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Burmeister, Anne-Kathrin; Drasch, Katrin; Rinder, Monika; Prechsl, Sebastian; Peschel, Andrea; Korbel, Rüdiger and Saam, Nicole J. (December 2020): Development and Application of the Owner-Bird Relationship Scale (OBRS) to Assess the Relation of Humans to Their Pet Birds. In: Frontiers in Veterinary Science, Vol. 7, 575221: pp. 1-13 [PDF, 292kB]


Only a few birds besides domestic pigeons and poultry can be described as domesticated. Therefore, keeping a pet bird can be challenging, and the human-avian relationship will have a major influence on the quality of this cohabitation. Studies that focus on characterizing the owner-bird relationship generally use adapted cat/dog scales which may not identify its specific features. Following a sociological approach, a concept of human-animal relationship was developed leading to three types of human-animal relationship (impersonal, personal, and close personal). This concept was used to develop a 21-item owner-bird-relationship scale (OBRS). This scale was applied to measure the relationship between pet bird owners (or keepers) (n = 1,444) and their birds in an online survey performed in Germany. Factor analysis revealed that the relationship between owner and bird consisted of four dimensions: the tendency of the owner to anthropomorphize the bird;the social support the bird provides for the owner;the empathy, attentiveness, and respect of the owner toward the bird;and the relationship of the bird toward the owner. More than one quarter of the German bird owners of this sample showed an impersonal, half a personal, and less than a quarter a close personal relationship to their bird. The relationship varied with the socio-demographic characteristics of the owners, such as gender, marital status, and education. This scale supports more comprehensive quantitative research into the human-bird relationship in the broad field of human-animal studies including the psychology and sociology of animals as well as animal welfare and veterinary medicine.

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