By Melissa L. Kauffman
It has been a full year since I last graced this editorial page — and what a year it has been. Although I am no longer the editor of BIRD TALK magazine, I still keep my fingertips in as its editorial director. Not working on the day-to-day has given me time to expand into other areas at my company that I am responsible for, which has been a long, strange trip.
First off, the Internet. Everyone seems to live and breathe on the Internet these days. I like the Internet, but I just don’t seem to have the time to spend several hours a day on it like some of my friends and family. I have become more involved in our company’s websites so, in an attempt to become more web social, I created a MySpace page. I had to get my husband to help me because, even though it is supposedly intuitive, I didn’t get it. Then I tried to create some kind of page design for it, but I couldn’t find anything really cool with a bird design. I ended up going with the Spartans from the movie “300,” so the page looks kind of scary. Immediately after creating the page, I got bored and never went back. A few months later, I created a FaceBook page. Although I am a little better about keeping up with this one, I just can’t do the daily checkups.
What I do really like about the Internet are the videos. I love to watch all the bird videos, especially with my birds. I am fostering a Meyer’s parrot named Woody (read all about that experience in my blog on BirdChannel.com). Woody has been an only-bird his whole life, so I like to find other Poicephalus videos and play them for him. He gets so excited. When the cockatiels see other ‘tiels they just start calling out. It is like having an aviary without the aviary. No mess, and the noise turns off with the volume switch!
One thing that has been tons of fun is the “World’s First Bird Dance-Off” on BirdChannel.com. Those birds are so very talented. I tried to get the ‘tiels to dance, and they basically stared into the bathroom mirror and chirped while loud dance music echoed off the bathroom walls. Why the bathroom walls? I thought giving them a little shower would help them to get their groove on — didn’t happen. You can see that video on my blog, too.
Besides getting more involved in the Internet, I also traveled on behalf of two of our other publications: Veterinary Practice News and Pet Product News. I went to New Orleans for the American Veterinary Medical Association convention. I had dinner with the wonderful Dr. Greg Rich, who you might remember from the annual Avian Mardi Gras seminars he put on pre-Katrina. He also has written for BIRD TALK magazine in the past, and I hope he does so again in the future. He had to rebuild his entire practice after Katrina. But he and his staff are back in Metairie, La., although he did have to evacuate with the birds in his care this hurricane season already.
I went to the SuperZoo trade show in Las Vegas for Pet Product News magazine. I was fortunate enough to have dinner with Rich, the maker of Neater Tweeter cage liners, and his longtime bird breeder friend, Scott. There is nothing better than hearing how someone decided to make a bird product and then set up shop and start selling it. Rich is a great guy, and I wish him the best of luck with his product. The nice thing about the bird world is that you can go out and meet the manufacturers, find out their mission, how and why they got started, talk to them about the product and why they believe in it. We are really a great community and the biggest thing I miss about the day-to-day of BIRD TALK is the people. You really don’t get any better than bird people.