National Bird Day is celebrated on January 5. On this day, public awareness is raised regarding the threats to wild birds, as well as the plight of many captive birds.
Today, nearly 12% of the world’s 9,800 bird species may face extinction within the next century, including nearly one-third of the world’s 330 parrot species. This is largely due to loss of habitat, disease and the pet trade. Although the United States has laws to protect its native birds, it doesn’t stop the commercial exploitation of birds in other countries. Pet stores often put their profit above the health of the birds in their care.
National Bird Day is a day to help educate the public about some of the conservation issues facing the world’s bird population. For instance, scarlet macaws once flew over much of Central America but there are only 200 of them left. They are continually threatened by poaching and deforestation. For information on how you can make a difference, see Endangered Birds.
If you are a bird-lover, you can get involved in birdwatching. This is a hobby which promotes appreciation for wild birds and helps educate people about local bird populations.
Since many birds live in captivity, National Bird Day is an ideal time to be reminded of ways to improve the quality of life of pet birds:
- Birds should be provided with a healthy and varied diet.
- They should have the largest enclosure possible.
- Birds need out-of-cage time to fly around. Bird-proof the room first by removing items containing lead and zinc, paint chips, ceiling fans, electrical cords, cats and dogs, and closing the windows.
- Birds like to play with toys and interact with humans and other birds.
- Birds need direct sunlight or full-spectrum lighting. This is necessary for bone health.
- Regular bathing is important to keep their feathers clean. Some birds like to bathe in a shallow dish while others prefer being misted with a spray bottle.
- Move your bird around the house so he can participate in family activities and watch the goings-on.