A Bird in the House: An Anthropological Perspective on Companion Parrots

In: Society & Animals
Patricia Anderson
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Although companion birds are the third most-common animal companion—after dogs and cats—in U.S. households, few anthrozoological publications focus on them. This study examines the role of companion parrots in American households. The study combines a literature review with the results of a survey of bird owners and participant observation. The study uses the resulting qualitative and quantitative data in addressing the social dynamics of companion parrot ownership in the household. The data support the impression that companion parrots increasingly are being considered family members, or "Fids" ("Feathered Kids"), thus following current trends in American society that accord companion animals in general a greater investment in time, money, and emotion. However, the general public is not well informed about the complexities of captive parrot care, and psittacine wellness is an important concern.

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