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Birds make excellent pets and exceptional companions, but it also takes a special person to love and properly care for a bird. Pet birds are now the fourth most popular pet in the world, behind dogs, cats and freshwater fish. There are many things to consider before purchasing a pet bird. Choosing the right type of bird for your lifestyle is an important first step. Some birds need daily stimulation, lots of toys and interaction with people or other birds in order to stay happy. Whether you choose a large pet bird or a small to medium size bird also depends on how willing you are to accept some “destructiveness” to your home. Large birds, such as parrots, can be loud and like to chew on furniture. This is because, in nature, parrots chew on large tree branches all day long. It's also important to note that parrots are very intelligent creatures and without proper care and “things to do,” they can develop serious psychological and behavioral problems. In general, the larger the bird, the more destructive. However, this doesn't mean you must endure chewed up furniture to own a large pet bird, but you must help keep your pet engaged in activities and entertained, which means some creativity and involvement on your part. Remember: in the wild, birds are social creatures and they are never alone.

Behavior and temperament, nutrition and maintenance are other things to consider before purchasing a pet bird. Do you prefer a bird that likes to be seen but not touched or do you want a pet bird that will come out of its cage and socialize? Since large birds are generally louder, messier and more demanding than smaller species, it is often recommended that novice bird owners start out with a smaller species. Some birds require special diets and some species live a very long time, so deciding to own a pet bird means committing to feeding, housing and providing veterinary care throughout their lives. All of these factors, and more, should be taken into consideration before purchasing a bird. The more research you do – the better. Choosing to live with a pet bird may mean making changes in your lifestyle that you didn't realize. However, with careful research and knowledge beforehand, owning a pet bird can be a very rewarding experience.

Make sure your pet bird is safe at all times. Don't let it out of its' cage unless you are certain it is safe. Don't leave windows and doors open, or let your pet bird near a hot stove or running ceiling fan. Toxic plants to birds include oleanders, azaleas, juniper, daffodils, philodendron and lily-of-the-valley. Healthy birds tolerate temperatures that are comfortable to humans, and will adapt to changes in humidity levels. One exception are birds that are native to a subtropical climate – they will appreciate increased humidity (steam from a running shower or frequent spraying of its feathers, etc.) Most pet birds enjoy lots of interaction with their human companions and will enjoy social times with you when they will sing – and some will even talk to you.


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