Fundamentals are Building Blocks

Written By: B.D. Butler - Jun• 27•12


fun·da·men·tal (Noun)

 a : serving as an original or generating source

b : serving as a basis supporting existence or determining essential structure or function


I remember a movie from years ago called Uptown Girls, starring Britney Murphy and a very young Dakota Fanning.  This movie had some great liners, including Dakota’s character spouting off “Fundamentals are the building blocks of fun”, and that quote has followed me ever since.

In life we like to jump ahead, and hope for the best, but essentially it is best to do your homework before embarking on a voyage to discover America.

A small local bird group has some great programs and seminars happening this summer.  Starting with a basic course on how to care for your companion bird.  I think that this is an amazing idea, and to be honest, when I was eleven and got my first parakeet we both would have benefited with a class.  It’s so important to know what you are doing with birds, and exactly the reason why, and not just because someone told you so.

Click on photo for Teddy Roosevelt and his Hyacinth Eli.

A cook at my former work Hector, decided that after hearing about my stories of everything parrot, that he wanted a “paquito”.  I told him that there was a lot of work involved, and they lived a very very long time.  He of course like most of us, wanted to hop on the parrot train, and find an amazon or a macaw.  I explained the cost, and showed him photos of cockatiels.  I also explained that cockatiels are fantastic little birds, and can also turn into great family pets.  The good thing was in Mexico he had an amazon parrot when he was a child, and was not too unfamiliar with all of the leg work that goes with them, but that was decades ago.  Since then there have been some pretty dramatic changes, and advances in companion bird care and nutrition.

Me being me, I put together a crash course “manual” for him.  It was a collection of all of the do’s and don’ts that I could find on the internet.  Thank god for google translator because it made the footwork of converting it into Spanish, that much easier.  Hector of course was so appreciative, and went on his merry way.  He got one bird from a commercial pet store, and within two weeks the poor little guy was dead.  Hector called me crying, asking what he had done.  I attempted to console him the best that I could, and I called the pet store with a few words and especially made sure he would get a refund.  I did not know that he would not only get a refund, but they were nice enough to give him another cockatiel.

We revisited all of the items that he should and shouldn’t do, diet (I also gave him a large bag of my frozen “Chop”), maintenance, and general care.  Since then, you will be happy to know that his cockatiel is very healthy and happy, and rides just about everywhere on his shoulder.  Hector’s family truly found their happy family bird.

So question, what do you do if a “newbie” wants to get a bird on the fly, or spur of the moment?

If a friend of yours is looking into buying a bird, it’s a great idea to not only tell them about all of the hard work, but show them how much it can be.  Invite them over to see your birds in action, and all of the cleaning and care that go hand in hand with having a healthy bird.  Make sure that you show them the difficulties, and it can be amazing, but it’s also no hayride on Hee Haw either.  Then help them find literature, and show them what you know.  If we in the aviculture world, would show one another what we know, especially those who are just starting out, I think people would be surprised how healthy and happy companion birds around the world would be.


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