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Beginner's Guide to Birds

Introduction to Keeping Pet Birds

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Lesser Sulfur Crested Cockatoo

Lesser Sulfur Crested Cockatoo

Lianne McLeod
Birds come in an amazing variety of shapes, colors and personalities. Finding the right bird is essential to having a happy relationship with your pet bird. Some birds need a vast amount of attention and work, especially larger parrots, but even small parrots need a lot of love and attention in order to be happy.

Many people are drawn to parrots such as amazons, african greys, cockatoos and macaws as they are gorgeous birds that are very trainable. Greys and amazons are coveted for their talking abilities. However, these very trainable birds are also the most challenging and most demanding as pets. If you are interested in a parrot, it is extremely important to examine your motivation for getting a pet bird, along with your ability to commit to hard work needed to successfully live with one of these demanding birds over the long haul (most are very long-lived).

That said, birds certainly have the potential to be wonderful companions. As with any pet, find out as much as you can about birds you might be considering before making the huge commitment to bird ownership. Beginners who do not have a lot of time to spend with a pet bird should consider species such as canaries or finches. Those with a bit more time an an interest in parrots could consider budgies or cockatiels, which are smaller members of the parrot family but which are friendly, relatively quiet and easy to tame (look for a young bird). Other members of the parrot family which might be considered by beginners include lovebirds, pionus parrots, poicephalus parrots, parrotlets, quaker parrots and grey cheeked parakeets. And while doves and pigeons are often overlooked as pets, they can make quite good companions as they are quite and sociable.

Choosing a Bird
Some things you need to consider when choosing a bird as a pet.

Finding a Bird
What to consider when deciding where to purchase a bird, and what to look for in a healthy bird.

Before You Buy a Bird Cage
The most important thing is the size of the cage - and larger is always better. However, there are many other aspects of cage design and safety to consider.

Parrot Nutrition 101
Before you get a bird, you must realize that packaged seeds are not an adequate diet. Get the basics of parrot nutritional needs here.

Top 10 Household Hazards for Birds
Many seemingly innocent items in our homes can be quite dangerous to birds.

Bird Toy Safety
Pet birds generally like to have a variety of toys, but depending on your bird some of the toys available may not be safe. Here are tips on what to avoid and how to choose appropriate toys for your pet bird.

Basic Training for Parrots
Pet parrot handling will be easier once you teach a couple of basic commands. Tips on what to teach and the steps involved.

Pet Bird Profiles

A Word of Caution - Psittacosis is a potentially serious disease of pet birds, and it can be transmitted to humans. The risk are not great, but it is best to be aware of it. Find out more about Psittacosis (parrot fever) here.

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