Watch What You Say

Bird people tend to speak a different language than everyone else. They have their own range of jargon that they use when discussing birds. Bird breeders use even more advanced speech. At Picnic Day I had the chance to meet all kinds of people ranging from those who knew nothing of birds to aviculutrists. Most people are not bird people so whenever I first start discussing birds with someone I use very basic language and try very hard to fully explain things. Usually the person will mention whether or not they own birds and how long they've owned them. This gives me a good idea of where to set the level of my speech. If the person is a breeder or experienced owner I can easily switch right into heavy bird jargon. If the person owns birds but is only a bit familiar with them I can use some language but not too much. I can help clarify certain things about birds to these people.

We need to remember that not all people can understand the "aviculturist talk" or even the basic talk for that matter. I've had several strange occurances with people who misinterpreted what I said.

Once I had to do a project for school and this guy's house. We all met there and while we were working I noticed he had a bird (I forget what). He said they couldn't handle it because it always flew away so I offered to clip the wings for him. As he brought me the scissors one of the girls in the group exclaimed "You're going to chop its wings off?!?"

Another time in class we had to write resumes. There was a substitute teacher that day and she saw I had written bird breeding on mine. We got to talking after class, I'm always happy to talk about birds, and I told her I was handfeeding some chicks. She asked why handfeeding was necessary and I answered "Because it makes them sweet." Her reaction: "You mean you eat them???" I laughed and quickly expalined I was talking about their temperment, not taste.

Someone wrote into Tiel Town asking if cocktiels needed their tongue's slit before they could talk. As you can well imagine, the post was met with some angry respones:

You've got to be kidding!!!! Never heard of such a thing, but I have heard plenty of tiels talk with a tongue made perfect by its Creator!

What a bunch of hooey!!! I talk just fine with MY tongue intact. How 'bout you? About the only animal I know that HAS a bifurcated tongue are the reptiles. And THEY aren't talking much....

There is no reason on earth that you should EVER mutilate an animal like this and certainly not just so that it can talk!!!

Sometimes you can accidentally double or triple post a message here, but I see by the posting times that you intended to post your question more than once? Why are you so anxious for an answer? Do you have scissors in hand ready to do the awful deed, hoping someone will talk you out of it?


Here was mine:

I've heard this, though it usually pertains to ravens and crows. I can't believe it's still floating around though. This is an old myth. Some other just a silly myths include: snakes can use their eyes to hypnotize birds, snakes grab their tail to form a "wheel" and roll away when frightened, rotting meat turns into maggots and lovebirds will pine away when their mate dies. Hard to believe something from the dark ages is still running around as a rumor.

Since many people were quite angry over this post and these replies were bound to continue, I decided to make another post called "Split Tongue, Calm Down Guys":

This was once a common belief. It's hard to believe it's still around yet to someone who knows nothing of birds this might sound reasonable. Weirder things are done- dogs get their ears and tails cropped, cats are declawed, horses are branded, birds are clipped. These are all common practices yet they all seem rather strange or even cruel when you think about them. To a naive person, tongue-splitting may be another one of these practices that only seems odd to those not in the business. Obviously Ardy thought the tongue-splitting rumor might not be correct otherwise he wouldn't have asked. Just be glad he DID ask. Try not to get so worked up over it. We need to educate, not bash people for even asking. There are no stupid questions!

My second post was met favorably and things simmered down.

Situations like those above can arrise if you're not careful and unfortunately these misinterpretations can be used against us by animal rights activists. Be cautious in your wording and try to correct these misconceptions.

Feisty Feathers
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1999 Feisty Feathers