If you’ve ever walked into a pet shop and were immediately greeted by chirping, singing, or maybe squawking, you might be like me and couldn’t resist following the mix of both pleasant and piercing sounds to their source. Upon arriving at the source of the commotion, you might also be like me and immediately exclaim ‘oh, how beautiful, I love them’ as you take in the breathtakingly beauty of exotic birds.
As you peer through each side of every cage in the shop, you might might also follow in my footsteps and purchase one of these smart and beautiful creatures. They are, without a doubt, smart and beautiful. After spending what may be many hundreds of dollars on, not only the bird that caught your eye, but the cage, food, toys and whatever other paraphernalia you were convinced you needed, you leave the store beaming with excitement and joy about how wonderful this new additional will be to you and your family. Herein lies the problem and here is experience talking.
I caught the fever, much like catching car fever, and made a very impulsive purchase with my first bird. I gave no thought to how little I knew about birds, I did no research to figure out the best bird for me and my family, I read no articles nor did I talk with any experienced bird owners that would have been so helpful in preparing me for the responsibilities and challenges of owning certain types of birds. Don’t get me wrong…I’m not saying birds are bad pets…on the contrary, birds make wonderful pets, however, for your sake, and especially for the sake of the bird, please educate yourself before succumbing to the bird fever.
Back to my first experience, now. I rushed home in all my excitement, enlisted everyone in the family to join you me in establishing what can only be described as the perfect avian castle and then began pouring through my old baby books to find the perfect name for the little fella or gal (sometimes you just can’t confirm the gender of a bird). After introducing our new feathered friend to his new castle and settling on a name, all signs pointed to what would be a long and lasting love for this friend in vivid colors. He chirped quietly as he hopped from food cups and toys in his 3 story size castle and seemed quite content with his new surroundings.
Fast forward a few days. Little Peppy began to feel more comfortable with his newly found digs and the humans who constantly talked, played with and entertained him (To this point, the only maintenance was a simply refill of is food and water cups and a quick swiffer to scoop up a bit of scattered seed once in a while). What experienced bird owners call the ‘honeymoon period’ lasted for a few weeks, then things quickly changed course. It was about this time that I began to realize how unprepared we were for the intellect of birds.
Peppy, much like a spoiled toddler, suddenly decided that he needed the undivided attention of every human in the house and he did not take ‘no’ for an answer. His response to our attempts to shush or ignore him resulted in a high pitched screaming that would put any opera singer to shame, a flogging of everything in his cage that didn’t stop until a 6 foot radius of the floor was covered in seed and droppings and finger bites for anyone who dared to put their index within reach. I was in shock! What had happened to our sweet little buddy?.?…what had we done to cause this and, more importantly, what were were going to do to make it stop.
I quickly began researching and reading everything I could find on our type of bird, it’s origin, it’s personality traits and advice from experienced owners on dealing with some of the more challenging, and sometimes annoying, behaviors. By now, I’m sure you’re seeing my mistake. As have many other people I’ve come across over the years, I had it backwards when it came to birds.
The lesson here is simple. Birds make very special pets but it needs to be the right bird for you and your family. So, before you do yourself or a beautiful bird an injustice, do your research. Google to find the types of birds recommended for your family situation, look for breeders of the birds you’re interested in and, if possible, talk with people who own, or have owned, the types of birds you’re considering.
Doing these things can help ensure that you find the right bird and that the right bird finds you. Happy Chirping!