Birds have many different qualities that make them an ideal pet. Some species make great companions and model first pets, teaching both responsibility and care taking. Other types are very high-maintenance and require careful grooming, meticulous handling, and special diets. When choosing a bird, it is important to research the types that interest you prior to taking a trip to the pet store; doing so will protect your future pet’s long-term well-being and your peace-of-mind.
Choosing a bird
You want to choose the bird that is right for your lifestyle and fulfills what you want from a pet. You may also want to consider a bird’s lifespan before making your purchasing decision, which can range from twenty-five to over one hundred years! The following is a list of various birds and the personalities they offer:
- Canaries – one of the most popular pet birds. Very vocal and bright in color. Female canaries don’t sing, while males are very vocal. Great bird for someone new to bird ownership, because they require less maintenance than other birds. Approximate lifespan is 10-15 years.
- Finches – prefer not to be handled too much. Very lively. Enjoy the company of other finches within the same enclosure. Flutter around and do not climb around their cage. If too many are in a single enclosure, fights may break out. Approximate lifespan is 3-15 years.
- Parakeets – initially very timid, but form a very close bond with their pet owner when carefully handled and attended to. Must be given consistent and respectful handling. Approximate lifespan 7-20 years.
- Cockatiels – a popular pet bird. Very loving and desire a lot of attention and handling. With a patient owner, they can learn to talk. Approximate lifespan 10-20 years.
- Parrots (e.g. Macaws, Amazons, Cockatoos, African Grey) – the bright, large, talkative birds that are the most well-known. Very entertaining and intelligent and feed off of attention. Because of their intelligence, these birds require a lot of attention, socialization, and intellectual stimulation. They also require a fair amount of exercise. Lifespan of smaller species is 40-60 years. Approximate lifespan of larger species 30-80 years.
- Peach-Faced Lovebirds – Playful and active. Thrive on attention and socialization and love to be handled and carried around. Very affectionate and not too noisy. Approximate lifespan is 15-25 years.
- Doves – Very gentle and loving. May initially be nervous, but with proper socialization will be very outgoing. Bond strongly with their owner. Because of their gentility, doves are a great bird for younger children. Approximate lifespan is 12-20 years.
An important thing to consider before purchasing your pet bird is cage size. Whether your future pet is large or small, all birds enjoy the flexibility of a large cage. Extra space allows smaller birds to exercise within their containment. Larger birds need even larger cages; some very large birds, such as parrots will even require a space outside of their cage like a stand or play gym for extra entertainment. Birds, in general, have a sensitive respiratory system. Many household items (e.g. fragrances, smoke, cleaners, etc.) have toxic properties that may harm your pet bird. Check all products used in your home to ensure no harmful chemical are released to ensure you maintain a healthy bird.
What do birds eat?
A bird’s diet differs depending on the species. Some birds eat seed while others eat nectar and fruit. The following list includes the various foods a bird might eat:
- Fresh greens
- Sprouted seeds
Different types of birds have different socialization needs. Companion birds view your family as their flock and long to be near family activity at all times, while solitary birds prefer to be left alone. Some species will screech for attention, others will sing only at specific times throughout the day. For future bird owners who aren’t able, or willing, to take their pet out of the cage for a minimum of two hours per day to socialize, a Finch or Canary might be best. Birds that have a hooked bill, such as a Parrot, long for daily interaction and exercise, so a pet owner willing to handle their bird is necessary.
Our veterinary facility wishes all pet owners success in choosing their pet. If you have any questions about bird ownership, please feel free to contact our office; we would be happy to assist you!