Choosing the right bird for your lifestyle is the most important step.
Sure, everyone loves a cuddly cockatoo or a comical macaw, but can we appropriately care for one of these formidable, yet VERY demanding parrot species? Most don't have the time nor the financial resources to do so. Big birds need LOTS of (often expensive) toys, they can cause considerable damage to furniture and can drive close-living neighbors crazy with their loud calls.
And yet, some people wouldn't do without them. My friend Lynn succinctly expressed:
"A good bird owner is one who enjoys the company and interaction with birds more than they mind their messes and loud voices."
Whether or not you belong to those "big bird enthusiasts" will depend on whether your prioritize "neatness" and furnishings (like whether they are chewed on or not) or are willing to accept some bird destructiveness in your house. Alternatively, you could provide an entire room or sunroom, or outside enclosure for your large companion where his or her destructiveness is not so much an issue.
It helps when you understand why birds DO what they do (like chewing on furnishings): In nature, parrots chew on tree branches all day long, "customizing" their favorite tree or chosen nesting place to their liking, and keeping their beaks trimmed this way as well, and let's face it -- it gives them something to do that they enjoy. As a general rule, the larger the bird, the more destructive they are. Although even cockatiels have been known to "customize" the wooden frame of a picture or mirror. Another thing:
Parrots are very intelligent creatures and without "things to do" they can develop serious psychological and behavioral problems. They need daily stimulation that can be provided by lots of toys, an interesting environment where they can interact with either people or other birds. They like to learn and experience new things. Keeping your companion (especially the larger ones) entertained and engaged will require some creativity, involvement and effort on your part.
Purchasing a bird warrants a lot of research on the different species available. For most families, a budgie, cockatiel or lovebird would be the best choice.
If your heart desires a larger bird, there are some larger birds that are less noisy, less destructive than others. There are smaller cockatoo species (goffins, bare-eyeds), that are less noisy and less destructive than the larger cockatoo species. Pionuses and some conures (green-cheeks, maroon-bellieds) are also known to be less noisy than others. Still some people who are sensitive to noise, still are offended by their "sentinel screeching" and although they are LESS destructive than their larger counterparts, they are STILL destructive. Anyhow, I have made it fairly easy for you to find out about all the different birds that could be potential companions for you, and assimilated a lot of resources on each parrot and bird species:
For information on parrot-type birds, like parakeets, cockatiels, lovebirds, conures, quakers, pionuses, amazons, macaws, cockatoos or such birds, please visit the Parrot Species page - or choose the species you like on the menu to the right.
- Noise: How much noise can your neighborhood tolerate? How much noise can YOU tolerate? If you like quiet birds, then finches, Australian parakeets (I LOVE the grass parakeets - of which I breed the Burke's parakeets, the scarlet-chested parakeets and the turquoisines) or canaries would be great choices. If you prefer larger birds, amongst the quietest and most beautiful are the King Parrots.
- Which birds sell well in your area? You may want to ask your local pet stores or breeders which birds are popular. You don't want to be stuck with a lot of unwanted birds, as your breeders start producing.
- How much money will you get for your birds? If you want to make money or at least cover the cost of your hobby -- this will be an important factor. If you like to concentrate on the more expensive birds (as you would get more for them), African Greys or King Parrots, might be a great choice. They are both popular and you will be able to sell the babies at a decent price.
Species Research by Sibylle Johnson
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