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I’m Keeping Birds Again!

Moving in to their new homes

For those of you who know me, this is big news! The decision to keep African lovebirds was a particularly carefully made one. I had almost a month of careful thinking and reading before finally deciding to make time for a pair.

Even if I love birds and have been reading about them for as long as I can remember, I actually killed my first pair of birds that I purchased.

I killed my first pair of birds…accidentally

I used to keep birds back when I was just a teenager. I was desperate to keep birds in the house that one time I bought a pair of budgeriars (1200php) from SM City Cebu and that was overpriced that time. Bird-keeping was not allowed at home so I had to smuggle the birds in my room. I had no bird cage (yes I’m a genius) so I kept them in a shoebox (I’m a real genius) and finally, I placed the box on the balcony where the sun baked the birds alive (my genius levels are extreme). They barely lasted 24 hours in my care.

And that was my first failure in aviculture.

I never got to breed birds

I can say my first successful pair of birds were cinnamon cockatiels which  dad got as a gift to me. This snowballed into several other birds that I kept in a huge aviary which my mom gave me, and in a few years, which my mom took down. I kept Diamond doves, budgeriars, cockatiels, society finches and java finches. I made a lot of mistakes during those years which taught me very valuable lessons. One of them was: if you have an aviary, make sure there are no holes. My aviary was HUGE. I didn’t acknowledge immediately, the gaps in the aviary. Second, I lacked the patience and consistency to help the birds breed. I had already wonderful conditions, I just didn’t properly set things to make the aviary a breeding-friendly environment (e.g. nestboxes, nesting material, nutrients).

Eventually my said I should stop keeping birds and all my birds got sold out. Just like that I was no longer keeping birds anymore.

Wild Birds vs Pet Birds

Drawn by the beauty of these avian friends, I also made the mistake of buying wild birds caught by poachers. Young and foolish in my teenage years I was fascinated with handling wild species. To tell you the truth, no matter what assumptions you have like saving the bird or being able to do captive breeding to save the species, you won’t be helping our wildlife by buying them from poachers or dealers. TRUST ME, just don’t buy them at all. You will end up disappointed or you’re only encouraging poaching activities. Also, getting caught keeping wildlife not registered by the DENR will put you in a compromised situation.

Pet birds are NOT wild birds. They are domesticated species and so if you think you’re “setting them free” when you let those parakeets or lovebirds free, you’re actually sending them to their deaths. Ever thought of “setting free” your dog? I didn’t think so.

Buying from a Breeder

Walking along the streets of Manilili I was really tempted to just buy the java finches displayed in the small cage. Java finches (Padda oryzivora) were actually my first choice of species because of their colour and ease of maintenance. They’re also quite silent as opposed to psittacine species. However this is one thing you should remember in birdkeeping: ONLY BUY FROM CREDIBLE BIRD BREEDERS. Buying from pet shops and those streetside sellers will either get you overpriced birds or cheap birds with questionable health and origins. In my case, I bought a pair of proven African love birds (meaning they are proven to breed) from a member of a aviculture community in Cebu.

lovebird nestbox

The nestbox all washed and cleaned up ready for drying before use.

Why do I want to keep Birds?

I love birds. I’m very vocal about it. I like bird-keeping and I also like birdwatching. My birder friends don’t understand this about me as most of them are purists who believe no bird should be caged.

Keeping birds, for me, is a commitment and a discipline. I have never tried breeding birds before. I’ve bred dogs and fishes, but birds? Different story. It took me several weeks of reviewing articles and my old books on aviculture before diving in to this craft.

Mainly I’m keeping birds again because I miss being close to birds. I always have that feeling of awe and delight when I see birds in healthy plumage and being extremely sociable.

I also want to have that connection which I see with a lot of bird keepers and this is my stepping stone to freeflighting birds. There will be no wing clipping or leashing of my birds. They will keep their wings as it is, and I will go through the tedious process of taming them through familiarity and peaceful interaction.

So What’s Next?

It has only been two days, I guess I have to wait. The pair of African love birds are still quite fearful of me and refusing to eat. This is normal after the stressful transport and the idea of being in a new environment. However I see they are starting to familiarise with their new home, in fact I saw the female inspecting the nest box which I mounted.

Oh, I also don’t have names for them yet. Got any suggestions?




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