Pet Birds and Seniors
Bird ownership carries many responsibilities, but also much joy. Depending on the type of bird you have, you might be entertained by its singing, talking or beauty (or all three).
Many years ago, I used to breed Budgies. Most of the babies went to new homes and I never saw them again, but two of these birds went to ladies who are both now in their 90’s and who ask me over to clip their bird’s wings and/or nails about twice a year. These are no longer the same birds I bred, but I helped each one find a new budgies when the original one passed on.
As I watch these ladies interact with their birds, I can see how much they adore their companions and how lost they would be without them. Their budgies have learned to talk and they carry on conversations with their caregivers. Tending to their birds and their needs has been good for these ladies as it gives them a purpose as well as someone to talk to.
I belonged to the Parrot Club of Manitoba and one of the things we did was to visit senior’s nursing homes with our birds. It is amazing to see some of the resident's eyes light up at the sight of our birds.
Many of them begin to talk about birds that they have owned, but they also want to know everything about the birds we have brought with us. One gentleman in particular one trip was the highlight for me. He had stayed in his room to sleep, but one of the nurses brought me in to see him with my Green Cheek Conure, Griffin.
This man had never seen a Green Cheek Conure before, but he knows birds because he had kept many from over his livetime. He looked at Griffin and said, “I’ll be his type of bird comes from Argentina”, and he was right.
He then went on to talk about other birds including cockatiels that he used to raise and he was just coming more alive every minute that he talked. This man was 97 years old and I’m sure that part of the reason for his long life is due to his love of, and care for pet birds that he has had.
This particular nursing home has several birds scattered through the hallways. One bird is a cockatiel that our club donated to the home 18 years ago. He has been well looked after during that time and is a happy healthy bird. The residents enjoy talking to him daily.
Due to the visits that the club did, more and more of the nursing homes & senior’s residences in this city are keeping pet birds on the premises and I feel that this is good for all concerned. Whether a senior lives in his/her own home or in a senior’s residence, having a pet bird to look after and to talk to help to make him feel better and more relaxed. This can only be good for the senior.
After many years of pet bird ownership, I have written e-books about the care of some of these wonderful birds.
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