Something to think about

Every week we receive e-mails from enthusiasts with mainly questions, but also suggestions and personal reservations. A valuable wealth of information about what is happening in aviculture and where the needs lie. Unfortunately, lately there have been a lot of emails from people who, despite the fact that it’s a hobby for most, are still concerned about certain things and usually the front of the email says: “They say…. ”.

This concerns opinions among enthusiasts, especially via Facebook and/or other social media, where certain breeders, their birds or organizations criticize or are judged. “They said my birds are not good” is frequently heard.

To my great surprise, there are still people who are immensely annoyed by this. Something that is really not necessary for anything. One has to realize that everyone within the hobby has their own motives. For one, keeping birds is a form of relaxation and it is limited to there. They certainly do not care  over competitions and associations / bird politics. Let alone meddling in these matters. They usually watch from the sidelines and enjoy their hobby.

Still others occasionally take part in a show and especially enjoy the contact with other breeders and the birds in general. These people are also very rarely heard.

Then there are the ‘diehards’ who go completely for exhibitions and usually only have an eye for what in their eyes is a ‘champion’. These people are very active in local clubs because in this way they hope to create the ideal conditions for their birds to be shown and judged. They are committed day and night to breeding a ‘champion’ and are so passionate that they are happy to trade a holiday for the care of their ‘champions’. We can therefore expect a strong opinion about birds from these people.

A nature lover in turn will then focus on the birds in nature and therefore do not understand the motivation behind aviculture. Here too we are in danger of seeing a limited vision.

Yet all these people are part of our hobby and there is something for everyone. That is a good thing, because it is after all the intention that everyone, from his or her perspective, can experience our hobby and passion for birds. Each group is therefore very useful and can contribute perfectly to the future of the hobby.

But since everyone has their own approach, it is also normal for people to have their own opinion. Everyone is therefore free to express their opinion about it. In recent years, thanks to social media, it has also become easy to spread our opinions. With a mouse click we share our opinion with the rest of the world (…with whomever wants to read it, of course).

However well-intentioned hobbyists will try to pass on from their point of view, their vision and knowledge gained on certain matters and only hope to help enthusiasts in that way, there will undoubtedly always be others who hold a different view. They will also want to indicate that. The question then is who is right? Sometimes discussion of questions that even science can’t answer and, as usually, the truth is somewhere in the middle or who knows, they both miss the mark.

Others then use this social media to go a little further than just inform and will give their unvarnished opinions, critiques and comments on anything and everything, especially when it comes to other people’s birds. Thousands of birds are judged or condemned on the basis of photos. For example, often lucrative photos of birds are judged as ‘competition birds’. Some do that in a fairly objective way, other ‘internet judges’ like to cite numerous negatives to prove that their birds are much better ? ).
Realize that no exact science is involved here. So it’s just their view. The assessment of a bird is therefore partly based on their interpretation of the standard requirements and their birds for most fanciers. As a result, most view it only from their own points of view and personal expectations. No one is therefore obliged to follow these statements or to share these opinions. But you can always learn something from most comments, in other words it does not always have to be experienced negatively. It is certainly not necessary to feel threatened by this, just think: ‘Quot capita tot sensus‘ or so many people, so many opinions.

It may therefore be good to quote here a story from ancient India:

Long ago six old men lived in a village in India. Each was born blind. The other villagers loved the old men and kept them away from harm. Since the blind men could not see the world for themselves, they had to imagine many of its wonders. They listened carefully to the stories told by travellers to learn what they could about life outside the village.

The men were curious about many of the stories they heard, but they were most curious about elephants. They were told that elephants could trample forests, carry huge burdens, and frighten young and old with their loud trumpet calls. But they also knew that the Rajah’s daughter rode an elephant when she travelled in her father’s kingdom. Would the Rajah let his daughter get near such a dangerous creature?

The old men argued day and night about elephants. “An elephant must be a powerful giant,” claimed the first blind man. He had heard stories about elephants being used to clear forests and build roads.

“No, you must be wrong,” argued the second blind man. “An elephant must be graceful and gentle if a princess is to ride on its back.”

“You’re wrong! I have heard that an elephant can pierce a man’s heart with its terrible horn,” said the third blind man.

“Please,” said the fourth blind man. “You are all mistaken. An elephant is nothing more than a large sort of cow. You know how people exaggerate.”

“I am sure that an elephant is something magical,” said the fifth blind man. “That would explain why the Rajah’s daughter can travel safely throughout the kingdom.”

“I don’t believe elephants exist at all,” declared the sixth blind man. “I think we are the victims of a cruel joke.”

Finally, the villagers grew tired of all the arguments, and they arranged for the curious men to visit the palace of the Rajah to learn the truth about elephants. A young boy from their village was selected to guide the blind men on their journey. The smallest man put his hand on the boy’s shoulder. The second blind man put his hand on his friend’s shoulder, and so on until all six men were ready to walk safely behind the boy who would lead them to the Rajah’s magnificent palace.

When the blind men reached the palace, they were greeted by an old friend from their village who worked as a gardener on the palace grounds. Their friend led them to the courtyard. There stood an elephant. The blind men stepped forward to touch the creature that was the subject of so many arguments.

The first blind man reached out and touched the side of the huge animal. “An elephant is smooth and solid like a wall!” he declared. “It must be very powerful.”

The second blind man put his hand on the elephant’s limber trunk. “An elephant is like a giant snake,” he announced.

The third blind man felt the elephant’s pointed tusk. “I was right,” he decided. “This creature is as sharp and deadly as a spear.”

The fourth blind man touched one of the elephant’s four legs. “What we have here,” he said, “is an extremely large cow.”

The fifth blind man felt the elephant’s giant ear. “I believe an elephant is like a huge fan or maybe a magic carpet that can fly over mountains and treetops,” he said.

The sixth blind man gave a tug on the elephant’s coarse tail. “Why, this is nothing more than a piece of old rope. Dangerous, indeed,” he scoffed.

The gardener led his friends to the shade of a tree. “Sit here and rest for the long journey home,” he said. “I will bring you some water to drink.”

While they waited, the six blind men talked about the elephant.

“An elephant is like a wall,” said the first blind man. “Surely we can finally agree on that.”

“A wall? An elephant is a giant snake!” answered the second blind man.

“It’s a spear, I tell you,” insisted the third blind man.

“I’m certain it’s a giant cow,” said the fourth blind man.

“Magic carpet. There’s no doubt,” said the fifth blind man.

“Don’t you see?” pleaded the sixth blind man. “Someone used a rope to trick us.”

Their argument continued and their shouts grew louder and louder.

“Wall!” “Snake!” “Spear!” “Cow!” “Carpet!” “Rope!”

“Stop shouting!” called a very angry voice.

It was the Rajah, awakened from his nap by the noisy argument.

“How can each of you be so certain you are right?” asked the ruler.

The six blind men considered the question. And then, knowing the Rajah to be a very wise man, they decided to say nothing at all.

“The elephant is a very large animal,” said the Rajah kindly. “Each man touched only one part. Perhaps if you put the parts together, you will see the truth. Now, let me finish my nap in peace.”

When their friend returned to the garden with the cool water, the six men rested quietly in the shade, thinking about the Rajah’s advice.

“He is right,” said the first blind man. “To learn the truth, we must put all the parts together. Let’s discuss this on the journey home.”

The first blind man put his hand on the shoulder of the young boy who would guide them home. The second blind man put a hand on his friend’s shoulder, and so on until all six men were ready to travel together.