Are You Ready for a Companion Bird?
Bird are beautiful animals. They are often colorful and melodic, and it would be easy to fall for one and want to bring they home. But birds are not simply pretty to look at it; they require a great deal of social interaction and specialized care, they can be noisy and messy, and they can live for quite a long time. They are not the best choice of animal companion for everyone. So, before you adopt a bird, make sure you know what it means to care for this bird and that you are ready to make that commitment for the next twenty years or more.
Don’t get us wrong. Birds make wonderful animal companions. Accustomed to living in flocks, they are very social, so they will want to be with you more often than not. They are also highly intelligent animals. Think about how hard it is for you to find your way around a new city; some birds have to find their way thousands of miles from home when migrating, so they must be pretty smart. Birds are playful, too, as well as affectionate.You may not expect it, but birds can bond with their humans just as much as dogs and cats bond with theirs. And with long lifespans, this bond can last several decades.
Living with a bird sounds pretty good, then. So, are you ready for one? That answer depends on your lifestyle and how you feel about a few key aspects of caring for a bird.
For one thing, birds need just the right amount of light and sleep to be healthy. Specifically, they require at least four hours of sunlight each day and at least ten hours of sleep each night (northwestbirdrescue.org). If you work the night shift and need to keep the shades drawn all day so you can sleep, you may not be able to provide a bird with the proper amount of sunlight hours to fill your bird’s vitamin D requirements.
Additionally, birds need daily physical and mental exercise. You will need to provide a flight-safe space for your bird, where they can fly without the possibility of getting out an open window and injuring themselves. For wing-clipped birds, you’ll need to provide toys and plenty of climbing time. All birds will also need enough outside-the-cage time to keep those intelligent minds stimulated and their socialization needs satisfied. If you don’t have the space or time to meet these needs, then a bird may not be the right companion for you.
According to the experts at Northwest Bird Rescue, birds’ respiratory systems are quite delicate and cannot tolerate being exposed to tobacco smoke or other chemicals and air pollutants. Some fumes are so toxic to birds that exposure will result in fatal injury; chronic exposure to others will result in a significantly shortened life span. You will have to keep a smoke-free home, and it would be best to install an air filter to improve indoor air quality.
Birds can also be a bit loud, often singing or vocalizing in other ways, and might not be the best companion choices where close proximity to neighbors may be a problem.
And, birds eat often and messily, frequently dropping their food all over the place. Their diets should consist of more than just seeds, too; they need a variety of healthy foods, just like people do, including fruits and vegetables, adding to the mess factor (northwestbirdrescue.org).
So, there are many reasons why living with birds can make life more fun and meaningful. Just be sure you understand the undertaking before you bring home a feathered friend.