I have heard parrots described as toddlers with a can opener on their face. This may make you laugh, as it still makes me chuckle, but it happens to be the truth. While birds are intelligent, some as smart as toddlers, they also share the same emotional development. Unlike toddlers, birds are another species entirely and their body language is not always easy for us to read.
So before you make an impulse purchase at Petco to save that sad looking conure who keeps crooning at you, read up on what you are in for! Most species can live 30+ years and up to 80 for larger parrots like Macaws. Many people do not put themselves in the bird’s shoes, to think about what that means.
This means the new bird you are considering adding to your flock is probably going to out live you. And it is going to scream every day for the rest of your life. And throw food. And chew things. Poop everywhere. And scream some more.
Now, this is not to say that birds can not make great pets; after all, I have birds myself! But it is a very large commitment to make, and not at all fair to the bird if we are not willing to do our research and end up rehoming them as a result.
So, if you think you have the time, patience, and interest to learn about birds and share your life with one, in sickness and in health, then by all means go to your local shelter and meet some homeless birds!
With more than 11 million birds in homes today and shelters everywhere taking them in, we owe it to this beautiful, intelligent animal to do our homework, and make sure we are ready to commit to them for a lifetime.
In the end, you will be rewarded with the coolest pet around: a feathered flying dinosaur to share your life with!