The first thing you need to know about birds is that they are expensive. Even
a smaller bird like a cockatiel or a budgie might come with a small pricetag, but by the time you buy a suitable cage with
perches, and toys, and put that bird on a good diet, and take it to the vet... well, even with a budgie you're talking about
at least $200. Vet care for birds can be expensive, since you will need a specialized vet. My cockatiel cost me $125 for cage
setup and bird. I've paid more than that in vet care over the last couple of months.
Also, it's important to note
that while some birds are louder than others and some birds are chattier (noisier) than others, all birds make some kind of
noise. It's a natural form of communication for them. All birds are more likely to be noisiest in the morning and the evening
(with the exception of African Greys, which can be very active and vocal at night). However, the chatter from a budgie is
usually much easier for most people to listen to than the screaming of a cockatoo. Still, I have met a few people who can't
stand the way budgies sound. It just kind of depends on what you mean by "noisy". My amazon hardly ever makes a sound, but
when she gets going she has the ability to be quite loud. My senegal is chatty nonstop, but he can't match her volume.
is much easier to take care of a smaller bird than it is to take care of a larger one. The upkeep cost is the same, but the
setup cost is dramatically less, and the smaller birds don't have the volume potential that the bigger birds do. I'm guessing
the bird you saw at the petstore was either an African Grey or some kind of cockatoo?
For your situation, I would
recommend a budgie (parakeet), a cockatiel, a lovebird, pacific parrotlet, a green cheeked conure, a senegal parrot, or a
In the US, budgies are commonly called parakeets. They're very common in petstores and come in standard
colors of yellow, green, and blue. But they also come in a lot of fun color mutations. They're very small and a bite from
one won't cause very much damage. They're also sexually dimorphic and are very easy to sex after they hit sexual maturity.
They usually sell for about $15-$30, depending on the source and color mutation. An appropriate cage for a budgie will probably
cost you about $40-$60. While they are common enough in petstores, your best bet is to find a breeder. You will know that
your bird is not inbred, that it is healthy, and it will also probably sell a little cheaper than your average petstore variety.
Cockatiels are similar to budgies in a lot of ways. They're a little bit bigger, though, and have a crest on the top
of their head like a cockatoo which they can raise and lower. They also come in many different color varieties, and usually
tame down nicely to make wonderful cuddly pets. $25-$100 for the bird, $60-$120 for an appropriate cage.
to popular belief, lovebirds do not have to be kept in pairs and do very well when they're kept singly. Again, this is a smaller
bird. Unlike the cockatiel and budgie, the lovebird has a short tail and a beak that is quite large compared to the size of
its head. Also unlike budgies and cockatiels, lovebirds are true parrots. They are known for being somewhat aggressive and
difficult to handtame. Many lovebirds spend their whole lives in cages without direct human contact for this reason. But those
who do succeed in taming lovebirds love them as companion birds, as KnP will tell you. $70-$100 for the bird, $60-$120 for
an appropriate cage.
I don't know much about Pacific Parrotlets. They are very very small birds - even smaller than
budgies. Their popularity as pets is growing. I can't give you an accurate price range, but if I had to guess I'd say $100-$200
for the bird and $40-$60 for an appropriate cage.
Green cheeked conures are a small variety of conure that is known
for being very quiet. They're also famous for being cuddly. They're not supposed to be the best talkers, but they can learn
to talk and are supposed to be good at immitating noises. $125-$300 for the bird, $100-$200 for a good cage.
senegal parrots and meyers parrots belong to a family of small African parrots called poicephalus. They are usually very quiet
(mine is an exception) but have big personalities. They are about the size of a cockatiel, but seem bigger because of their
big personalities and heavier bodies. They are very smart and easily trained, but are famous for being both phobic and ballsy
at the same time. A poicephalus might beat up on a larger bird, then freak out when a finch does a low fly-by. They also have
a tendency to bond with one person. This must be avoided with good training and socialization, or they can become aggressive.
I think a poicephalus (which also includes jardines and brown-headed parrots) is a wonderful choice for someone who wants
a big bird in a small bird's body. You're looking at $200-$300 for the bird, and $200-$500 for an appropriate cage (they need
bigger cages because they are very active, acrobatic birds).
If none of those birds appeals to you and you've fallen
in love with the macaws or perhaps the cockatoos, there are versions of macaws and cockatoos that are smaller. Mini macaws,
like the yellow-collard macaw, are smaller and cheaper than amazons but have the attitude of a large macaw. The goffin's cockatoo
is a species of small cockatoo that many people happily keep as companion parrots.
Don't forget that I didn't calculate
the price of food, toys, perches, and vet visits into the costs listed above. Larger toys and perches cost more than smaller
ones, so the smaller birds are cheaper in that regard, too. But a vet checkup for a budgie costs the same as a checkup for
a hyacinth macaw.
It's also worth noting that the initial cost of a rescue bird is cheaper than the cost of a baby.
However, they will often need new cages and some will need a lot of vet care to get healthy again. Others will need a lot
I hope that when and if you do decide to get a bird, you'll look for a breeder or a rescue before going
to a petstore. While it's true that there are some good petstores, many petstores get birds from birdmills. They are often
sick or injured and many cockatiels and budgies are inbred. Your very best bet is go to to a breeder, as I mentioned earlier.
The best thing to do in your situation is to do lots and lots of research and find out what kind of bird fits into
your home the best. Do this with your parents, so that they know exactly what you're getting into.
|a family the yellow birds are the parents
|budgies come in so many pretty colors
|birds about to become parents