In previous pet blogs we have concentrated on the way to make our pet fit and healthy. This blog looks at the benefits for you from having a pet bird in your home…
By far the biggest advantage of having a pet bird is the companionship they offer. Studies have shown that the companionship from pet birds can mirror some of the elements of human relationships known to contribute to health.
Although the companionship of birds cannot be regarded as a complete replacement for a person or even a loved one, there are advantages to the human-bird relationship. Relationships between humans and birds are less likely to suffer from burnout or be affected by mood swings and neither needs to question each other’s reasons for providing companionship to each other.
The famous Crimean War nurse Florence Nightingale appreciated the positive effects of pet bird companionship on mental health. Whilst on holiday in Athens she rescued a baby owl which had fallen from its nest and was being tormented by a group of local children. She named the owl Athena. Athena would become a much loved pet, sitting and chirping on Florence’s shoulder and enjoying sitting in her own chair near the fire. This companionship influenced Florence Nightingale in her nursing role. In 1860 she wrote a well-respected book for nurses, recognising the value of caged birds and their companionship. She wrote ‘A pet bird in a cage is sometimes the only pleasure of an invalid confined for years to the same room’.*
As well as the psychological effects of companionship pet birds can provide a reason to get up in the morning, promoting physical activity for play, feeding and cleaning your bird’s home. Pet birds have brought comfort and relaxation to their owners for many years. Those who bring a pet into their lives tend to suffer from fewer health problems in general, but pet birds can also lead to particular improvements in health. Medical research and historic accounts have shown that the company of pet birds can improve feelings of well-being, reduce the symptoms of depression, boost morale and prompt social interaction.
*Nightingale, Florence Notes on Nursing, 1860, D. Appleton & Company