People that breed birds are disliked and even despised by many bird groups, especially bird rescue organizations. They have a valid point, given that there are many unwanted birds out there, just like there are for dogs and cats.
Some people and groups won’t even speak to them. Despite the obvious downside of making it harder to find homes for unwanted birds, breeders can offer some value to the bird community and I feel it’s a throwing out the baby with the bathwater situation.
Breeders often have deep species knowledge and know how to create environments where birds will breed. For bird adopters, they often have valuable information about diet and behavior that is lacking.
Spreading love of birds
I don’t believe a rescue bird is always the best option for adding a bird to your life. I strongly feel that we need to encourage bird keeping as a way of encouraging love and caring for birds as they die out all over the planet.
A rescue bird can be wonderful or it can be a challenge. And some people aren’t up to the challenge, especially since most people lack basic knowledge of birds. Starting with a young, tame bird may later lead to an interest in adopting a more difficult bird. Also, the very young among us lack the patience to tame an untamed bird.
Species preservation programs
For species reintroduction programs, the knowledge of breeders is golden. Who knows more about how to create an environment to breed birds that may be endangered in the wild or birds that are closely related.
AFA Convention 2018
In 2018, I went to the American Federation of Aviculture (AFA) convention in 2018 in San Antonio. There was the widest mix I’ve ever seen of bird rescue, breeders, zoo employees, researchers, bird behavior consultants, manufacturers of bird products, advocacy groups, and so on.
What struck me was how well everyone got along. I went to lunch with 2 other bird rescue people and a breeder and we had a spirited discussion about how we could all work together. He would steer people to rescue if he felt it would be a better fit for them. Many times, people weren’t even aware bird rescue existed.
The most important thing in the world for bird people is to preserve wild species. It does no good to not work together just because you don’t like part of what one group of people do. Breeders need to be part of the equation.