It is important to find the right bird that fits your personality and lifestyle. Some birds need a vast amount of attention and work, especially larger parrots, but even some smaller birds need a lot of love and handling in order to be happy and friendly.
There are many things you need to consider before you settle on a species, including the lifespan of the bird, the size of the cage it needs, the foods it will require, the noise level of the bird, and the time and attention the species needs.
Birds That Require More Friendly Attention
Many people are drawn to parrots such as Amazons, African greys, cockatoos, and macaws as they are gorgeous birds that are very trainable. Greys and Amazons are coveted for their talking abilities. These very trainable birds are also the most challenging and most demanding as pets. If you are interested in a parrot, it is extremely important to examine your motivation for getting a pet bird, along with your ability to commit to the hard work needed to successfully live with one of these demanding birds over the long haul (some can live up to 60 years).
Beginners who do not have a lot of time to spend with a pet bird should consider species such as canaries or finches. If you have a bit more time and have an interest in parrots, then you could consider parakeets (budgies) or cockatiels, which are smaller members of the parrot family and are friendly, relatively quiet, and easy to tame if you get a young bird.
Other members of the parrot family that you might want to consider as a first-time bird owner would be lovebirds, Pionus parrots, poicephalus parrots, parrotlets, Quaker parrots, and grey-cheeked parakeets. And while doves and pigeons are often overlooked as pets, they can make good companions as they are quiet and sociable.
There are things around the home that are considered hazardous to birds. Things you probably wouldn’t think of like your cookware, scented candles, and deodorizers. The respiratory systems of birds are delicate. If you are a smoker, then a bird might not be the right fit for you. Some plants are perfectly safe, while others are potentially fatal to birds. It is important to know about all the household hazards that can harm a bird.
Some birds require stimulation and need to keep their brains busy in order to curb less-than-appealing behaviors like excessive noise or destroying their cage. Much like children, if you give parrots toys to keep them entertained, these positive activities can go a long way. There are many kinds of toys you can provide for them. There are foot toys, hanging toys, and vertical toys that are hung on the inside wall of a cage that acts as a play board, and there are puzzles.
You might want to invest some time in training your pet bird. Training helps strengthen the bond you have with your parrot. Most birds look forward to the one-on-one attention involved in training sessions. With successful training usually comes lots of praise and attention and their favorite treats. In addition, teaching some simple commands will make handling your parrot easier.
Keep your bird healthy and wash your hands every time after you handle your bird. Birds can carry germs that make people sick. These bird-borne illnesses are rare in the United States, but you will still need to be vigilant about handwashing. Psittacosis, or “parrot fever,” is a potentially serious disease of pet birds, and it can be transmitted to humans. The risks are not great, but it is best to be aware of them.
Train Your Bird to Be More Friendly
A common complaint from owners of pet birds is that their birds are simply not friendly enough for their liking. When this is the case, it is most often a problem on the owner’s part rather than the bird’s. Luckily, there is plenty that can be done to help you and your bird see eye to eye. Use these tips to find some easy ways that you can convince your bird to be a little more sociable toward you (and the rest of your family). With patience and practice, you’ll likely begin to see a real change in the way that your feathered friend chooses to interact with you. The tips don’t require a lot of time, but they do require consistency from both you and any other human.
Teach Your Bird a Trick
Taking the time to teach your pet a bird trick, even a simple one, can do a great deal to make you look better in your bird’s eyes. Training sessions take time, and spending more time with your bird is essential to the bonding process. Plus, the act of working on something and then finally achieving it together can go far in improving your relationship with a bird. Start with a simple trick such as waving hello, and once you have accomplished that task, move to more complicated tricks.
Handle Your Bird Every Day
Bird owners need to take the time to handle their birds every day. Handling your bird requires personal, one-on-one time to be spent with your pet, and forces both of you to interact with each other more intimately. If a bird isn’t behaving, usually adding more handling time into the bird’s schedule is all that it takes to turn things around.
Share a Meal With Your Bird
The way to many creatures’ hearts is through their stomachs and birds are no exception. If you’re having trouble interacting with your pet bird, try some good old-fashioned bribery and set up a meal of fresh fruits and veggies to share with your bird. Sharing food is a normal and natural behavior among birds in a flock. A meal together is likely to help your bird start seeing you as a family member. Just remember to stay away from any foods that could be poisonous to your feathered friend.
Make Sure Your Bird Has Plenty of Toys
Birds that are bored and under-stimulated are likely to become despondent and, in some cases, unruly. A bored and depressed bird isn’t going to be thrilled about spending time with others. If you are having issues with your bird’s behavior, make sure that it has access to plenty of safe and fun bird toys. Once you’ve stocked your bird’s supply with toys, rotate them out of the cage often so that your pet doesn’t tire of playing with the same old things. You might be surprised to see how quickly new toys can turn a bird’s mood around.
Problems and Proofing Behavior
Don’t expect an immediate result. Instant success won’t happen, but with consistent behaviors from humans, a clean bill of health, and hard work, you can likely expect your bird to become more friendly, social, happy, and stimulated. Also, once your bird has shown improvement, you’ll need to continue your modifications to keep your bird acting friendly and social.