Preen your feathers and warm up your singing voice because September 17 is National Pet Bird Day. It’s a chance to recognize and celebrate the joy that being a bird’s pet parent can bring to your life. National Pet Bird Day is sponsored every year by the Bird Enjoyment and Advantage Koalition (yes, it spells BEAK!). The organization promotes safe, fun, and responsible bird ownership and has tips and tools to help you find your feathered soul mate. They’ve put together a bunch of great resources for the bird lovers in all of us including tons of information about birds and pet bird parenting, and quite possibly the cutest dang internet quiz ever made.
The American Pet Products Association says that there are nearly 6 million American households that own birds and in each one the bird is part of the family. So much so that some 14% of bird parents will even travel with their birds. And bird ownership is spread out among nearly every generation. Millennials, surprisingly, are the most likely to own birds at 36% but Baby Boomers and Gen Xers aren’t far behind with 26% and 24% respectively. When asked why they owned a bird 64% said because they were fun to watch and have in the house. We think that’s the best reason to befriend a bird and bring it home this National Pet Bird Day.
History of National Pet Bird Day
Keeping birds as pets goes back nearly 4000 years. The ancient Sumerians — speakers of the world’s oldest known written language — ostensibly kept pet birds as they had a word for birdcage, and we know that ancient mariners used pet birds to help them discover land (if the bird spied it they’d fly off, otherwise, they stick with the boat). Pliny the Elder wrote of the ancient Romans keeping birds as pets, and even some of Alexander the Great’s generals brought pet birds back from conquests in India during the fourth century B.C.
Pet parenting became popular among the royal courts of Europe throughout the early part of the last millenia. The famous canary was brought to the royal court in Portugal in the 1340s and they became particularly popular in the late 15th century. As new global trade routes were discovered, birds were brought in from all over the world, including the newly discovered Americas, and graced the homes of some of Europe’s most famous monarchs.
Today, there are nearly 6 million homes in America with pet birds and never has there been a better time to share in the many ways pet birds enrich our lives. Bird ownership has been cited as an excellent form of companionship (49% of Americans), stress relievers (44%), and good for improving one’s health (25%). These numbers illustrate what humans have known for thousands of years, having birds as pets can demonstrably improve your life.