By Linda S. Rubin
Consider these options when searching for a potential bird caregiver:
Tip 1 Animal hospitals that utilize avian veterinarians may have experienced, avian technicians who specialize in birds. Some are willing to work a little overtime if the commuting distance is within reason. Be prepared to pay an agreed upon wage that will include transportation expenses and discuss the subject of money ahead of time.
Courtesy Kathleen Rychalski, New York
Take time to get references for any potential avian care providers.
Tip 2 Local bird clubs have experienced bird club members who may be interested in working with species that differ from their own or who are seeking more experience along with some extra “seed money.” If you breed birds, bird enthusiasts may agree to work in exchange for an occasional weaned baby bird, or bird wholesale supplies, if you have access to them.
Tip 3 A list of local bird clubs in your state is included under “National and Local Bird Clubs,” located at the back of BIRD TALK and as a bird club directory on BirdChannel.com. National organizations such as the American Federation of Aviculture (AFA) and the National Cage Bird Show each have numerous affiliated clubs and regional officers who may be able to recommend local resources.
Tip 4 For less expensive help, or less complicated work, contact local 4-H Clubs or high school science departments to find students who are seriously interested in working with birds. You may end up being a future aviculturist’s mentor! Ask the school or club if you can post flyers, take out an ad in the school paper, or if the science department would make announcements to students about a unique work opportunity with birds.
Tip 5 For more sophisticated tasks or more challenging breeding endeavors, contact an agricultural college or university to see if undergraduate or graduate students would be interested.
Before deciding on an avian care provider for your birds, always ask for several references from respected sources known within aviculture. Personal references are of little value if such references are unacquainted with birds. Ask for references from: avian veterinarians, avian technicians, high-profile aviculturists and well-known breeders, bird club officers and respected longtime members, professors, teachers, pet industry professionals and others within the avicultural community.
Interview all applicants at least two or more times until you are satisfied you have found the right candidate for your needs.