September 17 marked the first-ever National Pet Bird Day. The holiday was founded by the flock at the Bird Enjoyment and Advantage Koalition (BEAK) to celebrate the joys and benefits of bird ownership. National Pet Bird Day called for a very special visit from Buddy the macaw and his handler Dan.

The duo visited students from first grade all the way to high school seniors at the Empower Academy located in Queen Creek, Ariz. In addition to holding and interacting with Buddy, students learned how to care for a pet bird during the visit.

As an opening demonstration, Dan gave the students an overview of how he grooms Buddy’s nails and beak using a Dremel tool. He also showed them how he carefully removes and puts on Buddy’s vest that he wears during his therapy animal visits. This gave the students a chance to see some of the responsibilities and mutual trust involved in having a bird as a companion. The students also enjoyed watching a video on Dan’s phone of Buddy getting a shower as part of his pre-visit routine. Buddy tends to get vocal during his baths, which can be quite entertaining and comical to watch!

Buddy and Dan’s visit proved to be a wonderful time for everyone in attendance, highlighting the incredible intellect and emotional capacity of pet birds.