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How to Choose the Pet Bird That's Right for You

Not all birds are created equal, and if you get a pigeon when you’re most suited for a parakeet, you’re going to be miserable.


  • Step 1: Do research First, and most important, do your research. Take time to learn everything about pet birds that you can—the pros and cons of all the different birds you’re considering.
  • TIP: Libraries and bookstores have lots of books about pet birds; pet stores have lots of bird magazines; and there are hundreds of bird-related websites online that profile types of pet birds.
  • Step 2: Determine time commitment How much time you have available for a bird? Be realistic. Apart from their emotional needs, some birds can be a lot of work to keep clean. Do you work outside the home? Do you travel a lot? Are you busy raising kids?
  • TIP: Generally, the larger and more intelligent the type of bird, the more demanding it will be. Many parrot owners compare parrots to two-year-old kids in terms of the amount of attention they need.
  • Step 3: Consider available space Think about the amount of space you can give a bird. Although every bird should have the biggest cage you can afford, there’s quite a difference between a finch cage and a floor-to-ceiling parrot aviary.
  • TIP: If you have a small apartment or live near lots of other people, you may be best off with a quiet bird. Some parrot species really like to let loose and scream.
  • Step 4: Set your budget Think carefully about what you can afford. Large birds need regular vet visits, but you will have to budget for a budgie, too. If you travel, you will need to pay for boarding your animal or hiring a pet sitter.
  • TIP: Young children and birds can be an iffy combination—for both the birds and the kids. Big birds mean big beaks, but little birds are fragile and easily frightened.
  • Step 5: Consider your personality Last but definitely not least, think about your own personality. What kind of companion are you looking for in a feathered friend? Do you want to train a bird, or just to enjoy watching it?
  • Step 6: Talk to breeders If you have questions, talk to bird breeders and owners. Tell them the types of birds you’re considering and why you think they might make a good match. Then it’s time to go make a new fine-feathered friend!
  • FACT: Nurse Florence Nightingale had a pet owl that she carried around in her pocket.

You Will Need

  • Time to research your choice
  • Bird books
  • magazines
  • and websites for research
  • Bird breeders or bird owners who can answer questions

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