Keeping a pet bird isn't as easy as it looks. Some have a lifespan much longer than that of a human. Find a species with a relatively short life expectancy in the event you find avian care isn't your forte after all. Some are easier raise than others.
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Canaries are easy, low-maintenance birds that make excellent pets. Canaries, like all birds, are flock animals so you should have a pair. They will keep one another company, and you will not have to be a substitute for the flock. Canaries are not always yellow. As members of the finch family they come in a variety of colors including green, orange or brown. If you want a singer, get a male. The females are not the crooners their handsome counterparts are. Canaries don't like to be handled much, making them an excellent choice for children or someone who wants the company of a bird but does not want to invest a lot of time in interaction. The average life expectancy of a canary is 15 years.
Parakeets -- also called budgies, short for budgerigars -- are relatively inexpensive to purchase and, as with the canary, you are better off with two of them. Budgies are highly affectionate and some have been taught to talk. These underrated birds have been misunderstood and used as "starter pets" for so long that it's easy to forget just how personable they can be. Choose a high-quality breeder or pet store and ask a lot of questions about raising your parakeet. These birds tolerate gentle holding and interacting with humans so they make good pet birds for children who are respectful and very gentle with them. If the child has the patience to spend time with the budgie, they may be rewarded when a little tiny voice says something other than "chirp." Budgies, depending upon the species, live anywhere from 8 to 30 years.
Cockatiels are a little more exotic than your average, run-of-the-mill budgie. They are a member of the parrot family and are quite popular as household pets. Cockatiels are extremely affectionate and love to be handled. They are not quite as noisy as some of the other parrots and are not great candidates for talking but they do whistle quite a bit and are relatively easy to care for. A cockatiel can live about 30 years so be sure this is a commitment you are willing and able to make before deciding on a cockatiel. These birds come in a variety of colors and patterns.
Lovebirds came by their name quite honestly, they are very loving and affectionate and will tolerate nothing less than lots and lots of attention and interaction with you. These little guys even like to be carried around in your pocket. Their life expectancy is only about 15 years so they are not quite as big a commitment as some of their fine feathered friends who can live to be a hundred. Lovebirds are clownish and athletic, frequently hanging upside down and spinning. The smallest of the parrot species, lovebirds should be kept as a pair unless you are planning to spend a lot of time with your bird, in which case one should suffice.
Michelle A. Rivera is the author of many books and articles. She attended the University of Missouri Animal Cruelty School and is certified with the Florida Animal Control Association. She is the executive director of her own nonprofit, Animals 101, Inc. Rivera is an animal-assisted therapist, humane educator, former shelter manager, rescue volunteer coordinator, dog trainer and veterinary technician.