Best Pet Birds for a Beginner

Learn about the best pet birds for people who've never owned a bird before from veterinarian Laurie Hess in this Howcast video.

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Thinking of getting a bird? Learn from veterinarian Laurie Hess which ones make the best pets -- for kids, for people who have never owned a bird, for apartment dwellers, for folks who want a talking bird -- in these videos.

 
 

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Doctor Hess: So, what are the best bird pets for beginners? People who've never had birds before. Well, definitely the best birds not to get when you've just started out with birds are large birds, like Macaws. Even Cockatoos or African Greys. It's very tempting to get those birds because they're phenomenal. They're smart. They talk. They're very interactive. But, they really require quite a bit of care. So, we usually recommend that you start out with something a little smaller. Maybe a Parakeet, a Budgerigar or a Cockatiel. If you want something a little bit bigger you could consider a medium sized parrot. Maybe a Conure or a Caique. I don't know. What would you say, Sarah? Sarah: I would say that birds this size are about among the best for beginners. While these guys can be a little louder than a Parakeet or a Cockatiel, they're also very smart and playful. When I think that a lot of times what people are looking for when they want to get a bird, they want that bird that's going to bond with them. That's going to play with them. And a lot of these smaller birds are very smart. They can learn tricks. They can do different behaviors and you can really work with them. And I think it's a good opportunity for people to learn how to work behaviorally with a bird if you get a smaller one. And then, when they're ready they can move on to the bigger birds. Doctor Hess: Yeah. Good things come in small packages. You know, birds don't have to be huge to be fun and interactive. They're a little less intimidating when they're small. I think people do develop a comfort level with little birds. And when they're ready they can even move up and have more than one bird. But, please, please don't rush out as your first bird and get a big, big Macaw. I think that you'll be disappointed and that it may be a little more than you expect. And that bird will live with you then for another 30, 40 years. And, until you're sure you're really a bird person, maybe it's best to start with something a little smaller.

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  • Dr. Laurie Hess

    Dr. Laurie Hess is one of fewer than 150 veterinarians in the world board certified by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners in Avian (bird) Medicine. She is the owner of the Veterinary Center for Birds & Exotics in Bedford Hills, NY, where she treats birds and other exotic pets and species. Dr. Hess is a regular guest on TV and radio stations across the U.S. and Canada discussing various exotic pet topics. She has lectured both nationally and internationally about her field and has published numerous articles and book chapters on the subject.