Most people are enamored with birds! They are magnificent winged creatures that capture the imagination and free the spirit! However, keeping a pet bird is much harder than having a cat or dog. It is important to note that birds are considered to be classified as “exotic pets.” This means they have special needs. Because birds are super smart, they are curious creatures and require TONS of attention from YOU as the pet owner!
It happens all too often… An unsuspecting person pays a visit to their neighborhood pet store. Once inside, they come face to face with a beautiful, vividly colored Macaw who greets them with a fabulously boisterous “Hello!” Instantly, the person is smitten in love and minutes later they are driving home with their new parrot. YIKES! Sadly, this is NOT the way to become a successful bird parent. This scenario can result in problems for both bird and bird owner! Read on…
IMPORTANT FACT: Did you Know? Macaws can live for close to 100 years, so be sure you are ready to commit to having a bird in the family!
Not sure what kind of bird to get or what size to get? As a rule, the bigger the bird, the bigger the commitments involved with keeping it. Never forget that fact! Large birds can make exceptional companions, but are often louder, messier, and more demanding than their smaller counterpart species. For these reasons, it is generally recommended that novice bird owners start out with a small to medium sized bird. The size of your bird will be important in determining how you will care for your pet, as far as training, housing requirements, and overall interaction.
PLEASE… Before you buy a pet of any kind, it’s important to think realistically about how much you can handle, especially when it comes to birds. This is not a commitment to take lightly. Each year, thousands of birds are abused or even abandoned by pet owners who just don’t understand them. Please be sure to get educated before you acquire one.
Behavior and Temperament:
Do you want a bird that will be eager to come out of his cage and socialize? The way your bird relates to you will be an important factor in the quality of your ownership experience. Keeping this in mind, it is important to note that different species of birds exhibit various behavior patterns and dispositions. An African Grey will behave quite differently from a Cockatoo or a Canary! If you really want a pet bird, but have never had one before, it is imperative to research the various species beforehand, so you can choose the bird whose personality will be most compatible with yours and that of your family.
Nutrition and Maintenance:
Some birds require specific diets or other special care. Lories, for example, are beautiful medium sized birds admired around the world for their striking colors. They have highly specialized digestive systems, however, which require them to be fed a diet of pollen, nectar, and fruit. This in turn causes them to produce liquid droppings, making it necessary to clean their cages more frequently than those of other species. A bird such as this may be too much work for you to take on, especially if you are very busy, you travel a lot or you are simply do not want to handle such a task.
Budget and Finances:
Keeping a bird can be expensive, and much of that expense can be related to the type of bird involved. Larger birds sometimes have an initial purchase price of thousands of dollars, and these species generally require costly cages and accessories that boost the bill even higher. Even smaller birds, while often initially less expensive, still present their owners with various financial obligations.
Remember. Some birds can live a very long time – we are talking like 50+ years – so this is not an impulse commitment! Those that own birds know they are responsible for feeding, housing, and providing them with veterinary care THROUGHOUT THEIR LIVES. There is nothing worse for a bird than to be bounced around from home to home because the owner simply doesn’t want it any longer. This is so damaging to the poor animal who’s only crime is that YOU wanted to take it home. So please, be kind by being educated. A bird is not for the faint of heart! They require a lot of work and a lot of attention and love. If you can’t take on the commitment, please DON’T get a bird. You will both be unhappy in the long run.
Some bird species, particularly the hookbills (that means anything larger than a parakeet), require daily exercise, interaction, and time out of their cages. Are you able to spare at least two hours a day to socialize with your bird and supervise his out of cage activities? If not, a Finch, Canary, or other more independent species may be best for you. To ensure that your pet stays healthy and happy, you should consider how much time you have available to spend with your bird when deciding which kind you would like to own.
Research and Think Before You Act:
For those that put a little effort into selecting a pet that will be compatible with their lifestyle, bird ownership can be a tremendously enriching experience. A little research and careful thought can go a long way in making sure that your relationship with your pet is destined to be a good one. By resisting the urge to buy a bird on impulse and keeping these important tips in mind, you are sure to make the right decision about which species will be best for your family.