According to the 2012 American Veterinarian Medicine Association’s U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook, “3.1 % of Americans have birds as pets” and they continue to rise as a popular choice. Before you call your area bird rescue for the bird of your dreams, it helps to have some facts on the more popular pet bird species. Some birds require considerable amounts of socialization and exercise while others have life spans longer than most humans or dietary needs that can quickly turn into a budget breaker.
Parakeets or, more accurately, Budgies (short for Budgerigar) boast beautiful markings and can be quite content in a medium size cage. The most common choice for pet birds, Budgies enjoy close human contact and can be taught to mimic words and noises. Living about 12-14 years, they are coveted for their beautiful singing and whistling as well as their cheerful disposition.
Cockatiels are medium-sized birds native to Australia. While some Cockatiels learn to talk, many are more interested in mocking the daily sounds of life around them, from commercials to household appliances. With an average lifespan of 15-20 years, they require a longer care commitment than some but reward their owners with years of companionship.
If you’re interested in a bird with fewer space and socialization needs, consider finches. While they aren’t quite as social with people, they crave interaction with other birds and do best in pairs or trios. These small, colorful birds are relatively low maintenance and live between 7 to 10 years.
Reputed to be as intelligent as their larger parrot counterparts, Lovebirds boast a 20-year lifespan. Lovebirds get their name from the affectionate interactions they often show one another, from resting their heads together and cuddling, touching, and feeding each other.
If you’re looking for a pet for life, properly fed Macaws can live to over 100 years. Native to the warmer climates of Mexico and South America, these brightly colored parrots have powerful beaks, long tails, and loud calls. Ranging in size from 11 inches up to nearly 40 inches, Macaws do best with dedicated owners with ample free time (and an environment suitable for loud noises!)
Despite their small size, birds require considerable care, socialization, and, of course, regular veterinary care. Our next post will detail some of the dietary and equipment needs of our feathered friends to ensure a smooth transition for your both. In the meantime, AllPetBirds.com has a quick quiz to help you choose the right bird for your lifestyle.