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Thursday, July 17, 2008
The Books In The Bookshelf In The Bird Room

By Melissa L. Kauffman, Editorial Director of BIRD TALK and BirdChannel.com
Share in the adventures of Melissa Kauffman's experiences in bird ownership in Life in the Bird House

A brand new bookshelf free of beak marks
The new bookshelf has remained unchewed by the cockatiels so far. 
I got a new bookshelf over the weekend. It wasn’t a really expensive bookshelf, but I’ve been meaning to buy it for about six months and waited until I had the money to get it and the time to go pick it up. I am a big book lover, and I really needed another bookshelf. My husband and I shared one bookshelf in the guest bedroom and most of my books were in storage. Now, I could finally pull my favorite old books out and re-read them. My husband moved the new bookshelf into my office last night.

My new bookshelf. I stared at it, pristine beauty in white. It is a thing of beauty, a thing of great possibilities. It will hold books I have and books I will get. Ahhh, such a beautiful dream — until last night when I started to unpack the books to go into my new bookshelf. The only place the new bookshelf could go is in my office, and my office has another name – the bird room. Where I see great beauty, my birds see a great chew toy.

For more than 15 years we have waged a war, me with my furniture and books, magazines, family pictures and Bibles, the cockatiels with their unrelenting beaks. I tell them “No,” I try to supervise them, I move their cages, I give them lots and lots of fun toys. To no avail. They see what is mine as something they must conquer and destroy.

I am afraid for the new bookshelf in the bird room.

As I pick each book out of the two large storage boxes, I reflect upon its content, when and I why I bought it, the happy memories the book brings. And then I picture it chewed into pieces. With each book I had to decide, the safety of the storage box or the unpredictable future of the bookshelf in the bird room.

After so many years, there is no anger, it has all passed. Ever since the white wicker furniture incident, I no longer blame my `tiels. I blame myself. I find myself standing before the new bookshelf, staring at it in all of its unchewed perfection. Am I tempting fate? By putting the bookshelf here in the birdroom am I just making it inevitable?

I move the plant and its stand over to make more room for the bookshelf. I absently pull off some leaves that the birds had somehow gotten to and chewed. The poor helpless plant, the poor helpless bookshelf in the bird room.

I spend the next hour moving books over. I keep the birds in their cages. They watch me with interest. I can see their eyes gleam, their beaks glistening, ready for battle. I keep moving books in. Finally, I am done. It is such a site, everything clean and nicely in place. No poop to be seen, no seed hulls, no chewing. I am tempted to throw a blanket over it all to keep it safe.

It is 11 p.m. I say goodnight to the birds and look at the books in the bookshelf in the bird room one more time. I can still hope.

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Reader Comments
I think everyone knows how you feel. Whether it be a book, furniture or important documents. Birds have a way of hunting down and destroying these things. Guess thats part of having a bird, although like you said you can't really blame them. They don't really understand that the magazines they are allowed to chew the corners of differ from the important papers on desks. And my books will forever have strange holes and rips. Good article it made me smile :)
Casey, New Zealand
Posted: 11/20/2009 8:54:53 PM
I really had to laugh but at the same time sympathize. I have tiels and know exactly what you meant about your new, unchewed book shelf and no poop to clean!!!
Joanie, Barrington, NH
Posted: 10/17/2008 8:40:57 AM
luv my books and my magazines but i do (this is so bad!) let the birds sit and chew on my magazines as i read them...it makes them so happy and we are doing stuff together i figure!!!
stephanie, no smithfield, RI
Posted: 10/9/2008 4:50:40 PM
This is wonderful...like the author of this article...I too share my office with my birds.
Three Cockatiels, a Bourke Parakeet, my Cinnamon Green Cheeked Conure, and a pair of lovebirds and two baby lovebirds that are for sale. So I totally understand about your new book shelf..all I can say is GOOD LUCK!!!
Sherry, Salem, MO
Posted: 9/9/2008 12:47:39 PM
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