Hindsight is 20/20

Written By: B.D. Butler - Jan• 16•13
Click here for rear view mirror.

Click here for rear view mirror.

When most people are making their new year’s resolutions, I like to sit down with a cup of coffee and do a little bit of emotional inventory.  Reflection in my opinion is a great way to remember where you have been and take said emotional inventory and maybe learn a little something.  My friend Dru said years ago , “your rear view mirror is 1/16 of your windshield for a reason, you are supposed to continue going forward and occasionally glance back, not the other way around” and I have lived with that mantra.  

Looking back at this time last year, I had begun learning a bit more about parrots than the basics.  I had been to a few parrot events and met some great people out there in the biz.  I started to focus on the happiness of my birds with foraging, toys placement, more specialized diet ideas, tailored training, and not just the cleanliness of their environment (which by the way is so important).  Everything was making sense and I was able to take from the countless books and videos that I had read/viewed and apply it to my birds daily routines.  It was almost as if the light above my head was getting brighter and brighter as time marched on.  It was awesome!

I've had this plaque for 24 years.

I’ve had this plaque for 24 years.

 

Writing anything is hard and people don’t seem to take that in to account.  They also don’t take the fact that writing anything is like opening up a vein and letting it pour out on to a screen or a piece of paper (depending on how you capture your writing).  Your heart and soul go into it, no matter what the opinions of others are.  

I went on a bit of tirade to defend a fellow writer out there, because she became the victim of cyber bullying.  I learned that in every group of people, there are the uplifting “glass half full” people who make you feel great for contributing to the world of aviculture, and there are the not so uplifting “keyboard commando’s” that focus on the negative and being “right” about everything.  It’s disappointing that people can hide behind a keyboard and say such mean things to someone they have never met.  I can guarantee that if they had to say some of those things to a person’s face, they would keep those opinions to themselves.  Eh, but what do you do?

I also began a segment on Parrot Earth called “Chats”, named after the conversations my cousin Heidi and I would often have.  I did a few “Chats” interviews with a few local people who are involved in the bird world.  It has become a great opportunity to answer questions and let thoughts and opinions be heard.  

Cooper was the topic of a few posts in 2012 and rightfully so.  I was the landing pad for several of Cooper’s attacks while we were getting acclimated.  Let’s just say I put my blood sweat and tears into it, literally.  Later on in the year, after different techniques and a new cage, he has become a very sweet and fun part of our home.  I have to say that it wasn’t an easy road and I was worried… but we made it.  

We attended some fundraisers here and there.  Also got the chance to attend Flight Club, the Macaw Rescue and Sanctuary, and got a VIP tour of Zazu’s House. (By the way, thanks Jenn Balogh, Keith Ramsey, & Eric Butler for your help and support)!!

Home made toys were recycled out of the remnants of others, phone books were turned into a place to vent frustrations and shred until there was no tomorrow.  That has been a saving grace and has provided hours of entertainment.  Reminds me of giving a kid the most expensive of toys and then a cardboard box and a marker.  Nine times out of ten, that kid will be in a rocket ship in their mind’s eye on the way to the moon, after creating a space ship out of that box.

My grandma Betty, trick riding Silver.

My grandma Betty, trick riding Silver.

 

I got to go back into my memories of childhood and share some stories of growing up in the country.  Not to mention the stories of my family that make up the most brilliant of colorful tapestries.  Like my sweet and sassy grandmother training and riding a cow because they could not afford a horse for her birthday.  When I met my husband years ago, I regaled him with some of these same stories and he thought I was exaggerating a bit, now however he knows them all to be true. 

My uncle Steve grew up with this picture of his mother on their mantle.  Until he read this article he had no idea what it was a cow, in which my grandmother was standing on.  Just proof that you learn something new about your family by sharing those stories.

Buck the movie helped me with my training immensely.  I began to follow my own instincts instead of relying on what was in a book to be the all end all answer guide in parrots.  That documentary helped me start relaxing and stop worrying about getting it right all the time.  Prey animals such as parrots and horses can sense when you are angry, afraid etc.  They know what buttons to push, if you give them the opportunity.  99% of the time they are simply reacting to you.

 

Click here for "Please Take Responsibility"

Click here for “Please Take Responsibility”

 

That brings me to the other great thing that I learned.  Being responsible for the energy that you bring to any situation.  You have to own it and be mindful.  Others don’t want the energy that you are carrying because you got cut off in traffic or because your boss yelled at you and neither do your birds.  If you need to walk into another room to regroup before you handle your birds, they will more than likely thank you for it in the end.  

Rio, A Bird of Air, We Bought a Zoo, and The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill are a few of the movies that moved me in 2012.  It was great seeing a depiction of an almost extinct bird species with the voices of Anne Hathaway (now Oscar nominee) and Jesse Eisenberg luck out in the end.  Watching Matt Damon take his family on a journey of rediscovery was amazing and seeing wild Conures survive in San Francisco made my view take to the skies.  

Another thing in 2012 that nearly shattered my world was losing Bird Talk.  It was like losing an old friend.  I grew up reading Bird Talk Magazine and looked forward to it every month like clock work.  It was also a dream of mine to be published in Bird Talk magazine for an article.  Alas, before I had that opportunity, the ship sailed and Bird Talk was no more.  

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Dexter and Cooper got to travel with us quite a bit and Cooper learned to relax in the car.  Because the benefits of going to the Washington coast and being able to spend the day in a tent forty times the size of his cage seemed to finally soak in.  Not to mention all of the wild bird calls he has to practice until the spring.photo (40)

Sheldon started writing letters to the parrots, asking them to be nicer and more considerate to his Diva needs.  I assure you the birds are doing their damnedest to make sure and keep him on his toes.  As we say in our house “poor poor Sheldon”.

2012 also brought the 100th Parrot Earth Post Writing Contest.  I was so happy and shocked that there were literally that many things I had written and readers all over the globe had subscribed to my site.  Not to mention the amount of entries…sheesh.  I got to “meet” Charlotte Carlile from Florida.  She’s is one  spunky woman!  She rides a Harley and re-homed a cute Senegal named Cap’t Jack.  Their story took home first place.  I also got to meet Julie Corwin from the Lory league here in Washington who got second prize.  Last but not least, I got to meet not only a colleague in this crazy world we call aviculture, but also someone I consider to be a friend.  We talk almost every day and I value her as a fantastic writer and asset to Parrot Earth,  Jennifer Phillips.  Jennifer is one of the “glass half full” people in the bird world.  She wants nothing more than to help and make a difference.  The girl can write and more importantly, she knows her stuff.   The only thing I can say is, she rocks and I am glad that she is on my team!

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That brings me to the end of this little reflective pool of memories and tour through the last year.  One of the biggest highlights was turning the little  blog that I began on WordPress  into a full website with a blog attached.  Review pages, shopping, merchandise (or as we say in the biz, “Merch” hehe) videos and the new Sponsor a Parrot Program, it’s truly something I am proud of.  It it constantly changing and evolving.  I cannot wait to see where else Parrot Earth will go!  

I want to thank you, the readers, parrot owners, non-parrot owners, friends, family, and the perfect stranger across the world for reading my writing.  I appreciate you coming along on my personal journey into owning birds and I hope that my journey has helped you in yours.  

Let’s see what 2013 has to bring…. shall we?

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