It talks about the tricks you can teach your bird and says it is best to get birds as young as possible so they form a bond with their owner.   It talks about the life span of various birds and what to look for to be sure your bird is healthy when you pick him/her out before you bring your bird home.    It discusses special needs for various breeds of birds and their diets (also the mess they make and what will be required of their owner to clean and disinfect for them.   It tells the reader how to read bird body language to find out a bird’s mood so that even if you don’t speak the same language you can read what is on a bird’s mind by his actions or interpret his squawks.    Eye flashing is kind of freaky but it also let’s you know what is up with your bird.   Some birds bite be mindful.   It lets the reader know what all types of perch, toys, water bottles, etc. is needed for the varying bird types and recommends iding your bird if you let him out to fly free in the house just in case Aunt Louise opens the door by accident and Tweety decides to fly south for the winter.   It includes fun facts and a bird time line as to when domestic birds entered the scene.   I’m going to google Winston Churchill’s parrot, Charlie to see what those comments were the 104 year old parrot was making about the Fuhrer back in the day.       Good book.   Lots of good information here for anyone considering getting a bird as a pet.   There is certainly more to it than you would think.

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