Reasonable expectations:
Is a bird the right choice for you?

An aviary set up:

So you think you might enjoy a bird in your life.

There are many ways this can work out favorably but you need to give it some thought and study. It could be you love their happy spirit and beauty but realize the normal mess they make might not be appreciated later.

Maybe you don't really want a bird as a pet but as an enhancement to your life that you will enjoy as a walk in free-flight aviary that would enhance a patio, deck, or garden spot. The small birds can be easily accommodated as a pair or small group and their wire enclosure can be made into a habitat of safe natural plants and branches landscaped to offer quite an interesting and visual wonderland of nature.

The creation of such a habitat could be a wonderful challenge as you would have to provide safety, wind blocks, shade, shelter, and in the process, discover the needs of the birds you are providing for.

A home member:

If you want a bird to share your home space you need to know that birds do not fit into the same pet category as a dog or cat. The term "pet" doesn't work too well for me as they always retain their basic wild instincts.

Smaller birds are less emotionally demanding as most are raised by the parent birds, are not human imprinted, and have no identity issues.

Birds that are hand-raised and have close contact with humans from an early age can be a bit confused in their relationship to a totally domestic world. Natural instinct becomes muddled with associated reactions from humans and we cannot expect them to always respond in ways we feel are appropriate. A bird does not offer trust as an instant gift, but rather that trust will be earned by kind and gentle human interaction. A pat on the head or sweet words may work for a dog, but birds need more tangible rewards. Feed treats often!

Birds as children's pets:

If you are thinking a bird would be a good way to teach your child responsibility please consider a plant instead; children lose interest quickly and don't have the patience to reason a bite response from the bird if it gets scared or feels threatened. Birds are very social in their normal society and would not receive the positive stimulation in a child's room as it would get in a busier area with the whole family.

Birds are quick to learn.

Companion birds can be manipulative, possessive, demanding and opinionated about who they become close to. A person might expect they will be friendly to the entire family and then take up with the person who likes them the least. They might love the woman for 9 months and then decide for no apparent reason that the male in the home is much preferred. It is not in their heads that each member in a home be loved equally, they like who they like and that, is that!

Dominant force will only generate fear in a bird and a fearful bird makes a very unsatisfactory house guest. It will not sing, it will not play, it will only tremble when the forceful one enters the area. Equally, it is unfair to the bird to offer it a home where one or more people in the home does not like the noise it makes, the mess it creates or it's singular affection with one other person in the home.

Creating a positive environment:

The bird should be encouraged to be happy in its life without being too emotionally dependent on you for its happiness. This can be done by providing side by side vocal interaction, visual interest and stimulation, a variety of safe toys that can be explored and a big enough cage to be able to exercise. There are many ways to broaden a bird's life by time outside it's cage, a change of perches and toys, a visit to a different home area and a possible outside enclosure so it can reunite with nature.

Reasonable expectations:

You must be reasonable in your expectations, please think it through before committing to share your home with these sensitive creatures. Above all, please do not try to satisfy your urge to make it into a little human as this complicates their normal nesting instincts at maturity and can lead to behavior chaos. In accepting them for what they are, you acknowledge that you are a person who is versatile enough to create a bridge between domestication and wild nature.

Birds need to be accepted and appreciated for what they are and not your vision on what you expect them to be. Like humans, they have likes and dislikes, bad days and good. At some time, they are going to be difficult and they are going to bite. Your understanding will temper these moods. What goes on in your house will affect their happiness and disposition; a happy and friendly home will help to promote calmness and a cheerful nature.