My how we’ve changed! Although man has enjoyed birds as companion animals for much of recorded history, the advances of the past 25 years have brought bird keeping into a modern day renaissance.
The Wild Bird Conservation Act of 1992 effectively stopped most legal imports (New York implemented a wild bird ban in 1986), and subsequent captive breeding and hand-rearing efforts have resulted in tame, tractable birds instead of wild-caught “broncos” offered for sale as pets. Some of us remember how difficult it was to “tame” our original pet birds. While today’s bird owner may have some behavior issues to deal with, raw, bloody hands aren’t usually among them!
Semantics have changed, too. Using the word “owner” in regard to one’s pet has become politically incorrect in some venues and “guardian” and “stewardship”are now frequently used to describe the human’s relationship to the pet. It’s kind of a moot point where birds are concerned though, because the question of who owns who is seldom determined beyond a doubt — in many homes, the birds rule the roost. Their human companions routinely convert dining rooms and other areas into avian habitats.
**For the full article, pick up the December 2007 special Anniversary Collector's Issue of BIRD TALK**