Birdkeeping is also often referred to as "aviculture", a portmanteau of the words avi (derived from the word avian, which pertains to birds) and culture. The word was coined by Dr. Jean Delacour. Dr. Delacour also differentiated between two categories of birdkeeping. People who keep and breed wild or non-domesticated birds are called aviculturists. Those who keep and breed domesticated species, on the other hand, are called bird fanciers.
Reasons for engaging in this hobby are diverse. Some breed bantams or quails for eggs. Some keep birds for esthetic purposes and for companionship. Some breed gamecocks for fighting. Regardless of the reason, most get their pet birds from local breeders or bird store. More advanced hobbyists even import rare species from other countries. Birds come in a wide array of colors, sizes, and personalities. Living space and care requirements also vary. Some birds, for instance, require an aviary, while some do well in a cage. Aviary birds are less likely to bond with their owners than indoor birds.
History: Keeping birds for pet is a practice that's been around since the ancient times. Ancient Greeks would put mockingbirds at their door to announce entry of visitors. The Romans, on the other hand, used pigeons. Romans also kept garden aviaries. King Solomon had peafowls, while the ancient Chinese kept pheasants. It's not clear, however when and where aviculture really began. Some historians believe it began in Persia 6000 years ago, while some believe it originated in China in 517 BC. It is widely believed, however, that aviculture began when people bred gamecocks for fighting.
The Ancient Romans are credited for introducing different kinds of birds to the rest of Europe. During the Middle Ages, however, keeping birds as pet were reserved for the wealthy. It wasn't until the Elizabethan Age of Exploration that bird keeping was made available to the public, thanks to Portuguese explorers who brought canaries to Europe. In the US, studies show that Native Americans kept parrots and macaws for pet as early as 300 AD.
Birdkeeping as a hobby: Breeding is one essential aspect of bird keeping. Some breed birds of the same species, while some cross-breed to come up with new bird species. There are three main reasons why people breed birds. Some do it to increase the number of their companion birds. Some breed birds to sell for profit. There are also some who do it for environmental reasons - to preserve endangered and rare bird species. No matter the goal, the hobby of keeping and breeding birds has allowed people to preserve avian species, particularly those threatened by habitat destruction or diseases.
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