The Avian Sciences Club Soars at Picnic Day

Katherine sells shirts with one of her chickens. Left to right:  Karen, Marianne and Lauren, each with their pets.

Visitors are allowed to pet the chickens. Every year Davis has a large event called Picnic Day- sort of like a large open house for the university where departments and clubs get to show what theyíre all about. Last year the AVS club didnít do very well. We were too spread out. We made an okay-looking float for the parade with live birds and two people in costumes (Missy in a chicken and Kara in a parrot) but we also had a small booth on the quad for selling t-shirts as well as a display down at Meyer Hall (Meyer always has a chick-hatching display with chickens and Japanese quail eggs). With so few active members it was hard to put a lot of effort into so many different projects. This year, however, was different.

The Chick Hatch Display We decided a float would be too much trouble with so little help and we needed money to print out more of our new t-shirts. We also chose to have just one big display at Meyer rather than having a small chicken one down at Meyer and a small parrot/shirt one on the quad. Our display this year was spectacular! Fourteen posters were set up sporting all kinds of information: bird care, why people like birds, interesting species, hazards to pet and wild birds, random bird facts, as well as posters for the live species we had on display. Katherine, one of our co-presidents and designer of our new t-shirt logo, brought her bantam chickens for display. The rest of us brought various pet birds: Marianne brought her senegal, Lauren brought her sun conure and I brought my Indian ringneck. Ben wore the departmentís chicken costume and greeted people as they walked toward Meyer. Parrot Outreach Program There was also a huge chicken banner on the side of the building. Iím not sure how big it was- every time I heard about it it kept getting bigger: it went from being 10 feet to 40 to 400. And of course there was the chick-hatching display. Another recently formed club, the Parrot Outreach Program, also had a display next to ours. They brought their mascot, an orange-winged amazon, and one member brought her sun conure. Later in the day another member stopped by with her red-lored amazon.

The Raptor Center sends some live birds. With all these bird people around to answer questions and show off live birds Meyer Hall was packed like Iíve never seen. Multitudes of people wandered by with their kids. Everyone was interested in the birds. Last year the few questions we got were usually simple things like "Do they talk?" This year the atmosphere was completely different. Bird people were everywhere letting kids touch their pets, giving advice and answering questions. We met quite a few The Parrot Outreach Program brought two excited amazons. responsible bird owners in the crowd and the kids were great. It was so nice to see them enjoying themselves. I met two young girls, one age ten and the other age fourteen, who were major bird people. The younger was just beginning to breed her finches, cockatiels and budgies. She belonged to a bird club Marianne talks about Senegals. and I suggested she ask other members to teach her how to handfeed and clip wings. The older girl was already an accomplished breeder. She bred whiteface cockatiels and various lovebirds. With her was a peach-faced that she was handfeeding. I really enjoy seeing kids getting into breeding at a young age. I didnít start breeding until seventh grade and handfeeding until high school.

The two sun conures drew most of the attention. This yearís Picnic Day was the best day Iíd had all year. This is what clubs like ours were meant for- to educate and share the wonder of birds with everyone. We were really shining. Towards the end of the day we were presented with an award for Best Interactive Animal Display and then another for Best In Show. Iím very proud of our effort this Picnic Day. Usually the club is too fragmented to pull together like this; clashing schedules, inactive members, and then the differences between parrot and poultry members often keep us from working collectively. It was wonderful that at this event we managed to create such an enjoyable and informative display.

Kids enjoyed getting up close and personal with the birds. Kids watch the Japanese quail eggs hatch.

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