I made this in hopes that people will wake up to the huge responsibility that is sharing your life with a parrot. It’s possible they will outlive you. What are your plans if/when they do?
We have people seeking out our rescue because a family member passed away and they are not prepared to take over the care of their bird.
In the absence of flockmates and actual mates (which they would have in the wild), birds often proceed to form strong emotional bonds with a particular person. Upon their passing, they may actually become vicious or neurotic, even resorting to self-mutilation/plucking. They suffer heart break just as we do.
This is why I cringe at photos of people with baby macaw, cockatoos, and amazons that are destined to be pets.
Please think of the needs of birds before you bring one into your home. They have many.
If you’re interested in sharing your life with a bird, you may ask yourself, “Which bird is right for me?” Taking a cue from RPGs, I compiled this list.
(In the future, I hope to make character sheets, complete with stats utilizing chubby bird art. If anyone from the Birblr Community has something to add or modify, please message me.)
All companion birds are capable of being noisy, destructive, needy, dramatic, sensitive, messy, bitey, and when you consider the purchase of toys, food, and vet bills, they can also be very expensive. Their life spans, time commitments, and tendency to self-mutilate, are also factored in.
LEVEL 80-99 Umbrella, Moluccan, and Sulfur Crested Cockatoos, Macaw, Amazon
You need a ton of Exp. before even considering taking them on. You’ll need a high tolerance for pain. There will likely be a time when a typically sweet bird may randomly take a chunk of flesh out of you, especially when they’re hormonal. Trust me, I’ve been bitten by a Cockatoo and an Amazon (that I regularly petsit). He’s my buddy, but he still chomps - he gets jealous when I give attention to the Severe Macaw. More to consider: Moluccan Cockatoos have one of the loudest scream of any land animal. They can scream up to 129 dB, anything over 120 dB is painful to human’s ears, and all of these guys are insanely loud which can piss off your neighbors.
They chew on doors, 2X4’s, TV’s … you. Again, it takes a highly experienced Bird Lover to take these guys on.
LEVEL 60-80 Goffin, Bare-Eyed, and Galah Cockatoos, African Grey, Severe Macaw, Eclectus
It would be best if you had experience with Lower Level Birds before approaching them or max out your wisdom with research. Be sure to consider time commitments and life spans. As with the Higher Level Birds, they can easily succumb to depression and plucking/self-mutilation if they’re not mentally and socially stimulated enough… and even with the best parront, they still can succumb.
At around 20 years old, I started my personal Bird Quest with a Dusky Conure. She started out as a Low Level, sweet, young, beeb, but when she hit maturity, she became a vocal, bitey brat that only loved being with my Dad. I moved out, and still love her, but she’s happiest living with my Dad. She is still loud af and a pinchy-beak, but happy.
I have fostered Conures, Quakers, Caiques, and Ringnecks, and have a rescued Blue Crown and a Finsch’s Conure in my own flock. My 2 beebs are hilarious, social, loving, and LOUD…so loud, but I adore them.
I’ve also concluded that Sun Conures are the loudest of Conures. That have a special ear-pearcing screech that can be rather unpleasant.
This group will also need toys to destroy and someone that’s willing to devote at least 3 hours a day to them or more. Some parrots don’t like toys. Pako preferred hanging out with people instead of playing with toys… also nail polish and paper towels offended him… those were the only times he would ever get into a bite-fit.
I’m not super familiar with Lorikeets as I’ve never fostered them, but based on birds of their size, youtube, and their special diet requirements, I feel they probably belong in this group.
I’ve fostered a few plucker Quakers, Conures, and Ringnecks and they all are pretty similar, although I’ve heard Ringnecks can hold a grudge if you go on vacation without them, but I’m sure they’re not the only ones capable of doing this.
LEVEL 15-30 Cockatiel, Lovebird, Parrotlet
These buddies are my specialty and I foster them often. They’re capable of bonding just as much as the larger birds, although sometimes they don’t want to… Miss Cockatiel hated me, then loved me. Sometimes they want head rubs, but only in this one spot, and this many… Birds can be fickle, but they can also be the best buddies ever. This group of birds can all draw blood, but are unlikely to take a huge chunk of flesh off you. They need attention from either you or another of their species (or in the case of Hilda the Lovebird, she’s partnered up with an English Budgie). They are small birds, but their personalities are anything but.
Lovebirds are notorious toe-biters due to cage aggression. Make sure no one is walking on their cage with them inside.
Parrotlets and Lovebirds will occasionally attack their cage mates. Parrotlets have been known to murder their cage mate. This can occur if they don’t have enough room, or if they feel that their mate is going to “cheat” on them with the presence of another parrotlet, or someone similar (even if that mate is only their reflection in a mirror). I don’t keep more than 2 bonded lovies to a cage and supervise them all during flutter time.
It is best for them to have a companion, be it you or another of their species. Some may be surprised that they are all capable of bonding and loving their human. Just because they might not want to bond with you, doesn’t mean they deserve any less love or care.
Mr. Kakapo the Linnie talks and Francis the English Budgie does, too. Make sure you and your neighbors don’t mind their chirps.
Their toys are cheaper but they will need to be switched out every once in awhile because they get bored with them. They’re called “starter birds” but they are still living, feeling, adorable beings that deserve annual vet visits and fresh food.
NEW: Doves/Pigeons aren’t known to attack and draw blood. They’re temperament is usually more mellow than hookbills, at least with all the ones I’ve delt with. I’ve never had a pigeon dive bomb me, but I’m sure they could if they wanted to. They would do best having an aviary which might add to their maintenance points.
Just like people, every bird is different. Their levels may fluctuate. Typically, the bigger the bird, the greater their needs, the greater their needs, the more money, more experience, more knowledge, more patience, more pain and noise tolerance, the more work it is to take care of them.
Even if you were to get these guys as babies, there’s no guarantee they’ll stay sweet after they reach maturity. Commit to love them either way.
Never forget, with the exception of most Low Level birds, these are wild animals. You ever see Rio? That’s probably what most of your birds’ parents or grandparents went through. Respect and cherish them.