By Craig Sernotti
You may find that you cannot contain your enthusiasm for your bird and want to talk to and be with other bird lovers. So what do you do? Join a club!
Many clubs celebrate our avian friends. Some are species specific, while others are more general. If you find a local club, there will usually be a contact name/telephone number/e-mail address that you can call or write to. This will get you more information about the club, including where meetings are held; how frequently they are held; what, if anything, you need to bring; and required dues/fees (if applicable).
Clubs are a great place to share stories and mingle with people who also love birds. They may also organize observation trips at various local or national sites to view domestic and wild birds. In addition, clubs will sometimes invite experts to come and speak at meetings. These are usually trained avian professionals or serious dedicated keepers who will share their years of experience with the group and answer questions.
You don’t have to be alone in your love of birds. There are many others out there who share the same interest. So what are you waiting for? Go find them!
How to Hunt Down a Club
There are many ways to discover the various clubs and organizations you can join to meet other bird lovers. First, go to a bookstore and buy bird magazines. In the classifieds (usually at the back of the magazine), you may find club and organization listings. Some may be local to you, while others may require some time in the car. You can also talk to your veterinarian; she may be aware of a local club and be able to provide you with the contact information. Look at community bulletin boards or in your newspapers for club advertisements as well.
If none of these produces a local club for you, try searching the Internet.
One of the best uses for the Internet is for like-minded individuals from around the world to “meet” and discuss their shared interests and experiences and foster a niche community. You can type keywords into a search engine and come back with thousands—sometimes millions—of possible websites to visit.
Visit your favorite search engine and type in your bird’s species and “club,” and see what comes back. If you don’t find anything, type in the more general “bird club.”
Some clubs may not have a physical meeting place but rather a forum site where they converge and discuss various topics, like feeding, enrichment, training, tricks, problem behaviors, etc. These forums are usually free; all you have to do is create an account and you can post questions, responses, and advice. Before you know it, you may have several close virtual friends.
Workshops and Conventions
You may find advertisements for avian workshops or conventions alongside magazine classified ads or websites. These events are on both local and national scales. Not only do trained professionals visit clubs to dispense advice, as mentioned earlier, but they also conduct workshops and attend conventions.
Workshops cover a wide variety of topics. Some talk about how to properly train your bird, while others may discuss general husbandry and proper care. Find one that interests you and attend—and don’t forget to ask questions!
Many different people converge at conventions. You may find breeders, avian professionals, companies like Kaytee displaying their wide range of products, and much, much more. Conventions are a good place to mingle and learn.
Your local club may organize a trip to a workshop or convention, or who knows—you may meet one of your virtual friends for the first time!
Not Satisfied? Start Your Own!
If you can’t find a local club or forum website that has what you’re looking for, consider starting one of your own! You can hold meetings at a local church, meeting hall, or even your own home. Consider advertising in newspapers, on community bulletin boards, and at your veterinarian’s office.
If you’d rather have a virtual club, conduct research on how to create a forum website. Various software programs are available that allow you to do this. You can also research how to promote your new website on the Internet through keyword searches.