WWLKD-What Would Leslie Knope Do?

Written By: B.D. Butler - Jul• 03•13

I got WWLKD here.

I am a giant fan of NBC’s Parks and Recreation. In particular the lead character, played by Amy Poehler, Leslie Knope. My friend Erin and I joke about wanting to be Leslie Knope when we grow up, because she is a very thoughtlessly kind, generous and an almost completely optimistic person. If she is helping someone in need, it’s always with the kindest sentiment, with no questions, no ego, no personal agenda… just action. Who really doesn’t want to be the person that see’s things on the bright side most of the time?

I have been trying to keep that in mind the past month, while watching a small nick in the avian community grow like a spider web in a windshield. With the right elements of pressure, heat, cold and movement eventually those cracks will lead to a semblance of what used to be a vision. It’s unfortunate, but a giant reality is that social media has helped become one of the major catalysts behind, what I call the “viper” attitude and internet bullying. I actually quoted this in a previous article entitled Downton Parrots:


I got cracked windshield here.

“Internet bullying is now an epidemic and regardless of whether or not you think you aren’t an internet bully, if you have written something with the intention of hurting someone’s feelings or blatant disregard for their reaction from what you have written, you are indeed guilty of internet bullying.”

Really, I didn’t even want to write anything about it, I thought it was pretty much covered, I also didn’t want to write another “shaking” or “pointing” fingers piece. Then a good friend and colleague in the bird world sent me a message. She said that she would no longer support the avian community after all of the recent public verbal assaults, character bashing and just overall drama. Because she simply can’t and more importantly refuses to deal with it anymore. My friend has decided to stop being an activist and go back to the simple love of being a bird owner. She will no longer write about birds, won’t attend seminars, because she doesn’t want to be scrutinized, criticized and torn to shreds because an “expert” or “self proclaimed-expert” doesn’t agree with the subject matter. I was heartbroken and pissed off. Not because I wouldn’t be able to chat with her about birds, but because what the avian world had just lost. A truly genuine good-hearted visionary and writer.

A “List” being written to viciously attack a group of people who are helping the parrot-owning world evolve. These movers and shakers made the infamous list merely because they didn’t agree with the author’s ideas on parrot nutrition. Wow. Most people on the list had never even heard of the author, they were just somehow targeted by the rantings of someone clearly angry. Just another example of someone who felt the need to unleash frustration on social media, regardless of what the cost.

Other Forum and Group members on various social media sites are attacking and ganging up on people, believing they can say whatever they want because,”they are being honest, or just telling it like it is”. Seriously?

gorilla pounding

I got gorilla here.

Aren’t you just essentially just shooting yourselves in the foot? New people are getting birds from breeders and rescues all the time, and joining groups forums etc. Just so they may ask questions, sound off ideas or get steered in the right direction for proper information. Chasing them off, with the act of pounding your chest like a gorilla in the jungle, isn’t helping the need to get new people involved in aviculture. In fact it causes them, like I did, buying the wrong books and training dvd’s from the wrong sources.

Yes, I will admit it, I owned dvd’s from a not so reputable training company. I have also seen the video where one those same very well-known “trainers” admits to using “psychological techniques” to get the me (the consumer) to “pay way more than they did before for their products”. I felt betrayed, because I put faith and my relationship with my parrot in them. It was also a slap in the face to find out the emails I was getting “checking in on my progress”, which weren’t even coming from them personally but were computer generated, creating this impression that they actually cared about me or my bird. It was just a technique to get me to purchase more of their products. That was just the tip of the iceberg when the veil, of their regurgitated training methods, was lifted and they were exposed to me. If it looks and sounds like a smarmy car salesman pitch just remember, you may be buying a car that looks like a Mercedes, but ends up being a Gremlin.

I was fortunate there were other people, who I did research on and respected, gave me advice on what books I should read (which are all here). They opened their arms to me being new into the public world of the avian community and made it feel like a family. They also gave me a sense and compass of where, as a parrot owner, I wanted to go. Everyone coming into the world of parrots should be able to feel that openness.

Get cola wars here.

Get cola wars here.

I’ve written and expressed in previous articles… it’s a matter of you trusting your intuition and choosing your own course in owning birds or any animals for that matter. Some people drive Chevrolet, or some BMW. Some people drink Pepsi instead of Coke. Some bird owners feed “chop” or “mash”, some owners believe in clipping wings, some do not. The list goes on and on. It all comes down to your house, your bird and your freedom to decide . As long as you have your birds welfare in mind and are harming no-one, that’s really all that matters. A happy bird.

I got forum wars here.

I got forum wars here.

“You are stupid for getting your 13-year-old son a parrot”, is what I read in a forum just three days ago. Along with a barrage of other comments I was stunned by. “That’s how parrots end up in rescues and sanctuaries” is another. I hate to break the news to you, but none of my birds ended up in a rescue or sanctuary and I started at twelve. By putting a young person into a stereotype and just assuming that this is what is going to happen, isn’t fair. I’m sorry, not everyone is the same and having that kind of attitude is not only harmful for other people, but being that negative energy isn’t good for you either. The funny thing about this is, the woman who got attacked for this situation had made an agreement with her son. They would co-own the parrot and really it would be their bird, together. She wanted to teach him her love for birds and responsibility. So when he got older and went off to college the bird wouldn’t end up discarded. But a loved member of their home and family. However, no one asked, members just assumed, jumped like hyenas on a carcass and the group lost a new parrot owner.

I got kids with birds here.

I got kids with birds here.

Don’t we want to share and help others discover our love for birds? Because as much as I like to think I am impenetrable, I probably won’t live forever. Will you? Who’s going to take care of your birds when you’re gone? By not getting “newbies”, which include; children teens and adults involved in aviculture, we as parrot owners will slowly and gradually begin extinction. To me, that idea is heartbreaking.

So, what would Leslie Knope do? Leslie Knope would pull herself up by her boot straps and take a good look around and see what she could do to help get the world of aviculture back to where it once was. Leslie Knope would inspire others to get involved and help out the avian community as much as you can. Leslie would also increase awareness of rescues and sanctuaries, showing the world the ploy to help these animals that just really want love and a safe healthy home. Ms. Knope would not criticize or attack her fellow avian comrades, but embrace them with the love, support, friendship, respect and loyalty that made her get involved to begin with. Leslie Knope would try to be a beacon of positivity and an example of kindness… And with that example, so will I.

knope we can

I got Knope We Can here.

For those of you who continually work tirelessly in the avian community with these ideals and devoted optimism, I applaud you! I appreciate your positivity and dedication. Like you, I want to pass my spark of owning a parrot to someone else. Show them the joys of the avian community and all it has to offer. Show them the rewarding and amazing gifts that come with the responsibility of owning a parrot. Really, I want to make a difference and help as many bird owners and their beloved parrots as I can.

Remember when meeting new people who shared your interest of parrots was exciting? Remember when you first walked up to a parrot and were just intrigued by their mystery and intelligence? Or the first time you got to share your love with bird with someone else and spark their interest? Remember when the birds were all that mattered?

I do… and most importantly I hope you do to.

Copyright 2013 Parrot Earth – WWLKD What Would Leslie Knope Do?

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  1. Sonya Brewer says:

    Thank you for such an amazing read~ Sharing!

  2. Paula Rossow says:


  3. Very well written and said, my friend! Heartfelt, and kinda to the bone…

  4. Janet says:

    I had a long rant ready to post about this… but decided to let the positivity reign instead. I completely agree and all i have to say is this:

    GROW UP, LADIES. You look and sound like trash, and this isn’t fourth grade. Your petty bickering makes you ALL look like tools. There’s a point where it doesn’t matter how much good you do.

    Meanwhile, I model myself after the ones I don’t see participating. The ones who have nice things to say, who steer away from the drama, who are generous with their time and spirit, who don’t respond to even the most vicious attacks on their character… because they know who they are and they aren’t interested in other people’s petty opinions. They are the ones at every auction, at every fundraiser, offering words of condolence when someone loses a bird, offering to transport or drive birds. You probably won’t remember their names or even take note of them because they’re not chest-pounding and proclaiming to the cent how much they’ve donated or how many birds they take care of daily. Some of them don’t even HAVE birds.

    It’s too bad we can’t all emulate these beautiful women, because the screaming banshees and their support groups are awfully loud…

    • B.D. Butler says:

      I agree Janet… I always say, if you most likely wouldn’t say something to someone’s face, out of fear of being punched, you probably shouldn’t type in on the Internet. Someday people may discover what manners are again, maybe?

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