More than 400 exotic birds ranging from finches to macaws will flock to the Coliseum today as the SunCoast Avian Society presents the 34th annual Exotic Pet and Bird Show.
"It is exciting to see so many birds in one place," said Mari Howard show co-chairperson and vice president of the SunCoast Avian Society. This two-day show began Saturday and is billed as the largest bird event in Florida, she said.
The show offers one-stop shopping with more than 60 vendors scheduled to participate. Several species of birds will be on exhibit and available for sale, along with other bird-related items. Howard will offer some of her weaned baby green-cheeked and Rosey Bourkes parakeets for sale.
"Birds are wonderful pets, and just as any pet, they love to spend time with you and are an addition to the family as they live a very long time," Howard said.
In addition to the exhibition, there will be bird competitions with judges from all over the United States. Competition categories include cockatiels, budgerigars (parakeets), and psittacines (hookbills or parrots). Although there are no monetary awards, there will be placement awards within the individual groups.
A raffle will take place during the event. Winners will take home an Umbrella Cockatoo, an Indian Ringneck or two Rosey Bourkes. Winners will receive a cage for their new feathered friend.
"Birds offer so much happiness to so many. Many of them would be extinct if it were not for people that are interested enough to care for them," said Howard.
Before Howard attended her first bird show, she admired the winged wonders. For 32 years, she and her husband, Walter, have had a bird farm raising birds from budgerigars to macaws.
"We have reaped great rewards from what we have learned about birds and just having them in our life," Mari Howard said.
The SunCoast Avian Society is a nonprofit organization that works to teach the public that birds make great companions.
Proceeds from the event's admission fees and raffle will benefit local avian-related organizations.
If you go
SunCoast Avian Society's Exotic & Pet Bird Show
When: 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., today.
Where: The Coliseum, 535 Fourth Ave. N.
Admission: $4 for adults, free for 12 years old and under.
For information: Call Mari Howard at (727) 726-6864 or visit suncoastaviansociety.org.
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