Waiting in line recently at the Post Office, you might have heard something strange. In addition to the sound of tongues licking envelopes and pens scrawling addresses, you may have heard the guttural crow of a rooster muffled by a cardboard box.
Apparently, birds are the only warm-blooded animals that you can legally ship live via the United States Postal Service.
Now, let's set aside why you'd want to send a live bird through the mail and focus on how. Since 1989, Horizon Micro-Environments LLC has been manufacturing Naturally Environmentally Secure Transporters (NESTs). The ventilated cardboard boxes are USPS, FedEx, USDA and IATA-approved and most include filters, which are required for all birds older than 72 hours.
Whether you want to ship pigeons, quails, ducks, pheasants, bantams or fancy, long-tailed showbirds, Horizon has a box to fit your bird. The Psittacine Shipper, for example, is designed specifically for hookbills or parrots and comes equipped with a viral shield "to help guard against airborne pathogens such as Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease, Chlamydia psittaci (the cause of psittacosis) and avian polyomavirus."
If this all sounds irrelevant to your general shipping needs, think again. This year you can finally mail your true love every feathered creature from the "Twelve Days of Christmas" song. Or send your neighbor-infuriating "pullet surprise" to a far-flung, no-kill animal sanctuary.