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.
National Pet Bird Day timeline
- 3000 BC
Sumerian for “Polly Wants a Cracker”
While we don’t have direct evidence of ancient Sumerians keeping birds as pets, their language did have a word for birdcage.
- 1341 AD
The Canary comes a’callin
Voyagers to the Canary islands returned with these little songsters in tow and they quickly became the squawk of the royal courts of Europe.
- 19th and early 20th Centuries
Pet bird parenting wasn’t only for monarchs. Presidents Andrew Jackson, Ulysses S. Grant, William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, and Calvin Coolidge were all proud parrot parents.
BEAK takes flight for responsible pet bird ownership
BEAK was formed to promote responsible treatment of pet birds and in 2016 launched a campaign dedicated to “sharing the joys and benefits of birds as pets” and educating the public on responsible care.
National Pet Bird Day FAQs
When was the first National Pet Bird Day?
BEAK launched the very first National Pet Bird Day in 2019 in an effort to educate the public on the joys of owning a bird and to promote responsible and healthy bird ownership practices.
Why do people keep pet birds?
There are endless reasons to have a pet bird in your life but a survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association found that 64% of American bird owners thought they were fun to have in the house, 24% thought it brought the family together, and 26% thought it taught kids responsibility.
What’s the most popular pet bird species?
Different pet bird species have come in and out of vogue over the centuries. In the 21st century, parakeets, cockatiels, and canaries top the list in American households. If you want to learn which bird is best for you why not take the quiz?
National Pet Bird Day Activities
Spoil your pet bird just a little
Maybe you want to give them a little extra treats, or a new toy. Perhaps they get a little more time outside of the cage to wander or even just a few extra cuddles. Really, there’s no wrong way to spoil your pet bird, but NPB day is the best day to do it.
Share your love with others
There are many ways to profess how much you love being a pet bird parent. Share pictures or video on social media, talk about your own personal pet bird parenting story, or support your local bird store or rescue.
Consider being a pet bird parent
If you have been considering bringing a pet bird into your home, today is the perfect day to learn a little bit more about the right bird for your lifestyle and maybe even start your journey toward bringing home a feathered friend. What better way to celebrate National Pet Bird Day than to make it the day you decided on opening your home to a pet bird?
Why We Love National Pet Bird Day
It Gives Us Something to Squawk About
Bird parents love to talk about their feathered friends and National Pet Bird Day is the perfect day to do it. But they aren’t just talking to other bird lovers. The holiday is an excellent opportunity to convince someone on the fence to become a pet bird parent.
It promotes responsible pet bird ownership
Like any pet ownership, there are ways to do it responsibly. National Pet Bird Day highlights those best practices to ensure that your pet bird stays healthy and vibrant for a very long time.
It’s a chance to pamper our parakeets
National Pet Bird Day is an opportunity to show our pet birds a little more love than we normally do, like we needed a reason. They bring us so much joy, fun, and companionship throughout the year, it is nice to have a dedicated day to celebrate everything they do for us.
National Pet Bird Day dates