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Your New Friend

By Laura Doering

I still get all mushy inside whenever my conure, Ollie, turns his head sideways to invite me to scratch his cheek. I can’t help but take it as a compliment; after all, here’s a creature no bigger than my hand, yet instead of viewing me as a giant predator, he thinks of me as his personal cook, maid and masseuse. He copies my intonations when I carry on a phone conversation, is most content burrowing into my shirt until he’s peeking out of my collar, and he makes the cutest honk sound whenever I sneeze. And to think that some people believe birds don’t have much to offer in the way of companionship!

Life with a companion bird is full of surprises. You might have one that learns to talk, one that never talks, or one that happily mutters along in a language all of its own. Your bird might be the cuddly type or one that prefers to interact on its own terms. Bird care is so different from that of cats or dogs, and that’s what makes them so unique. Their diet, housing, routine care, grooming and exercise needs greatly differ from those of the four-legged kind. (After all, what other pet can fly or greet you with a hearty, “Hello!”?)

The goal of BIRDS USA is to give you the tools to succeed in fostering your bird’s trust and the know-how to keep your pet happy, healthy and well-adjusted. We take pride in our expert-written articles that offer behavioral solutions, as well as vital diet and health information that help ensure your bird’s optimal well-being. And I hope our photo contest winners and honorable mentions (Page 128) make you smile, too — mischievous, cuddly and downright gravity defying, it’s all there!

Life with a companion bird is truly an adventure; I congratulate you on joining in on the journey!

 **For the issue, pick up the 2011 Birds USA at your local retailer or by purchasing a PDF download here.**


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