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September 18, 2019

In many of our past articles, we’ve mentioned PIJAC (the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council) as a potential resource for both store owners and for would-be pet owners. Now, we’ll admit to some bias here—we’ve long had an affiliation with PIJAC, and I currently sit as vice chair for their board of directors—but the technology available to us in this modern age has truly made it easier than ever for like-minded individuals to share information. This has given rise to a number of great pet-centric organizations, which provide critical information to pet owners, stores, distributors, breeders and anyone interested in the pet industry. As such, we’d like to spend some time featuring some of the hard work that these organizations have produced.

First on our list of organizations is BEAK—the Bird Enjoyment & Advantage Koalition—which formed in 2016. As one might surmise, BEAK’s primary goal is to share the joys and benefits of birds as pets, in the hopes to increase bird ownership and grow the overall population of responsible bird owners. Coupled with this, BEAK focuses on responsible bird ownership, with strong focuses on education and ensuring that birds are only placed with proper owners in appropriate homes. These focuses include information sharing, particularly regarding the care, handling and responsibilities required for any would-be bird owner. The bird subsection of the pet industry has faced unique challenges in recent years; even as the overall pet industry swells, bird ownership has been on the decline. However, since its inception, BEAK’s devotion to research, communication and utility has done much to reinvigorate the public’s interest in birds as pets.

Spearheading BEAK’s efforts is their consumer-facing campaign, myBird, and its associated website, MyRightBird.com. MyRightBird features a colorful opening splash page, with bright colors and a number of animated characters sure to catch the eye of any would-be bird-lover. The first and primary function on MyRightBird is a fun, chirpy quiz, featuring adorable animated characters eager to give commentary on your choices throughout the quiz. Quiz questions range from time and financial commitments, living arrangements and noise tolerance, to birds’ level of affection and expected lifespan. After completing the quiz, respondents are presented with an ideal bird match, as well as resources to help the find birds available for sale or adoption in their area. These resources include an avian veterinarian locator and a full library of educational information, making MyRightBird one of the most comprehensive sites for anyone interested in bird ownership.

MyRightBird.com recently went through a significant website update, which has only further added to the site’s utility. In addition to the quiz and bird-locator tool, the site now includes a list of pet bird species, which provides detailed descriptions of the birds’ temperaments, lifespan and more. In addition, the site’s monthly blog offers a number of unique perspectives on bird ownership, care information and more. BEAK also carries a large social media presence, through which they encourage bird-owners to share pictures of companion birds as well as funny pet videos.

Within the pet industry, however, BEAK offers a number of additional benefits. BEAK invites all stores to be featured on their pet bird locator at no cost, aiding retailers across the country improve their visibility and boost their bird and bird product sales. BEAK also partners with local rescues for educational outreach and to connect would-be bird owners with those rescues, ensuring that rescued birds end up in good, well-trained hands. Since its inception, myBird has received more than 1 million global page views and generated nearly 500,000 bird recommendations through the quiz, so any pet store linked through the site surely has a great chance of being seen by interested customers. Further, BEAK members gain access to nationwide consumer research, providing insight into both the pet market at large and methods to help grow their business.

Though relatively new, BEAK is well on its way to becoming an invaluable resource to both avian specialists and to the pet industry as a whole. For more information on BEAK, its resources and how you can get involved, contact BEAK executive director Steve Hellem at shellem@birdenjoymentadvantagekoalition.org

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