Polly want a parrot? Maybe, but what kind of parrot should polly get? Or perhaps Polly should get a dove instead?
There is a lot to think about when considering getting a pet bird, like whether or not you have enough space for a specific species or if you have access to a good avian vet who can offer quality care to the bird of your choice. Much also depends on your priorities, and the kind of experience you hope to have with your new feathery friend.
For most prospective bird owners, that means choosing a pet that's going to be friendly, interactive and emotionally engaging. There are several options if you want to have this kind of bird, but these are our top 5 recommendations:
One of the most common bird species kept as a pet, parakeets are intelligent, cute and generally enjoy interacting with their owners. The budgerigar, or budgie, is the most popular kind of parakeet for bird owners thanks to their silly, sweet nature, but all parakeets offer the benefits that come with their small size and the fact that they aren't as noisy as many of their avian cousins.
You can make the most of interactions with your parakeet by teaching it a variety of tricks, including how to talk. Though relatively low-maintenance on a day-to-day basis, parakeets and budgies do require care by an avian veterinarian when any health concerns arise.
New bird owners who choose to care for a cockatiel are quickly rewarded for their decision with an adorable blush that just won't go away. Famous for their head crest and orange cheeks, cockatiels are particularly affectionate, making them great companions. While some may learn to talk, it's more common to hear cockatiels imitating simpler sounds like doorbells.
Roughly twice the size of a parakeet, cockatiels are slightly easier to handle for those that want to be more hands-on with their pet bird.
If you prefer low maintenance over lots of direct interaction, the finch might be the best option for you. Canaries are a particularly popular kind of finch, known for their songs and bright colors. Generally speaking, finches prefer not to be held by humans, but are social among their own kind, which means you should ideally get more than one.
Finches and canaries do happily interact with their owners from inside a cage however, and make for fascinating pets to enjoy through observation alone. Veterinarians will recommend yearly checkups for your feathery friend, as is best with all exotic pets.
Macaws, another type of parrot, are one of the more challenging pet birds on our list due to their size. For example, the exceptionally beautiful Hyacinth macaw can be about 40 inches in length and needs room enough to spread its wings and exercise its flying muscles. Hahn's macaw is the smallest of this type of parrot, but is still about the same length as a cockatiel.
So, why include them on our list? Because macaws are possibly the most socially intelligent and friendly species of bird you can own as a pet. If you have the space, expect to have a close, loving relationship with these remarkable creatures.
Be sure to consult with an avian veterinarian before making the decision to take home a macaw. You want to fully understand what caring for a macaw entails, and whether or not you have the space required.
Who wouldn't like to have the living symbol of peace as a piece of their family? Doves are perfect for owners who don't want a pet that's overly demanding of attention, but will still make its presence felt in a calm, caring way. Dove owners are often surprised by the quality of the relationship they are able to build with these unique companions.
No matter which feathered friend you choose, finding the right kind of specialized care for your pet bird can be one of the greater challenges. Make sure whatever clinic or hospital you plan to visit includes in-house avian veterinarians to reduce risk and get the best possible treatment. You can also ask an avian vet, like ours at LIBEVC, about preventative medicine and how to establish the right conditions for your specific pet.
Is a pet bird a good idea for your family?