When it comes to pet ownership in the United States, you might be surprised to learn this: birds are pretty popular pets. While fish, cats and dogs take the No. 1 through 3 spots, respectively, birds are the fourth most popular pet.
According to the American Pet Products Association, 7.9 million American households have a pet bird, with the total number of birds owned as pets just over 20 million. That’s a lot of birdseed to go around.
It just so happens that January 5 is National Bird Day. The National Geographic Society says that the first National Bird Day was held on January 5, 2008. While the holiday is designed to bring attention to birds’ fate in our ecosystem, it’s also a good time to think about birds as pets, as well as famous sayings about our feathered friends.
Here I’ve gathered 18 awesome quotes about birds. Enjoy!
1. “Everyone likes birds. What wild creature is more accessible to our eyes and ears, as close to us and everyone in the world, as universal as a bird?”
Nature historian David Attenborough
2. “Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.”
Poet, novelist and playwright Langston Hughes
3. “I’m not really a bird person or an Audubon guy who studies them, but as I was around them, they interested me.”
Singer and songwriter Gordon Lightfoot
4. “Be as a bird perched on a frail branch that she feels bending beneath her, still she sings away all the same, knowing she has wings.”
Novelist and dramatis Victor Hugo
5. “The caged bird sings with a fearful trill, of things unknown, but longed for still, and his tune is heard on the distant hill, for the caged bird sings of freedom.”
Writer Maya Angelou
6. “I’d rather learn from one bird how to sing than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance.”
Poet E. E. Cummings
7. “The very idea of a bird is a symbol and a suggestion to the poet. A bird seems to be at the top of the scale, so vehement and intense is his life, large-brained, large-lunged, hot, ecstatic, his frame charged with buoyancy and his heart with song.”
Naturalist John Burroughs
8. “I work as often as I want and yet I’m free as a bird.”
Singer Ethel Merman
9. “And if I stay here with you girl, things just couldn’t even be the same, ’cause I’m as free as a bird now, and this bird you cannot change.”
Band Lynyrd Skynyrd
10. “The early bird gets the worm”
11. “I think we consider too much the good luck of the early bird and not enough the bad luck of the early worm.”
President Franklin D. Roosevelt
12. “I know I don’t own Big Bird, but I own his soul, I feel.”
Actor and puppeteer Caroll Spinney
13. “My father always said, ‘Malala will be free as a bird.’”
Human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai
14. “My writing often contains souvenirs of the day—a song I heard, a bird I saw—which I then put into the novel.”
Author Amy Tan
15. “My mother had a great voice. Not like mine, not like my sister’s, not like my son’s—a high soprano voice, but like a bird. I mean, really beautiful.”
Actor and singer Barbra Streisand
16. “And the eagle flies with the dove. And if you can’t be with the one you love, honey, love the one you’re with.”
Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
17. “You cannot fly like an eagle with the wings of a wren.”
Author and ornithologist William Henry Hudson
18. “I’m like a bird, I only fly away. I don’t know where my soul is. I don’t know where my home is.”
Singer Nelly Furtado
When not covering pets or money-saving topics for Parade, you can find writer Leah Ingram hanging out with her two rescue pups Oscar and Sadie or working on her profitable online store called Pawsome Doggie. It sells dog-shaped cake pans and bakeware, dog theme birthday party supplies, and unique gifts and housewares for dog lovers who want to celebrate a dogaversary™. Use code PARADE to save 10 percent. Also, be sure to check out her recent Parade Picks piece with 11 pawsome pet products?