Which Bird For You? Related Topics:
Which Bird Is For You?
Buying A Bird
Post-Purchase Exam
Species Guide

People decide to buy a bird for many reasons: they think birds are pretty, they like that birds can talk, they have a friend with a bird, they saw a television program, etc. However, many new bird owners forget one step when they go to buy a bird. They neglect to study the traits of different parrots to see which, if any, fit their lifestyle. Worse yet, some never intent to get a bird until they see a pretty face at a pet store and decide to buy one on the spot. This kind of impulsive bird ownership is one of the main reasons that so many parrot rescue organizations are cropping up all over the country. Suddenly the new bird owner finds they have a pet that is very noisy, or throws aggressive fits, or has started to pick its feathers. Now the owner's unique new pet is no longer so desirable.

Once a person has decided that they want a bird, they must first realize that there are some traits nearly all birds have. Some of these are outlined in our Parrot Persona section. If these traits seem like they will fit with a potential owner's lifestyle, they must then find the perfect bird. There are some traits that vary by bird types (i.e. Amazons, Conures, Cockatoos, etc.) and even by different species (i.e. the Hyacinth Macaw compared to the Scarlet Macaw). For instance, many prospective owners are very attracted to the Moluccan Cockatoo because they are beautiful, intelligent and very loving. However, these new owners rarely realize that the Moluccan requires a great deal of hands-on attention and mental stimulation or they may pick up bad habits such as biting, self-mutilation, depression or screaming. Before anyone gets a bird, it is important that they do research. This can be done in many ways:

  1. Talk to bird-owning friends. Find out an honest opinion on what the pros and cons of their birds are.
  2. Join a bird club or rescue group. Attend meetings and talk to people before you get your bird. Ask members what they like about their birds and what special requirements they feel their birds need (these groups can also be a great source of information on bird husbandry, behavior and general care).
  3. Read books, magazines, internet articles, etc. Especially read publications that deal more with pet birds as opposed to parrots in the wild. They may provide hints on species traits and requirements.
  4. Talk to an avian veterinarian or veterinary staff member. If you have a specific type of bird in mind, call a vet and see what, in their experience, the pros and cons of that parrot are.
  5. Talk to breeders and bird specialty stores. Let them know what your limitations are and what you are expecting out of a bird and see what they think (remember: the goal of any breeder or pet-store is, of course, to sell. Don't let anyone talk you into a purchase you do not feel good about!).
There are a few things you want to consider when looking for the perfect bird. These include:

A) how much space you can give up in your home: any bird should have the largest cage you can safely give them,

B) how tolerant your neighbors will be of parrot noise: all parrots make noise, but some are noisier than others,

C) how easily intimidated you are by a large or aggressive bird: it takes a brave soul not to be bullied by a parrot (and they will try!) and finally,

D) how much time you have to give your bird: all parrots require personal attention, but some types are more independent than others.

Finally, remember, never walk into a pet store, breedery, etc. expecting to buy a bird. Don't be persuaded by a hard sell. Don't pick your "perfect parrot" based on looks or "talking ability" - the other traits of that species may be hard for you to live with. If you find a bird you like, go home and think about it. There is never a "deal" so good that you should sacrifice your own happiness, money and the happiness of a bird for it! Owning a bird is a long term commitment and should not be taken lightly!

Another option you will have when deciding on a bird is whether or not to handraise your own new pet. Click here for information on this decision.

If you would like to talk to bird people about their recommendations for a parrot pet, please check out Birdmart's Parrot Chatboards!