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I Want a Bird That Talks!

"I want a bird that talks" is probably one of the questions that I get most often. Rightly so, parrots are probably the only animal/pet that can mimic human voices and vocabulary. In fact, a basic google search will reveal the wonderful ability of parrots talking. Thousands of videos shows countless of birds mimicking their owners saying various funny phrases and even singing songs! This is, what I believe to be, the strongest magnet to the interest of keeping parrots as pets. In this article I will discuss how to properly choose a parrot and the reason why choosing a parrot for its ability to talk is usually not a good idea.

How To Choose A Parrot

Parrots are demanding in nature. They require a lot of attention, training and time. Choosing a parrot for its ability to talk may be a disaster in the near future for both the new owner and the bird. See, parrots are generally misunderstood to begin with. For example, birds do things like screaming and we humans don’t easily understand. They have a loud call and that is how they communicate with other birds. When we bring these pets to our home, we ask ourselves, why is this bird screaming like that? At first it may be cute but it gets old really quickly if you are not prepared for it.

The reason for choosing a parrot should not be for its ability to talk. After all, not all parrots will learn to talk. Imagine if you choose a baby parrot for its ability to talk, you raise the bird for many months and after all that hard work the bird decides that it will not learn to talk. There are parrots like the famous African Grey that never learn to talk. They simply choose to not talk and there is absolutely nothing that one can do to force a parrot to mimic human vocabulary. This being said: How do I choose a parrot for my family? To answer this question we must first answer a few basic questions:

  1. How much time do you have to dedicate to a bird? Birds require lifetime commitments as they can out live a Human. Some birds can live upward of 65+ years. This is a possession that will most likely be passed down to the next generation in your family.

  2. Do you live in a home or an Apartment? If you rent your home, it is important to ask for permission to keep a pet bird. Some landlords require a pet fee and they may need you to sign a pet clause. Also, know that most birds are too loud to own in an apartment. For example, i would strongly recommend that a Mollucan Cockatoo not be housed in an apartment where neighbors will hear the bird screaming. Also, make sure that the entire family is okay to have a bird that screams, squawks and is very messy.

  3. Can you financially afford it? The initial cost of a bird is a major expense. The bird, the cage, accessories and other supplies such as food can run in the high hundreds up to several thousands of dollars. On top of that, you have the ongoing costs that may be over a hundred dollars a month, depending the bird you choose. Lastly, remember veterinary check ups and if an emergency occurs, you must be prepared to do whatever is necessary for your pet. The birds life depends on you!!

  4. Do you have the patience for ongoing training? My philosophy is that anything with a mouth or a beak will bite at some point. Birds are no exception. You must be willing to deal with an occasional bite from your bird. That is their main defense mechanism. Training is an ongoing aspect of keeping pet birds. Relationship building is never finished or complete. Training may start with basic step up, to tricks, to teaching the bird to talk all the way to solving negative behaviors like getting bit, screaming, potty training, etc. Remember, pet birds are live animals. They are not a figurine that you put on a shelf to collect dust.

  5. Can you spend time researching and hands on experience? I recommend you join a bird club in your area, visit Bird pages or groups on Facebook, get to know different breeders, walk into your local pet store and talk to other people who own birds. Volunteer at a bird sanctuary or rescue, offer a breeder a helping hand. Get involved with birds prior to getting one so that you know what you’re getting yourself into.

In conclusion, choosing a bird is a lifetime decision that cannot be made by a parrot’s ability to talk. It is a major decision that will change your daily routine, and the way you live. It is imperative that you think about this carefully and purposely to ensure you are doing the right thing for you and your potential pet bird.

If you liked this article and have learned a thing or two, I humbly ask that you share it with your family and friends. Together, we can educate others for the benefit of the birds in our care and Aviculture as a whole.


About the Author

Charlie Plaza, at the age of 14, started his collection of birds in the United States. He purchased his first pet bird, an Indian Ringneck Parakeet from a pet store named Critter's Corner in Casselberry, FL for $175. This is where he met the pet store manager, Jeff, who introduced Charlie to the bird breeder, Linda Norris, who hatched his pet Ringneck. Charlie, as a young kid started working for Linda cleaning cages and assisting her in the labor of breeding exotic birds. Charlie quickly developed a passion for birds as he saw the joy that pet birds can bring to people. Charlie followed his passion for birds and started his long lasting career in the pet industry where he worked his way up to upper management at two of the largest, most successful pet specialty stores known today as Pet Supermarket and PetSmart. What once started as a hobby, CP Birds has become a well known national name in the aviculture community making hand fed, friendly birds more accessible to pet owners. Charlie has been a guest speaker at several local bird clubs, bird conventions and has trained many aviculturist in the care, husbandry and breeding of exotic birds.

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