I don’t know any one who started out wanting anything less
than a loving home for their bird. However, because they
didn’t know all they needed to know about caring for their
bird, mistakes were made, and their bird suffered as a
Even with all the information available to us, we still
don’t know all there is to know about having birds as pets.
It’s a continuous discovery and mistakes will be made. If
you find yourself making some of the mistakes discussed
below, forgive yourself. Do the research, learn what you
need to know and change it.
1. Staying in a bad relationship.
The idea of bringing a cute, cuddly baby bird, or a
beautiful, older bird that talks into your home, is a
temptation that is hard to resist. However, not all of us
are able to care for birds in the way they need to be cared
for. When reality sets in and you realize living with this
bird isn’t going to work out as you thought it would, you
come face to face with a dilemma.
What do you do now?
First of all, don’t beat yourself up. You made a mistake. It
happens. Do your research. Better late than never. Determine
if you are up to the task. If you realize this isn’t going
to work out for you, then it certainly won’t work out for
the bird. Dedicate yourself to finding your bird a new home.
Don’t keep the bird just because you feel guilty or because
you feel a sense of responsibility. It’s like staying in a
bad marriage. No one ever benefits. You’ll be giving this
bird a new opportunity for happiness by finding him a place
2. It’s “Just A Bird”
When we believe something is “merely” or “only”, we tend to
treat it with less respect and consideration. “Just” implies
a lower level of importance. This perspective towards birds
ends up as a rationalization for neglect and abuse. Example:
1. So what if my bird is in her cage most of the time. After
all she’s just a bird. 2. Care about his feelings? He
doesn’t have feelings, he’s just a bird.
Birds have emotions. They may not be as complex as ours, but
they feel fear, grief, love, joy and probably a whole lot
more in between. Birds aren’t “just”. They are wondrous
beings with intelligence and feelings. They need to be
treated that way and given the best life experience we can
3. Cage too small
I often wonder what some cage manufacturers are thinking
when they design cages. Some of them don’t seem to know much
about birds. Either the main perch and feeding areas are too
high creating a lot of wasted space or they make the feeding
crocks so large they also take up too much of the interior
space. Birds don’t eat & drink very much per day and yet the
crocks are big enough for a pound of food.
Look for cages that make sense from the bird’s point of
view. It has to be roomy enough so they can move around,
climb the bars, and have perches and toys at different
levels. A cage may look big enough when it’s empty, but
start putting perches, toys, ladders and swings inside and
all of sudden the cage that seemed big enough, now doesn’t
have room for the bird.
Cage size also depends on the activity level of the bird. If
a bird enjoys hanging from a toy and flapping it’s wings,
this has to be taken in consideration when determining size.
When you see minimum cage requirements for your species of
bird, go to the next size.
A cage 3 feet wide is more appropriate for a medium size
bird like an African Grey than a 2 foot cage and the cage
size needs to increase from there for larger birds. Would
you feel comfortable with a house the size of your bathroom?
4. Not enough exercise
/ Not enough explanation
Birds need to move. They need to climb, swing, hang and flap
their wings. Just sitting on a play stand chewing toys is
usually not enough. If your bird’s wings are clipped you can
introduce your bird to the flying game for exercise. When
your bird is on your hand gently secure her feet with your
thumb, and slowly lower your hand so she moves her wings to
maintain balance. At the same time say fly or whatever word
you like. She’ll learn to associate the word with the
flapping of her wings and will soon do it on her
own when you say the word. Pretty soon your bird
will look forward to her flying or flapping
exercise sessions and she’ll be happier and
healthier as a result.
Bird Book That Gives You All You Need To Know To
Take Care Of Your Pet Bird or Aviary
Dr. Joel Murphy, one of the foremost avian
veterinarians, did an exhaustive worldwide
search of all medical and husbandry of exotic
pet birds in the last 40 years and added 21
years of clinical practice in one of the world's
leading exotic bird veterinary centers, The
Animal & Bird Medical Center of Palm Harbor
The result was
the most comprehensive book ever written for the
pet bird owner,
How To Care For Your Pet Bird,
Practical Advice by Dr. Joel Murphy.
"Happy Pet Birds" is a parrot manual
and ecatalog that provides you with
everything you need to have a great
relationship with your bird while saving you
time and money on all the cool stuff your
feathered friend will love.
This unique resource offers you an
opportunity to interact with your parrot on
a more meaningful level so you can get to
know each other better, develop and maintain
a great trusting relationship, and
experience the amazing abilities of pet
When I got my African Grey, Cairo, at age four, she didn’t
know how to fly. So, I taught her. I started out with the
flapping game and then spent months running with her through
the house while she flapped her wings while tightly
clulching my hand. The neighbors thought I was a bit nuts,
but Cairo loved it and would yell “fly, fly” as she was
happily flapping away. She now knows how to fly and is much
Birds need to understand what is going on in their
environment and we do them a disservice if we don’t explain
our actions and expectations. Don’t worry whether they
understand or not. Just try it and they’ll surprise you with
All my birds identify noise with the word noise. Instead of
freaking out over a loud noise they’ll all say noise and not
be bothered by it. My CAG is learning to distinguish between
noises. Motorcycles made her anxious, but now that she is
learning that it is called motorcycle noise she isn’t
concerned about it as she once was. When she hears a
motorcycle she just says noise and doesn’t worry about it.
When you go away over night tell your bird how long you’re
going away for. Example: You’re going away for “2 Nite Nites”
(substitute whatever word you use at night). Tell them
you’ll miss them and they’ll be fine.
5. Moving too Fast
It’s not always easy to remember to slow down when we’re
around our birds. Sudden movements, especially fast hand
movement usually frightens them. If we’re under stress,
feeling frustrated because we feel we don’t have enough time
to accomplish what we need to accomplish, we radiate that
energy and can instantly raise the anxiety level of our
birds. We need to slow down. Keep our hands still instead of
waving them in our bird’s face. Have someone wave their
hands in your face. Do you like it?
6. Not Taking The Time To Observe
One of the greatest pleasures and most important aspects of
sharing our lives with birds is watching them. We can learn
so much about what they like, what bothers them and what is
safe for them by watching them play, interact with other
birds and other people. Taking the time to observe can
eliminate future problems.
7. Not stimulating their sense of adventure
Birds are naturally curious. They need to be given
challenges that stimulate curiosity. Puzzle toys and
foraging toys are an important addition to any bird room.
The fastest way to destroy a bird’s trust is by hitting.
NEVER hit your bird.
9. A frustrated bird is not happy
Birds do not understand teasing. It’s cruel. Also be careful
of toys that tend to frustrate rather than entertain your
bird. Some puzzle toys can entertain your bird for hours,
but if she isn’t able to feel any accomplishment or success
as a result of her efforts, she can become frustrated. All
birds are different so once again, observe.
10. Pushing Your Bird
Pushing your bird to do things he doesn’t want to do
probably won’t accomplish a positive outcome. If your bird
isn’t in the mood to come out of his cage, or if he doesn’t
want to step up or come near this new person you’ve brought
to meet him, let him be.
Educate & train your bird to enjoy doing those things that
are necessary for a cooperative relationship. Give him good
reasons to want to come out of his cage. If instead, you
think pressuring is easier and takes less time than
educating your bird, don’t be surprised when he responds
with his beak.
11. Crowding your bird
Birds like space. Putting their cages too close together or
putting birds together in small cages can sometimes be a
disaster waiting to happen. Allow your bird to have their
own personal space and only put them with other birds when
you are absolutely sure they are comfortable sharing space
with that bird. Continue to watch the situation. They could
change their minds.
12. Having too many
Only you can determine how many birds are too many. But,
before you fall in love with another bird you can’t live
without, do a serious, honest appraisal of your present
situation. Are you giving the necessary time to the bird or
birds you already have? Will you be able to afford the extra
expense? Why do you really want another bird?
About The Author
Copyright 2011 Kai Jordan
Kai Jordan works with parrots to resolve feather
plucking and other emotional issues. This
article is an excerpt from "Happy Pet Birds".
For more info. visit
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