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Choosing the Right Bird For You

When you look into choosing the right bird, you should consider the cage and size, noise level, character, how much time and commitment you can give, and the price range. Many birds are given up for adoption each year due to owners not doing the proper research before buying and taking home a parrot. Think about the following before choosing your next family member.

First, think about the location and size of cage you can afford and where it will fit in your house. Put your bird in the largest cage you can afford. If you live in an apartment, consider the smaller birds, such as a Budgies, Lovebirds, Parrotlets, Cockatiels, Grey-cheeked Parrots, Poicephalus, Mini macaw, or a small Conure, such as a Maroon-bellied or a Green-cheeked. These birds do not need huge cages, but they do need a lot of free time out of the cage. A Canary or a pair of Finches is another good choice for the apartment dweller. If you have a lot of space, you may consider larger birds: Lories, Larger conures, Eclectus, Amazons, Macaws, or Cockatoos. These birds need their own cage and you should think about adding a play-gym as well. These birds tend to run around the outside of the cage and will appreciate space. If you own a home and have room to build an aviary, even better - you can house your birds in style! Give them space to exercise their mind and body.

Noise Level
Smaller birds in small numbers tend to be the least disturbing - Canaries, Finches, Budgies, Meyer's, Senegals, African greys, Eclectus, Pionus, Lovebirds, Rosellas, and Cockatiels won't usually cause your neighbors to complain in an apartment. Smaller macaws, like the Hahn's and the Yellow-collar can be good choices as well - one bird usually won't make too much of a racket in town houses or condos. Cockatoos, Macaws, Amazons, Quaker parakeets, and some Conures, however, may cause your next door neighborhood to sign a petition for you to move! These birds can be noisy, and people in their own house or out of town would be the best owners for these birds. If you live in a home and are not disturbed by screeching, then consider a larger bird like a Cockatoo or Macaw. Indian ringnecks, Lories, Caiques, and Pionus are in the moderate noise range and are not known to be excessively loud, depending on the individual

Want a sweet, cuddly baby? Then a Cockatoo is the bird for you - cockatoos will literally act like they want to be surgically attached to your body. They like to be one of the family. Macaws can be very affectionate as well, and so can Conures. Amazons, are moderately affectionate and will like some petting and close contact, while African greys will tolerate the occasional head scratch. The Eclectus is a good in-between bird that likes the cuddle like the Cockatoo and yet can be independent like the African Grey. Canaries and Finches would rather not be touched at all. Realize that, like with people, temperament varies. "It's hard to generalize with temperament. Each bird is an individual. You can't say that you're going to get a bird because you've heard that a certain species behaves a certain way, I think there has to be a rapport between you and the bird. The bird should pick you rather than you choose him. I have had some of the best friendship start right in front of me and they are still going stronger to this date.

Talking ability
One of the first questions most people ask is, "Can they talk?" First you should know most birds will only talk when they want and not in front of strangers. Greys are best talker. They repeat and communicate by mimicking your voice, whereas the amazons will repeat and communicate in their voice. Generally Macaws are more talkative than Cockatoos, then Eclectus and then Senegals.

Time Commitment
Caring for a bird takes time. You have to clean their cage, play, feed and water them. The smaller the bird, the less mess they make. The larger birds seem to have a goal in seeing how far from their cage they can fling food. Canaries and finches are content to spend all of their time in their homes, while parrots need a good deal of supervised playtime out of the cage. Having two birds need less attention from you than a single bird does but you may not get the best pet. Parrots may bond to each other instead of you. So having two birds can be done. If they live in two cages, in the same room, they can keep each other company while you are gone but not together in the same cage.

Price Range

Price should not be the first consideration when buying a bird. First consider the species and characteristic that you would love to have. The price might be good but the bird may not be the one for you. I don't sell birds to someone because they have the money. The bird must like them and they must know what they want and why. Larger and rare birds usually come with a higher price tag. A Budgie usually sells for the cheapest while a similar sized bird, the parrotlet, can sell for much more depending on color. Prices will vary with each bird even if they are the same species. Birds may have been handle and worked with more. Price difference should not be too much but paying a little more may mean you are getting a better pet in the long run.

The Most Frequently Rehomed Birds

In my Sanctuary I have found that the bird most commonly given up for adoption is the cockatoo, The first impressions of these birds is that they are so charming, but they are also so demanding for attention, noisy, and destructive that people end up giving them up. The other most commonly given up bird is the Amazon. They become aggressive as they get older, and will often attack their owners. Breeding is one of the most common reasons for giving the bird up. Birds may not bond with their owners and are still looking for their mate. The female may just laid eggs while males may get loud and territorial. Owning parrots can be a lifetime commitment, so do the proper research before buying these birds on impulse.

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© 2003 Look Who's Talking Aviaries

Todd McClean
Drayton Valley, Alberta Canada
Phone: 780.542.4822
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