I keep a daily journal, using an MS Word file. It takes me about 2-3 minutes each day to update. I put in start dates of medications and subsequently how they are working, bird pairings and movements from cage-to-cage, general observations of birds, such as nesting activity, according to bird room and cage number. (“Saw Cutthroat #1 male displaying—he almost doubles his size all puffed up!”) If there are new fledglings, I put an asterisk before the bold-face date that starts each entry. If there is a death, a – sign, with reason. Sometimes, I add a comment about me, what I have overlooked, or discovered. There are also notations about what needs to be done (“trim nails of St. Helenas”). Frustrations are documented. Some days there is nothing to report.
I also have another file that lists the occupants of each cage, giving species, parentage or lineage, age of birds, genders, bought in or born here. It keeps the statistics straight. But the journal is more of an informal way to note what’s going on in an operational sense, plus enough markers to help me keep organized.
It doesn’t matter how simple or sophisticated your information keeping is, as long as it works for you. I like simple, myself, and a quick jog of the memory comes in handy at times, reviewing the past few days’ entries. Sometimes bird keeping can become overwhelming, even to the point of wondering why you ever started raising birds. You even doubt your own ability. But going back a few weeks or months and browsing some of your comments, you may find you really are doing OK. You see you’ve made progress, you’ve stumbled, but through it all, you and the birds have survived.
After a reading, it’s also great to go to where you keep your birds and spend a few minutes telling them how beautiful they are. And as you talk to them, you see how beautiful they truly are. Without you, that rich reward could never have happened. Although the word “stewardship” is used a lot in church, it also applies to any living thing you have been given, to be their caretaker.
I have had these “revelations” at times, maybe just thoughts, that certain doors have been opened to allow me to care for my charges. It is as if Nature has given me these little gifts, and my reward for being a good steward is to be given more gifts, with the means to take care of them--monetarily, health-wise and time-wise. There is a caveat to receiving these gifts, however—one of the Big Rules: Don’t mess with Mother Nature. She can be a B----.
Gulf Coast Finches