People keep pet birds throughout the United States, from Florida to Alaska, but is there one state that it is better, or easier, for bird owners? When asked by BIRD TALK, pet bird owners, bird breeders and avian veterinarians repeatedly listed Florida, California and Texas as the three best states for birds. Why? Access to avian veterinarians, bird-oriented clubs and shops and a steady stream of sunshine topped the list of the most important factors for bird owners.
The Sunshine States: Florida, California & Texas
BIRD TALK reader Jillian Baptist of Florida voted for her home state. “Florida is hands down the best state to live in when you are a bird owner — especially near the coast. The temperate climate and high humidity keep my birds’ feathers in top condition.” Baptist adds, “I can grow organic veggies and fruits in my own backyard.”
Access to the proper food items needed to raise a bird should be a top priority for bird owners, Laurella Desborough, vice president of legislative affairs for the American Federation of Aviculture (AFA) and a resident of Florida, said. Access to a knowledgeable avian veterinarian, however, is just as critical, she pointed out.
The Association of Avian Veterinarians’ online member listing confirms that Florida, Texas and California all have a high number of avian certified veterinarians. They also have schools working on avian research, such as Texas A&M and UC Davis.
Many popular pet bird conventions often hold their national conventions in these areas, such as the American Federation of Aviculture, The National Bird Club Show, The Aviculture Society of American and the National Parrot Festival. The sheer number of pet bird owners mean plenty of shows and bird club activities every weekend.
Brenda Schroeder, a BIRD TALK reader in Southern California, believes that California has it all. She answered: “California! Huge community of bird owners, excellent vets, wonderful weather.”
Jeff Downing, editor of the American Dove Association (ADA) newsletter and a resident of Maryland said, “The ADA averages 700 members throughout the United States. Our top three states as far as members are California, Texas and Florida. Most species of doves require warm, arid climates and these states require less management during cooler times of the year.” He added that large bird breeders are also typically located in warmer states.
Trouble in Paradise?
Of course, not everything is perfect in these popular states. Dr. Ferguson said that exposure to parasites could be particularly problematic in Florida, Georgia and Southern California. Warm, damp areas often exacerbate the problem, however, exposure to ultraviolet light will kill a lot of bacteria, she added.
Dr. Kersting warned that during the warmer months, exposure to West Nile virus could be a problem for birds outdoors. “We deal with the West Nile along the Mississippi,” he said. “I recommend avoiding mosquito feeding hours. Take your bird out on sunny days, after 11 [am] and before 4 [pm].”
There is also the danger of natural disasters, such as the hurricane season in Florida and the fire season in California.