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July- So Many Choices! Which is best for me? (Part One)
Posted:7/1/2008 12:00:00 AM

There are so many different types of companion birds.....it is quite a chore to decide which one fits your life style, budget and time commitment. I decided to dedicate this month and the next couple months to giving an informative overview of several species.

In addition, we are always asked where specific birds originate ... so I will begin by identifying some of the different ones...Hope you find this helpful and informative.

Most birds are not native to the United States. The Wild Bird Conservation Act of 1992, prohibited the importing of birds to this country. If your pet is more than 10 years old there is a possibility that he was 'wild caught.'

Peach faced lovebirds, Senegal Parrots and African Grey Parrots are from Africa.
Indian Ring-necked Parakeets are from Africa and Asia.
Canaries come from the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa.
Budgerigars, Cockatiels, some Cockatoos are from Australia.
Zebra Finches come from Australia and the East Indies.
Amazons originate in Central America and Mexico.
Eclectus Parrots and the Moluccan Cockatoo are from the East Indies.
South America is the 'home' to many....Sun Conures, Quaker Parakeets, Blue and Gold Macaws, as well as Greenwinged Macaws, White Bellied and Black Headed Caiques, Pionus species and Pacific Parrolets. This list is not all inclusive....there are many others. I have chosen these because they are the more popular pets.

Now for some specifics.

  • ZEBRA FINCHES - Finches need plenty of 'flying' space....don't think that because they are so tiny a small cage will suffice. Not true....these active, bouncy little guys love to fly and exercise. They are very peaceful and usually get 'pushed around' by the more aggressive finches. Zebra Finches are very social and make a charming little 'beep beep' sound.....These birds are perfect for the person who doesn't have a large amount of time to spend....they do not require human interaction. They do require daily cleaning, fresh water and seed and fresh food....parsley, kale, hard boiled eggs, cucumbers etc. As an owner, you will need to give the same care and consideration to your finches as you would give to a larger bird.
  • CANARIES-Males sing, females do not....yellow is the most common color but canaries can be purchased in many variations of white, grey, brown etc. If you buy a mate for your singing male, expect the singing to lessen a bit....he will be more interested in breeding than singing! (typical male) Canaries don't like to be handled so they are very similar to the finches in this respect. I have been told by canary experts that they like music...and even have a tendency to sing more when music is in the home. These wonderful birds need care and consideration also, as well as fresh seeds, water and greens. Song food is a must for the males. ******* The American Singer was developed in the U.S. in the 1930s.
  • BUDGIES - American Budgie (parakeet) or English Budgie?.....What is the difference? English Budgies are larger and were originally bred for show and exibition.American Budgies or parakeets are smaller. Males talk better than the females and have a blue 'cere' above the beak. Very chatty and very busy.....they love to play with toys as well as with their owners. These birds require human interaction and are very intelligent and affectionate. Their cage should be roomy and have toys for playtime. Their care requires daily cage and perch cleaning and fresh seeds, water, veggies and fruits. Soft cooked rice, noodles and pasta served warm is greatly appreciated. Sometimes, unfortunately, due to size and price, owners do not want to spend the time nor the money on veterinary care if it is necessary. These little birds need the same medical care and respect as their larger more expensive counterparts.
  • LOVEBIRDS-Peach faced lovebirds are the most common type. Lovebirds come in many colors....also called mutations....greens, blues, whites, pieds,etc. They are only about 6 inches long at full growth. These birds are fun to be around, love interacting with their owners but can be a bit nippy at times. If you want a pet to cuddle and hold...only keep one lovebird. Two in a cage usually ends up with them bonding with each other and not with you. You know the saying, "two is company but three is a crowd," unfortunately you become the 'crowd'! These cuties don't talk but love to chatter. They are very aggressive with other birds.....doesn't make any difference about the size of the other bird....they will 'take on' all comers! Sometimes sweet, sometimes snippy.....always adorable.
  • COCKATIELS- The almost 'perfect' companion. Sweet, pretty, intelligent and affordable. These birds require a large cage, daily attention to cleaning, fresh veggies, seeds and water. The males are usually talkative, love to whistle and play. The females whistle and some can talk, but normally not as well as the male. Cockatiels love to be handled and included as part of the family. They love to eat seed which causes them to become a tad 'porky.' So it is important to balance their diet with plenty of veggies and limit the fatty seeds such as millet and sunflower seeds. Very simple to 'read'....If the topknot is 'up' they are happy and excited...if the topknot is flat to the head and you hear a 'hissing' they are probably angry and/or scared. A wonderful pet for the whole family.
  • SUN CONURES - What a beauty....bright yellow and orange! Playful, affectionate and quite a 'cuddle bug .' Unfortunately, Sun Conures have two bad habits....they are quite vocal.....and persistent! Actually they are extremely loud! They are also quite destructive. They couldn't care less if you are on the phone, watching TV or quietly reading the paper. When they want attention, they want it NOW! They also have difficulty discriminating between their toys and your chair, their toys and your watch or their toys and your earrings. These faults can be easily controlled with consistent, firm discipline. Their diet need to be nutritious and varied. They love papaya and other dried fruits. Fresh fruits and veggies are a must. We will be quite happy to help you learn to live in harmony with this wonderful pet.

I will stop here for now.....next month we will look at Quaker Parakeets, Indian Ring-necked Parakeets, (we have three beautiful blue babies in the store) Senegal Parrots, African Greys and the Eclectus. Later on we will talk about the Blue and Gold and Greenwinged Macaws, Caiques and the Pionus. If I don't get too windy, we might investigate the Conure family also.

Have a peaceful July,
anne

 


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