Research breeds before buying a bird
Question: My children are intent on getting a bird. Any thoughts on what we should think about before making one a part of the family?
Answer: Some of the major considerations are habitat size, level of noise and time that families can share.
Keep in mind that beauty is only feather deep, and picking a bird based on looks can lead to relationship problems once you're under the same roof. Birds vary in behavioral tendencies so a little research goes a long way. Breed can influence type and level of vocalization, environmental needs and ease of handling.
For example, finches and canaries often are found in a variety of colors and can be inexpensive. But many people find they move too swiftly to be easily tamed and are quite delicate to handle.
Parakeets and cockatiels are affectionate, intelligent and can learn to talk. They can be tamed easily. It's important to note that they can live 15 to 20 years, and despite their diminutive size as compared with a parrot, their high-pitched chirp could be considered shrill to you and your neighbors.
Larger birds such as the Amazon and African parrot species need plenty of room to climb. They are popular as pets because of their ability to mimic sounds, especially human voices. Proven life spans indicate that these birds can live 30 or 40 years. When their needs for nutrition, space and security are met, they can make well-adjusted pets.
Q: If they live that long, this is a major decision, right?
A: Owning a bird is a lifelong commitment, and a bird's needs can be as many or more than those of a cat or dog. Birds require a significant investment in time, companionship and money to ensure proper diet, veterinary care and an appropriate aviary.
For all these reasons, these loving winged creatures are recommended as pets only for families who are really ready to care for them.
The Hawaiian Humane Society frequently has birds for adoption.
The Hawaiian Humane Society welcomes questions by e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org
. Indicate "Pet Ohana" in the subject line. Or, write "Pet Ohana," Hawaiian Humane Society, 2700 Waialae Ave., Honolulu 96826.