I was about 6 or 7 years old, and I wanted a bird. My Dad said I couldn’t have one. He had many good reasons at the time, but none that a child would understand. So if he wouldn’t give me one, I’d get my own. I look back and I must say I was quite ingenious, I’d just catch one. I saw in the garage there was an old wire birdcage. I took the bottom out of it, then got a popsicle stick and tied a string around it. I then propped it up with the stick in our backyard. When the bird came under it, I’d just pull the stick and I’d have my bird. For days I spread breadcrumbs around for the sparrows to get used to it, and feed. I slowly got the food closer and closer by the day to the cage, and before you know it they came under the cage.
So the day came that I was going to pull the stick and trap my new pet. I was so very excited that I did trap it, slid the bottom on, and couldn’t wait to show my Dad. I didn’t know which I was more excited about, to get a bird or show my Dad he said no, and yet I got one on my own. Needless to say, I was a tough kid to raise. Knowing this, my Dad knew there was no point in telling me I couldn’t have it and let it go. No…. he took another approach, one that he knew was less of an argument, and less tears. All he said was, “well well look what you have there, isn’t that nice, but I wonder how that bird will feel now that he can’t fly anymore and see his friends flying around in the trees, and he is stuck here amusing you.” Well he sure took the wind out of my sails. Now I really felt bad. I kept the bird overnight, and let it go the next day. Neither of us said a word to one another, and just let the whole incident pass.
There have been a lot of poems, books, & sayings on why caged birds sing, but do they really know? I look back on when I did get a bird, mostly budgies. They had a good life, for they got to spend time out of their cage. Then I look back at the canaries, and I must admit I do feel bad, but put that on the long list of things I feel bad about.
The philosophy is that they know no different. Lets hope so.
Thank goodness I had a Dad to teach me the difference.