Before you even begin choosing which species to get, you need to decide if a pet bird right for you. It is important to be well informed so that you have realistic expectations.
Birds can be very long-lived in captivity if well cared for. Cockatiels have a life expectancy of 15 to 20 years and African Greys typically live 50-70 years. Smaller birds fair well also. Lovebirds live up to 20 years. What this means is that you need to be prepared for taking care of your pet for many years.
Next, determine what size might be best for you living arrangements. Sure, the big beautiful macaws are gorgeous but they can be loud, take up a great deal of space, require expensive cases, create bigger messes and can eat your sofa for lunch. Little birds create smaller messes, live happily in table-top cages that are affordable and while they can damage things if not supervised, they won't eat furniture completely. If you live in a small apartment, a small bird will require less space for its cage and playground.
If you want a bird that will play and interact with you over one that perfers to remain in its cage, you'll want to select a hand-fed baby bird that has recently been weaned or an older one that is already tame. Taming a pet bird can require a great deal of time and dedication and can be all but impossible with birds that have bonded to an untamed mate.
When deciding what is the right bird for you, consider special diets and maintenance requirements. Lorikeets, although beautiful, require a nectar diet and therefore have runny droppings all the time. These can soon result in dirty walls around the cage because the droppings can be transported quite a distance when the bird defecates.
You should determine how much you want to invest in the pet bird and its cage, food and toys before choose the species. If you are on a strict budget, a hand-fed baby cockatiel can be a great choice and you can often get all set up for about $100 while other parrots like the macaws can cost in the thousands just for the bird. The cage for a large bird can cost a great deal also. The foods and toys are much more costly than those for a parakeet, cockatiel or small species of conure.
When you are deciding which is the right one for you, remember that birds require a consistent commitment of your time. Cages must be cleaned and fresh food and water provided each day. Tame birds require time out of their cages to interact. If you have minimal time, a very small bird like a canary or a pair of finches might be the best choice for you.
If you make the right choice of pet, you'll have a fun, entertaining companion for years to come. Don't purchase a bird as an impulse reaction to how pretty or cute the bird's antics may be. Commit wisely to a new family member.
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