10 Bird Toys That Are Safe
When shopping for your bird, you’ll find so many types of bird toys —mirrors, ladders, swings and ropes—that the choices are almost overwhelming. Some of the bird toys might seem flimsy, making you wonder if your bird will break them on the first use.Other toys look like fun, but you remember that she hid from the last thirty-dollar toy you got her. So, how do you decide what to buy? How many bird toys does a bird really need, anyhow? Are all of those ropes and artificial colors safe?[Read More]
7 Ways to Help Prevent Your Pet Parrot From Becoming Bored
Image via iStock.com/WhitneyLewisPhotography By Paula FitzsimmonsIf you plan to live with a parrot, you’ll need to find ways to keep him occupied. “It is not natural for birds to do nothing at all. If they are not doing something ‘productive’ then they will find destructive behaviors to fill their time,” says Dr. Kenneth Welle , a clinical assistant professor at the College of Veterinary Medicine at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.Boredom and improper socialization of pet parro[Read More]
All About Budgerigars
By Vanessa Voltolina If you’ve ever marveled at a small, colorful, talkative pet bird, chances are it’s a budgerigar. Budgerigars, also known as parakeets or “budgies,” are the most popular type of caged parakeet. They tend to be very friendly, talkative birds, said Dr. Alicia McLaughlin, DVM, associate veterinarian at the Center for Bird and Exotic Animal Medicine in Bothell, WA. Unsure of what’s involved in caring for a budgie and how you can help it seamlessly make its way into your f[Read More]
All About Cockatiels
By Cheryl Lock With their vibrant colors, Mohawk-like hair and cheeky personalities, cockatiels can certainly make wonderful pets — but do you know enough about this bird breed to take one home and care for it? Despite their small stature, these birds require a lot of attention and maintenance, so it’s important to do your research before bringing home a cockatiel of your own.  Here’s what need to know about these beautiful birds to give your cockatiel the best life possible.[Read More]
All About Cockatoos
By Vanessa Voltolina Considering adding a new avian member to your family? You might be thinking about a cockatoo, as they are one of the most popular types of pet birds. While all birds have distinct personalities, there are some common threads that run through the history, behavior, temperament and care requirements of cockatoos. Here, find out what you need to know before you bring a cockatoo home.[Read More]
All About Finches and Canaries
By Laurie Hess, DVM, Dipl ABVP (Avian Practice) If you are looking for relatively quiet, fairly easy to care for bird that is beautiful to watch and may even sing, you should consider a canary or a finch. Canaries and finches belong to the order of birds called passerines that includes thousands of different species, including wild songbirds. The identifying feature of this group compared with other birds is the arrangement of their toes, with three pointing forward and one back, to facili[Read More]
All About Parrots
By Vanessa Voltolina While you may know them best from movies taking place on the high seas, parrots as pets are becoming increasingly popular, and may make good companions for the right owner. “Parrots are incredibly complex creatures,” said Jacqueline Johnson, manager of the Parrot Garden at Best Friends Animal Society in Utah. Unlike dogs and cats, parrots are wild animals, which means they come with a different set of responsibilities.As with any pet, prospective own[Read More]
Are You Ready to Adopt a Bird?
Reviewed and updated for accuracy on December 28, 2018 by Laurie Hess, DVM, DABVP (Avian) . Are you’re considering adopting a bird? If you are planning on making a commitment to a new pet bird, it is important to remember that they require the same level of commitment as a dog or cat. Their life expectancy is also a great deal longer than your average pet’s life span (an Amazon parrot can live up to 50 years).Here a few things that you need to consider or do before committing to adopt a b[Read More]
Bird Care 101
There’s more to getting a bird than simply buying a cage (although more on that below). Birds are delicate and complex creatures that need lots of loving care and attention to be happy and healthy. So don't be fooled, playing them Sesame Street to see their friend, Big Bird, or the film the Bird Cage doesn’t count for much.Like with any pet, research the breed before bringing it home. This way there’ll be no surprises. Important things to pay attention to: genetic health risks, size, and th[Read More]
Bird-Proofing Your Home 101: Everything You Need to Know
Reviewed for accuracy on April 19, 2019 by Laurie Hess, DVM, DABVP (Avian) Adopting a pet bird is exciting—you’re adding a new member to your family and gaining a lifetime companion. But before you bring home your new addition, you’ll need to make sure your home is a stimulating yet safe and appropriate environment for your pet bird.To keep your bird happy, you’ll want to provide plenty of “flighted time,” or time spent out of his cage while indoors, says Dr. Hess. Before you let yo[Read More]
Can People Have Ducks as Pets?
Have you ever seen some ducks swimming contentedly in a park pond and wondered to yourself whether you can keep ducks as pets? Well, you are not alone. More and more people are bringing ducks home to be part of their daily lives.If you think pet ducks might be the right fit for you, here are some tips for duck care and issues to consider before adopting a duck as a pet.[Read More]
Caring for an Orphaned Bird
By Diana BoccoIf you find a baby bird on the ground, your first instinct might be to pick it up and rush it to safety. But this isn't necessarily the best option, and it may even be illegal.“It is not a good idea to raise a baby bird, or any type of wildlife, yourself; in fact, it is illegal in many states,” says Isabel Luevano, center manager and former lead rehabilitation technician for the San Francisco Bay location of the International Bird Rescue organization. “Ideally, you wouldn't [Read More]
Caring for Your Bird
By Julie DohertyGiven their social nature, pet birds make great companions. Just like any pet, however, adequate time, money and knowledge are required for you to make the most out of your relationship with your pet bird.The first step requires looking before you leap, said bird veterinarian Dr. Patricia Latas, who has known birds who’ve suffered the consequences of being passed around to as many as 15 homes.“Birds are often purchased as gifts or on impulse and people have not researched [t[Read More]
Choosing Your First Bird
By Valerie TrumpsFledgling bird owners, so to speak, generally don’t have a clue as to what type of bird would be best for a novice. To help you choose the best beginner bird, get in touch with your inner avian by identifying the bird qualities you desire, the number of hours you are willing to put into your feathered friend, and the amount of money you want to spend. To make sure your bird ownership experience is a pleasant one, consider these factors when choosing your type of bird.Most [Read More]
Getting a Second Bird: What You Need to Know
By Dr. Laurie Hess, Dipl ABVP (Avian Practice)Birds can make great pets in the right situations. However, unlike pet cats and dogs who often enjoy the company of other animals, not all birds welcome other birds into their environments once they have been established there for a while. Some species of birds do well living in flocks, while others prefer to remain as solo birds in homes. Here are some things to keep in mind if you are thinking about getting a second bird.[Read More]
How Do I Train My Bird to Talk?
By Helen Anne TravisIn the wild, birds are agile communicators. They use unique sounds to identify and bond with their flock. Their advanced communication skills help flock mates stay in touch while migrating over oceans, hunting in dense forests and scanning the sky for predators.Considering how important “talking” is to birds’ survival in the wild, it’s perhaps no surprise that when we take them on as pets, they want to communicate with us, too.“Birds hear people making these noises to ea[Read More]
How Long Do Birds Live?
By Laurie Hess, DVM, Dipl ABVP (Avian Practice) Birds are very popular pets, as they are beautiful, entertaining and often long-lived. The most common family of birds kept as pets are parrots, or hookbills, that include tropical and subtropical birds form the order known as Psittaciformes . Parrots include several different species that originate from all over the world. The most commonly kept pet parrots include macaws, budgerigars (or budgies), cockatoos, cockatiels, Amazon parrots, and[Read More]
How to Clip a Bird’s Wings
By Laurie Hess, DVM, Diplomate ABVP (Avian Practice) Note: Before attempting to clip a bird’s wings, an owner should be sure to have a wing trimming lesson from an experienced trimmer, such as a veterinary professional, bird trainer, or breeder. Like human hair and pet fur, bird feathers are shed and regrown regularly. Birds lose their feathers in an orderly, sequential process, rather than all at once, so that in the wild, they are never rendered flightless and subject to predation.The f[Read More]
How To Feed A Bird Properly
Many people would complete a discussion on how to feed a bird with just one word: seeds. Perhaps some would sum it up in three words: seeds with pellets.However, ask any veterinarian who regularly treats sick birds, and you are likely going to get a much more complex answer.We often think of birds eating seeds, in part, because that is what we put in our  bird feeders .  Plus, birds like seeds, right?Let’s take a look at what wild birds eat, and how their diet is different from wh[Read More]
How to Help an Injured Bird
By Julie DohertyMany an animal lover has crossed paths with an injured bird that appears to be in pain and is suffering. Despite the very best intentions, rescuers are often at a loss for the best way to handle the situation and can even end up doing more harm than good. Here are some action steps for getting the bird the care it needs.[Read More]
How to Set Up the Perfect Bird Cage
Image via Natalia Johnson/Shutterstock.com By Julie GallagherTaking into consideration that birds require a lifelong commitment (many live 40-plus years!), potential bird owners should carefully consider where their new pet should live well before bringing it home. Whether you’re contemplating an individual cage or enclosure, mulling over granting free range in a room, or considering a combination of the two, a clean and well-maintained living space can set the stage for the health and hap[Read More]
How to Shoulder Train Your Bird
by Vanessa Voltolina LaBueWhether you’re an enthusiast or a newbie to the avian world, you likely know the fun in letting your bird hang around outside of its cage. However, letting your flying friend out requires some training and boundaries—for both bird and owner!Many owners ask about the best way to teach a bird to sit on their shoulder and behave while it’s there. Here, we have the experts weigh in on the dos and don’ts of working with your bird out of its cage.[Read More]
How to Stock a First Aid Kit to Care for Injured Pet Birds
You’ve owned your African grey parrot for 18 years now and never had an emergency; all of your veterinary care has been on an “as planned” basis.But here you are on a Saturday evening—with the nearest avian emergency clinic almost two hours away—and your bird has broken a blood feather. With a little training and a good first aid kit stocked with the right bird care supplies, you can do a lot to stabilize your feathered friend until he can be seen by a veterinarian.But before making su[Read More]
How to Teach an Old Bird New 'Tricks'
 Parrots can live a very long time, some up to 70 years or more. That’s a long time to do the same thing, day in, day out -- even if it does have a big cage with a nice view. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to help your bird alleviate any potential boredom, and one of those things is to teach it new "tricks."Since parrots are highly intelligent creatures, they love to learn. All you need are a few tips and you’re good to go. Patience This is one of those virtues you'll ne[Read More]
How to Tell if Your Bird is Unhappy or Stressed – And What to Do
By Laurie Hess, DVM, Diplomate ABVP (Avian Practice)While it is often difficult for bird owners to tell whether their pet is sick, as birds commonly hide signs of illness, it is even harder for most bird owners to tell if their pets are unhappy or stressed. Birds can certainly feel these emotions and hide them until these feelings become so extreme that they are manifested either physically or behaviorally. Birds can express unhappiness and stress in several different ways.How can a bird ow[Read More]
How to Train a Baby Parrot: 10 Tips
A bird is one of the cleverest animals you can choose as a companion pet. That being the case, you want to make sure that your bird knows who is in charge (that would be you), and knows how to behave respectably in social situations. Most parrots can never be fully domesticated, always retaining a bit of their wild side. But with consistency and patience, you and your bird can happily coexist in the same "nest."Keep in mind, too, that some birds have very long lifespans, so the lessons you [Read More]
How to Train Birds Not to Bite
By Laurie Hess, DVM, Diplomate ABVP (Avian Practice)Like human babies, birds are very oral creatures. Parrots—also called hookbills—use their beaks to manipulate objects as well as to chew and crack open hard foods like nuts and seeds. They also use their beaks as appendages to help them climb onto surfaces.When climbing, birds will often reach out with their beaks first, grasp the surface they are climbing onto with their beaks, and then pull their bodies toward their beaks before sta[Read More]
How to Train Your Bird to Fetch and Other Fun Games
By Cheryl LockWhether you’ve lived with birds all your life or your new friend is your first feathered companion, you’ve likely noticed that most domesticated birds love to play. But even playtime needs structure.In general, birds can learn new behaviors relatively quickly, says Barbara Heidenreich , an animal training and behavior consultant who has been working with birds for 27 years. “However, what really makes a difference is the skill level of the trainer,” she added.“Animal training[Read More]
How to Trim Your Bird's Nails and Live to Tell the Tale
Some of the best things about having a bird for a pet is holding it on your hand, letting it hang out on your shoulders, even on your head, and listening to it chirp and chatter in your ear. Birds, like humans, have nails, and when their nails get too long the experience can be annoying, if not painful, when the bird digs its little nails into our skin. Fortunately, this is relatively easy to remedy, but you will need to plan ahead and have all of the tools necessary for the task.Prepare fo[Read More]
Hypoallergenic Bird Species
 Many people think pet dander is limited to furry animals, particularly those with long hair. So it could be frustrating to some would-be pet adoptees to learn, sometimes too late, that our avian friends also produce pet dander.People who have especially sensitive respiratory systems or suffer from asthma find out only after bringing a pet bird home that birds can trigger allergies, too. If you already suffer from allergies but would like to bring a feathered friend home, here are some[Read More]