Owning a pet bird can bring a delightful blend of companionship, color, and entertainment into your life. These winged creatures are not only beautiful and smart, but their playful antics can brighten any home. However, like any pet, consideration of the pros and cons of owning a pet bird should be examined.
From the joy of forming strong bonds to the responsibility of meeting complex needs, the journey of sharing your world with a pet bird is marked by numerous considerations. Let’s explore the intricacies of this unique and rewarding pet ownership experience.
Pros of Owning a Pet Bird
Owning a pet bird comes with a host of benefits that enrich daily life. These avian companions offer a colorful tapestry of positive experiences, from their vibrant plumage to their endearing behaviors. Here are some of the pros of owning a pet bird.
A pet bird can be a loving companion, offering a comforting presence and unique charm. Their cheerful chirps (or words) and interactive nature create a special relationship that can bring joy to your days. Pet birds can be great company, too, offering an ear to listen and comfort during trying times. As you nurture the bond with your avian friend, the connection between you both can be one of the strongest between owner and pet. You become part of their flock, and they become part of your family. It’s hard to be lonely with them around.
A pet bird isn’t just a companion, they are a lively source of entertainment. From their playful antics to their knack for mimicry, conversation, and sense of humor, they keep you endlessly amused. Birds have a curious nature and are known to do unexpected things, ensuring you never have a dull moment. Whether it’s their comical dances, charming vocalizations, or the tricks they play, your feathered friend can turn an ordinary day into a delightful one.
A unique aspect of pet birds is their longevity. Unlike many other pets, several bird species have the potential to share your life for decades. Their extended lifespan offers the opportunity for long-lasting companionship, giving you the opportunity to truly bond. Some parrots can live half a century or more, while even little finches can live up to 14 years, making them a staple in your home.
Bringing a dog into your home, as millions of people do every year, means adding walks to your day. That can be great on nice days, but rain and snow can turn that prospect into a chore. With a pet bird, you don’t have to worry about going for walks or taking them to the park. All the entertainment and socialization they need is right there in your home.
Low space requirements
If you decide to get a large parrot like a macaw, an African grey, or a cockatoo, their cage will be a decent size. But smaller birds like conures, finches, and budgies don’t require a large amount of space, making them great options for apartments and quaint homes. But even if you choose to get a larger bird, a cage can fit nicely in the corner of the room without taking up too much floor space.
Cons of Owning a Pet Bird
The pluses list of owning a pet bird is long, but there’s another side to the coin. Like with any pet, bringing an avian friend into your home comes with certain challenges, and prospective owners must take those into consideration too. From potential noise disruptions to the commitment to long-term care, understanding the potential drawbacks of owning a bird can help you make a well-informed decision.
Time and attention
Pet birds thrive on time and attention, demanding a participation investment of your time — often a lot of time. Regular social interaction, mental stimulation, and training sessions are vital for their well-being. Neglecting these needs can lead to behavioral issues and a decline in their overall health. While pet birds bring a charm and presence to a person’s life that can be rewarding, potential bird owners should be prepared to dedicate significant time to ensure a fulfilling and enriching relationship with their feathered companions.
Traveling can be a challenge if you own a pet bird, as they are considered exotic animals, and finding proper care is difficult. Not every caregiver knows how to take care of members of the avian family, so that’s an extra thing you have to manage when going on vacation. Special accommodations for your bird will also be an additional expense when you go away.
If you want to take your feathered friend with you, that’s definitely possible, but that presents another challenge — accommodations. Many pet-friendly hotels allow dogs and maybe cats, but birds are a whole different story. Just because the place you want to stay says they accept pets doesn’t mean they will accept your pet bird, no matter how cute they are. Finding a place that accepts birds can take some time and will be an additional cost.
Mess and noise
No matter what kind of pet you bring into your home, mess and noise will always be somewhat of an issue. Pet birds are no different. Generally, the bigger the bird, the bigger the mess. These winged companions love to fling seed around and splash in their water, and their poo can be tough to manage. That said, the mess is generally contained around their cage and play area, so maintenance could be less than some other pets.
Noise is another issue. Some pet birds like macaws, African greys, Amazon parrots, and cockatoos can scream pretty loudly. If you have neighbors close by, that might be a problem. Plus, it can be an issue if you work at home or have little ones who take naps. So, that’s something to keep in mind.
Vet costs and availability
Veterinary care is expensive no matter what type of animal you have, so that would likely make the con list for any species. The bigger issue here is the availability of an avian vet in your area. Not every veterinarian has the expertise to care for a pet bird on a routine or emergency visit. In fact, many offices don’t see exotic pets at all.
Before bringing a pet bird into your home, be sure you already have an avian vet that you trust lined up. And it wouldn’t hurt to ask them for a general list of services and costs ahead of time so you can prepare.
While the internet can be a wealth of knowledge for a lot of things, the one area it lacks a bit is how to care for exotic pets. Whether you bring a bird, lizard, ferret, or something other than a dog or a cat, much of the information you’ll find can be pretty unreliable — unless you know exactly where to look.
That fact can be stress-inducing if there’s a problem after vet hours and you’re just trying to get answers. Instead of panic searching during an emergency, gather resources like books and pamphlets from your vet ahead of time so you have all the information you need.
I know, long lifespan was on the pros list too, and it is a pro. However, some could also see that as a negative as well, especially because some pet birds can live for 50 to 80 years. That’s a long commitment. Before bringing a feathered companion into your home, be sure you know what you’re getting yourself into time-wise.
Having a pet bird in your life is like diving into an interesting, playful, and fun adventure. Their lively companionship and silly antics will surely add joy to your life and allow you to create a special bond to cherish. But welcoming an avian pet into your family isn’t all sunshine and roses. As with any other pet, there are challenges to owning a pet bird. Weighing the pros and cons before heading into your feathered venture is the smartest and most responsible way to make a good decision about whether owning a bird is right for you.
Kim is an avid bird watcher and owner in South Carolina. She loves identifying, studying, and feeding her feathered friends in their natural habitats. She also has first-hand experience as the owner of several species of exotic birds.