Help me pick a pet bird!

I’ve been petless for quite a while now (my apartment rules disallow housing most pets) but I can get something that is small and relatively confined, i.e., reptiles, amphibians, fish, insects, birds, et al. I am more inclined to get a bird (or birds) and I’d like to get the opinions of bird-owning Dopers. Keeping in mind that I have limited space (I can’t build a full aviary, but I can get a fairly large cage), what kind of birds would you recommend? What size enclosure? Any particular brand of cage (the Hagen Vision cages look kinda neat to me)? Any additional things I should consider when buying a bird?

If you’re going to do a parrot of any kind, they like to greet the morning. Loudly & raucously. Plus they live a long time.

A Quaker parrot can often be quiet, or a Senegal…

Try a canary, maybe? If you can get a male, and make him happy, they sing really pretty.

Ultra-stupid: finches. As long as you dn’t mind hearing “Beep! Beep-beep! Beep!” all day and night.

I say no lovebirds, they have bad attitudes and scream a LOT.

Parakeets will compete with your TV & radio.

What size are you looking for?

Yes. Og, Yes! And the birds outside as well.

I’m pet sitting my childrens’ parakeets and if I wasn’t up very early every morning anyway, I’d have strangled the little feathered bastards by now.

I read your thread and laughed heartily at you. :smiley: And the louder you turn up your TV, the louder they get!

Yeah, I think I would want something a bit less noisy…so no parakeets for me.

Funny that you gave the thumbs-down to finches, Anaamika: I’ve had a couple of people tell me that finches might actually be ideal for me. Is it mostly their chirping that you don’t like, or is there something about their temperament or behavior that you dislike?

I am looking for smaller birds, probably.

Finches weren’t a thumbs-down, just a warning that they’re very stupid. They don’t really play with toys. But they’re very cute, so I don’t see why not! And for them, a small cage will do. Plus I recommend getting two so they can comfort each other.

Ah, so you meant “stupid” as in “not very bright” as opposed to “lame choice for a pet”…got it. Are canaries much smarter?

So given my preferences, my best choice would be canaries or, if I don’t mind taking care of special-needs birds, finches? I’d probably be getting 2 or 3 of them, whether it’s canaries or finches…

Special-needs birds made me laugh out loud.

Do NOT get more than one canary! You want him to love you, and think of *you * as his flock, or he won’t sing for you and will only sing for his girlfriend (if he has one). You want him to think of *you * as his mate.

Finches are better in pairs.

You can always get quails for rock-stupid, plus they don’t make much noise. But, dear Og, they’re so cute.

I kind of dispute that, even though you are probably right.

We had Elsje the Zebra Finch for years and years.First we had two finches which we were assured by the pet shop guy were a male and a female. They started fighting until one of them died out of sheer misery. Then we got the abovementioned Elsje who really was a female. We all felt sorry for the little girl for having to live with the big male murderer. Within a month she had bullied the boyfriend to death. :eek:

Anyway, we were by then fed up and let her live on her own. She seemed happy enough. We let her fly around the room and she always came back to the cage by herself. She made some very cute nests with eggs as well, though nothing came of them of course.

As you might have guessed by now, I really liked that finch but she was my one and only pet as a kid so I am probably biased. Anaamika is right that they aren’t too bright. They won’t sing or do tricks or talk or anything except go “meep” and be generally birdlike. I think they’re charming, though.

I had a finch that sang at 9 am every morning (or at least every morning I was there at that time) until the day he died. No meeping, really, that I can recall, though it’s been awhile since I’ve had them.

They are colony birds, so in general they are supposed to like and want to live together - don’t know why PookahMacPhellimey’s birds did what they did.

Do you want the bird to interact with you, or just be pretty and sing? Because birds like canaries and finches will do the latter, and the birds in the parrot family will be more likely to want to interact with you.

I wouldn’t recommend a large parrot for an apartment, or if you are going to be out of the house a lot, though. They want and need company, they live forever and they are LOUD LOUD LOUD. However, something like a cockatiel, parakeet, or budgie might work for you.

I miss having birds …

Also, if you get finches, get a same sex pair or trio. Although it is very rare that birds will breed without an aviary (at least, according to the finch book I got), I still ended up with three birds instead of two. They never had more than that, but I had to get a bigger cage for the three of them.

I had zebra finches, and they are pretty dumb. The grown ones never learned to not be afraid of me, though the one hatched at my house was much better. They are loud, but I liked their tweeting. My roommate had a parakeet, and it’s noises were much worse and far more screechy.

My one did but that took about seven years* and I think she might just have been to old and confused to figure out she was sitting on my shoulder.

She did manage to scare many a visitor by flying low overhead unexpectedly.

*A good time for a word of warning. These birdies can last a good while so make sure you really want them.

I’m partial to the finch. They’re very small, very pretty, and you can fit three comfortably in an average sized cage. They come in assorted colors. The ones I had were beautiful browns and beiges, but you can go bright with these guys if your birdseller carries them.

My mother had three different budgies at different times. One was indifferent, one was hostile, but one was completely friendly and adorable. I was skeptical about birds learning to say words, but this one did. He would imitate all your whistles and noises, and he remembered which person had which whistle and would repeat it back to them, and even call them when they walked in the room. If you put your finger out, he’d fly from wherever he was and land on it. He’d fly down onto the carpet, walk over to me where I sat on the sofa, climb up on my pant leg, and walk up to my chest and want me to scratch his head with my fingertip (very lightly, I might add), and he loved it. We had him for a couple of years. Then one day, a cat sneaked into the house (no one knows how), and when the bird flew down to the carpet, the cat rushed out from under the sofa and had him for lunch.

Barring a cat invasion, if you got the right budgie, one who is finger-trained and used to people, you could have a very nice pet for quite awhile.

Me too. You know that bird show on TV? Well, his store is downstate, and we went there last year. Hmm. Maybe I should have started a thread about it, it was so interesting. But anyway, everything was so cute…he had all babies that time…and I wanted everything.

I wanted to live there. :frowning:

If you’re lucky, you can get brachyrhynchos in here to answer your question. However, I will give my $.02.

Birds can be very difficult pets. In addition, the very cool birds, like parrots, live a long, long time. However, that said, if you’re looking for a bird, and determined to get one, I suggest you take a look at the classifieds on which has a lot of birds that people are looking to adopt out, including some very expensive species.

If nothing else, you can feel better about giving an unwanted pet a home.

I had a budgie that I loved deeply. He was very sweet and cherped rather than screetching, except when the bunnies were fighting - then he could let out a really high pitched, freeky sounding screetch that would get them to stop. I’m not kidding.

He was very friendly and smart - he learned to say his name (Sammy) but then one of the bunnies died, and I think he died of heart break. (He died about a week after - it was a bad time in the Wonderland household).

I often think about getting another, but he did make a helluva big mess with his feathers and seeds everywhere. You might want to keep that in mind.

For the mess, look for a cage with an apron, if you can.

Also, I have covered one side of the cage - the side facing the wall, for example. It doesn’t fix it all, but it does cut down a little.

Note: you canNOT do that with a parrot! They are intelligent and inquisitive and may pull whatever you cover it with inside a cage.

One more thing. When you get a bird, be careful of candles, and any other scents and burning stuff. Their respiration is much more fragile than ours. Mostly this applies to parrots (you’re not even supposed to use Teflon around parrots) but still, just be careful.

How about a Norwegian Blue?

We have five cockatiels in our condo. They are quite smart and don’t make much noise. They also like to chew on plastic things so we have to make sure they’re away from electrical cords when they’re out. Most cockatiels don’t mind being handled by strangers.

If you’re the sort who has lots of visitors, stay away from Quakers. They are definitely one-person birds and have been known to attack anyone they see as an “intruder”.