Dogs, cats, fish, and birds – yes, parrots are America’s fourth most popular pet. It’s estimated that 14 million birds live in captivity in the US, most of them parrots. And with their beautiful colors and often amusing personalities, it’s easy to see why they come in as the fourth most popular pet. And on September 17, we celebrate Parrots and National Bird Day! But parrots can be demanding friends.
The long-lived, intelligent, and highly social birds need a lot of attention and enrichment, without which they can become stressed and bored. A bored parrot will find ways to entertain themselves – from plucking their feathers, to biting, and destroying things in the house. Without the proper attention and care, parrots develop bad habits that are hard to live with. However, given the proper care, they make amazing companions.
National Pet Bird Day celebrates the special bond between humans and birds – both domesticated and wild birds, on September 17. If you have a pet bird, you probably already know the joy and challenges of being their caregiver. But if you are new to living with birds, there are a few things to consider before you bring a parrot into your home.
A Parrot’s Lifespan
One of the most significant aspects to comprehend before adopting a parrot is their lifespan. Parrots are known to live for a long time. Depending on the species, they can live anywhere from 20 to 80 years. This longevity is a considerable commitment, and potential bird owners should be prepared for the responsibility of caring for their parrot for several decades and include them in their estate planning.
A Parrots Noise Level
Parrots, especially certain species like African Greys and Cockatoos, can be quite noisy. Their vocal abilities allow them to imitate human speech, make loud calls, and create various sounds. If you live in an apartment or have noise-sensitive neighbors, it is essential to consider this aspect before bringing a parrot into your home. Their vocalizations can sometimes be disruptive, especially if they become bored or lonely.
A Parrot’s Potential for Biting
It is crucial to understand that parrots are capable of biting. This behavior may occur due to various reasons like fear, aggression, or feeling threatened. While not all parrots bite, being prepared for the possibility is essential. Owners should invest time in learning about parrot behavior and body language to minimize the risk of bites. Patience, consistent training, and building trust can significantly reduce the occurrence of biting.
Parrot-Proofing your Home
Parrots are naturally curious and intelligent creatures, often attracted to shiny objects or items they can chew on. Parrot-proofing your home is vital to ensure their safety. Avoid using Teflon-coated pans, as their fumes can be toxic to parrots. Similarly, scented candles, air fresheners, and other aromatic products should be avoided, as birds have sensitive respiratory systems. Being cautious about open windows or other potential hazards is also crucial in creating a safe and stimulating environment for your pet.
A Parrot’s Diet
A well-balanced diet is vital for your parrot’s overall health and well-being. A variety of fresh, organic fruits, vegetables, and high-quality pellets should be the staple of their diet. Protein sources like cooked chicken, beans, or tofu should also be included. Avoid feeding parrots avocados, chocolate, caffeine, alcohol, and excessive amounts of salt or sugar. Consulting with an avian veterinarian or a knowledgeable bird specialist can provide further guidance on proper nutrition for your parrot.
Avian Veterinary Care
Similar to any other pet, regular veterinary care is essential for parrots. These exotic birds have specialized health needs, and it is vital to find a qualified avian veterinarian knowledgeable about bird-specific medical issues. Regular check-ups, vaccinations, and appropriate preventive care can help identify and address any potential health issues before they become serious.
Living with a parrot can be a rewarding experience, but it requires knowledge, patience, and commitment. Understanding your parrot’s needs and providing a stimulating, loving home will ensure a healthy and happy life for both you and your feathered friend.