My favorite podcast is playing as I clean my room, a comedy podcast that distracts me from the endless mess I’m trying to work my way through. Above me, a cockatiel is happily chirping and tossing empty seed casings at me. It’s time for me to take a break, so I stop the podcast and go next door to a room currently functioning as Loud Bird Prison.
I’m greeted by many screaming calls from one tiny, little, brightly colored body as I carry his cage back to the room we share. This is a ritual we go through any time I want to listen to my podcasts while cleaning, as my sweet baby bird does not like that podcast at all and will very loudly protest it any time he hears it.
Once he is re-settled in the room, I leave to listen to the rest of the podcast while doing chores in other areas of the house. I can still hear my conure screaming gleefully from my room, and it’s a comfort to me to know he’s being his usual, loud self.
I’ve lived with my precious conure for seven years now. We know each other well. He bites, he screams, he wakes me up when the sun comes up, and he personally turns his water into a disgusting sludge every time I refill his food dish. He is a lot of work. The day I met him he bit my finger hard enough to draw blood, and that was before I’d even decided to bring him home. I love him, and I knew what I was getting into when I decided to get a bird, but many birds end up living with people who aren’t prepared for these realities. So if you’re on the fence about a bird, here’s some advice that should really be taken to heart.
First, think about why you are getting a bird. Is it to have a cool unique pet?
Is it because you saw one on TV that could talk? Is it because the feathers are pretty? Is it because you want to teach something to mimic you? Are you just tired of dogs and cats and want something to impress your friends and coworkers? If any of those reasons apply to you, then DO NOT get a bird! They are hard to train, and some may never learn to talk, and they are loud and demanding and could suffer severe mental health issues if they aren’t given the attention they need! Birds are often bought because someone saw a trained bird on television or one acting in a film or elsewhere in media and thought that kind of behavior was the norm for the bird. When faced with the realities of bird behavior and training, many birds bought on a whim end up homeless, and parrot shelters fill up fast.
So how can this be avoided? If you’re really interested in getting a bird, do your research. Do it well, and get multiple narratives on what to expect from the bird you’re interested in. Make sure you know what species you want and how much care and space they need and be prepared for a loud alarm clock that might go off when you listen to your favorite podcast. If you’re really feeling up to it, check out local shelters for birds that may be in desperate need of a home, and talk to the provider of your new best friend to see what they’re like, and make sure they aren’t there due to trafficking.
Best of luck!