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Choosing the Right Bird for You

By: Dr. Don Harris

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Exotic birds are delightful pets, as evidenced by their current popularity in the market. But the difference between a satisfied owner and a disappointed one is education: To get what you want you have to know what you want to begin with. Many potential owners have expectations that cannot possibly be fulfilled by the species they acquire.

Reasons to Choose a Bird

  • Appearance
  • Speaking ability
  • Natural vocalization (song)
  • Intelligence
  • Social attributes
  • Small size
  • Low maintenance
  • Cleanliness

    Rarely will one bird fit more than a few of the above criteria. An individual may acquire a bird because of his personality, expecting him to speak, only to realize that this particular species never talks. Others may discover – too late – that a large, colorful macaw is also a large, intolerably noisy bird.

    The best way to obtain the "perfect" pet is to determine first which qualities are most important to you, then shop for the bird that fits those criteria. Finally, the chosen species should be researched thoroughly to make sure it possesses no undesirable traits.

    Which Species Is Right for You?

  • Appearance (finches, macaws, eclectus, lories, toucans)
  • Speaking ability (African grey, Amazon, Mynah)
  • Natural vocalization (canary, cockatiel)
  • Intelligence (African grey)
  • Social attributes (cockatoo, budgie, cockatiel)
  • Small size (canary, finch, budgie, lovebird, cockatiel)
  • Low maintenance (Amazon and smaller)
  • Cleanliness (most smaller species)
  • Loud (macaws, cockatoos)
  • Messy (macaws, Mynahs, toucans)
  • Aggressive (female eclectus, male Amazons)

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