For the birds
December 2018 by V. R. Duin

FOR THE BIRDS
BAD FOR BIRDS?

“Ack, Ack! Ack! Don't be cheap.
Bring us goodies, bring us a treat.
We don't have to wait on you.
You must share the work load, too”.

Dolly the Parrot, a book character for children, and co-pilot for child education argues that “for the birds” is unsuitable for a bird cage, bird owner or bird dish.

Why should something “for the birds” be of low value? Since when does “going to the birds” mean something or someplace is becoming bad, messy or worthless? Why do some buildings, such as condominiums, declare there can be no pets living in the premises? Birds are among the animals that can serve as emotional support animals. An advantage of birds over other animals is their ability to speak in words with their owners. Landlords and rental management companies rarely collect pet deposits or require extra monthly charges from a bird owner. Often, these fees are nonrefundable. Rarely do these advance payments cover the damages that a pet actually causes. In addition to recovery for damages, a pet owner may be evicted due to these property damages. Could it be that birds are not known to cause damage to property like dogs or cats? Could this leniency come with the assumption that a bird is thought to be at all times enclosed in a bird cage? A bird in a cage is not the same as a dog or cat on the loose. If birds and bird cages were so messy, none of this would seem to make much sense.


It is not healthy for a bird to stay in a cage. They must be free to move and fly around. Wing flapping exercises do not carry the same benefits as flying. For this reason, it is not healthy for a bird to have clipped wings. A bird on the loose will chew and shred wood, electrical cords, leather products, paper, and curtains. The larger the parrot, the bigger the destruction. The Parrot Enrichment website discusses Toys and toy categories. Let's keep secret the fact that birds are not always in their bird cages. Birds can serve as comforting and loving lap and shoulder companions. Birds in the wild seek companionship in the flock. Unaccompanied birds are likely to become stressed birds. Unless birds are given companionship and jobs to do, their locations may end up with the unsuitable description of “for the birds”. Birds do not want a messy bird cage, so birds clean house and amuse themselves by launching food and hulls between the bars of their cages onto the walls and floor below. A bird owner must be sure to refill the bird dish, so birds can constantly forage and entertain themselves.


In the wild, birds' eating habits help feed creatures living below the trees. However, during the food tosses from the bird cage of a pet parrot, unsafe droppings may land on the floor. A Bird owner must take care to prevent a toddler from playing in them, or eating them. This can cause an unfortunate bird owner's home to end up being described in words that are far worse than “for the birds”. Birds will tastefully decorate their cages with colorful trinkets and toys. Some birds are obsessive about their decorating arrangements. A safe supply of bling and a reflective mirror may stimulate and entertain a bird for hours. Parrots enjoy toys that challenge them to forage, chew, separate and shred items to simulate the work for food in the wild. These toys may be homemade or purchased, but care must be taken with the construction materials. Styrofoam and woven products can cause toxic reactions or entanglements that result in death. The liners in the bottom of the bird cage should be made of paper products.


Birds are clean creatures that preen to keep a healthy sheen. Bird owners highly value this cleanliness in their pets, as they require less care. If a parrot is not preening, health and environmental conditions need evaluation. A change of diet, additional bathing or veterinary treatment may be required. Preening produces down, dander and feathers, which can cause allergies for some humans. Bird droppings inside and outside of the bird cage can harbor diseases. Daily cleaning in and around a bird cage should be required of each bird owner. Otherwise, the bird cage, the bird dish and the surrounding areas will not be suitable housing accommodations “for the birds” or for the bird owners. Unless the cage itself is washed down regularly, it may become a source of infections. Then, who wouldn't feel sorry “for the birds”? It also might greatly depress the mood of your fowl friend to return him or her to the cage with perches and toys before everything is throughly dry.

How to Care for a Bird Cage:

  • bird cage Dolly says:

    Hand-held vacuums can be helpful for cleaning up discarded seed hulls, down and feathers around a bird cage.

  • bird owner Dolly says:

    If a bird owner doesn't allow poop to dry like concrete, there is no need to use a strong scrub brush before washing the bird cage.

    • bird dishDolly says:

      A dirty bird dish is a breeding ground for bacteria and fungus, and must be cleaned by the owner of a bird in captivity.