The two-legged species known as humans are the proud "parents" of all different types of animals: dogs, cats, turtles, lizards, hamsters, ferrets and even horses. So, why not birds? Have you ever wondered what would happen if you decided to raise and love a parakeet or a canary? Would it be strange to hear your parents tell you to "walk the bird"? What would you feed it? How long does it live? Is it friendly? Did you know birds are the third most popular choice of pets in America, after dogs and cats?
Every year, the President of the United States pardons one very lucky turkey, allowing the relieved and grateful fellow to enjoy his holiday not on someone's dinner plate. Now, just because the Commander in Chief grants one lucky turkey his freedom, it doesn't mean the gobbler gets to spend the rest of his life in the White House. While birds make great pets, think long and hard before you decide to adopt an eagle or toucan.
First of all, turkeys should be raised in farm areas, where they have plenty of room to exercise and move. Unless you have a large, fenced in backyard, it's probably not a good idea to let your gobbling companion run around Times Square or Hollywood Boulevard. However, that doesn't mean you have to go the rest of your life without hearing the sweet sounds of chirping and flapping wings. Many birds, such as Parakeets and Cockatoos make great pets. But pet parent beware: some birds have big personalities and attitudes, so be prepared to go through some "roommate bonding" first with your winged diva. It is also important to get along with your new feathered friend because you two will most likely grow old together. For example, Amazons can live up to 50 years while Cockatoos can enjoy middle age in their forties!
Some birds, like Canaries and Finches, are seedeaters, which means that, well, they eat seeds. Aside from the obvious, these types of birds (Hard Bills), will eat certain types of plants and some insects. Other birds, like Parakeets and Cockatiels, are Hook Bills and generally feed on bark, plants and fruits. Almost all of your bird food needs can be found at your local pet store.
After eating, comes an inevitable cleanup and birds definitely make you work. Make sure there is plenty of newspaper on the bottom of Polly's cage, so cleaning any waste or excess food is easy for you. Not only is it a quick tidy-up, but your bird gets to check out the Style section while he or she eats! Loving a bird isn't much different than loving a dog: instead of barking, they chirp, instead of wagging their tails, they flap their feathers! Now, while it may take a while to form a bond with your pet bird, you two will have a good 30 to 40 years to create memories and friendship.
Bark about it!
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