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Advice about Birds
Hi, we are looking for a pet bird for my son and because I don't know so much
about birds I'm looking for a good store where I can get sound advice and a bird.
We are considering a parakeet, a lovebird or a cockatiel based on the research
done so far. We are looking for a friendly interesting pet that doesn't mind an
Not so excited about going to Petco or such, also I've heard that you should
consider going directly to a breeder. I haven't gone to anywhere yet because I'm
afraid I'll come home with a bird before I finish my homework.
Any advice would be helpful, thanks
Your Basic Bird, of course. Pet shop on College Ave, near Ashby. They
know their birds!
Your Basic Bird, in Berkeley on College Avenue near Ashby.
I recommend Your Basic Bird on College Ave in the Elmwood. We got two
parakeets there several years ago for our three sons - they were very
helpful and knowledgable. Our boys loved their birds - who sadly flew
away a couple of years later during a cage cleaning mishap! I would
suggest that you really work with your child to finger-train the bird(s)
from the get-go. We got a bit lax about it and consequently it was
sometimes difficult to get the birds back in the cages after letting
them fly about a bit. I would also suggest that before you get the bird
you get some books from the library about pet birds. Lastly I have two
birdcages and some accessories on which I would be happy to make you a
good deal. Lisa 652-8668.
Try Your Basic Bird on College near Ashby. They are very nice and
I got my cockatiel at Your Basic Bird on College near Ashby. Very
knowledgeable staff, and you can come in and see lots of different birds
before picking one out. There may or may not be one available when you
come in - I had to wait til the babies were weaned before I could get
one. I handled it a lot when it was a baby, and she's now very
affectionate and cuddly with me. Birds can be great pets - enjoy!
Hi, I hope this makes it in time for the newsletter.
I am glad you are slowly working up to buying a pet bird. We
have 3 birds and they are a bit of work. We wouldn't have them
at all if my husband wasn't a bird guy. He tamed and raised
birds for pet stores in his backyard aviary during high
school. I love animals, but birds are a world apart from cats,
dogs, and fish. I absolutely love our birds, but they need
very special handling.
Okay, that said, I can recommend Feathered Follies in
Lafayette. Their shop is on Mt. Diablo, just past Boswell's
party store. I would recommend stopping in once a week or so,
talking to the staff about your lack of bird experience and
asking a ton of questions. As you get more comfortable, they
will let you handle some of the birds. You are on the right
track with a parakeet. they are sweet birds and not too bitey.
We have a conure that is a little fiesty and needs a firm hand
with the training, which my husband provides the best. Biting
birds scare the crap out of me. (Too much Hitchcock at an
early age, perhaps?)
My daughter has two lovely finches, which we call aquarium
birds, because they don't come out of their cages. If you do
let them out, say good bye because they will fly away. They
might be good starter birds.
Most birds will live a pretty long time. The bigger the bird,
the longer they live, which is the opposite of dog breeds. The
biggest danger to birds is carelessness of the owners: poor
diet, exposure to other pets, and especially exposure to
cleaning products!! (Don't spray anything at all in the same
room as a bird. And move them into the garage if you are
cleaning your oven.)
I don't want to scare you off, but please take bird ownership
seriously. They are highly intelligent and sensitive pets.
They are beautiful, fun, and so very entertaining, to be sure,
but they require a well educated owner. You are doing the
right thing by asking a bunch of questions before you take the
Does anyone have experience with parakeets as pets? My 6yo daughter is allergic
dogs and cats, so we hope a parakeet would be OK.
Specifically, I wondered about:
-- Are they OK for a weekend by themselves, or does someone need to visit them?
-- Does one do OK, or do they need another for company?
-- How much of a parakeet's care could a 6yo do herself?
-- Do they get sick often or spead disease?
Any info would be helpful. Thanks
When I moved into a smaller place I got a parakeet, ostensibly
for my son. Well, the bird apparently was traumatized by his
move from the petstore (where the clerk grabbed him roughly and
stuck him in a box) to his new home. The first time my son
tried to interact he also made the error (despite warnings) of
plunging his hand into the cage. More trauma. The poor bird
will not allow anyone to extend a finger too close -- he nips
very gently, not to hurt, just to warn. My son has given up on
him and has complained that he's ''no fun.'' But I enjoy his
company; he will now chirp to me and come out of the cage
and ''socialize'' as long as I don't try to touch him. I have
heard of birds who are very social and sit on peoples'
shoulders, etc., but there's no guarantee that your particular
parakeet will be fun. They're not mammals -- not cuddly. I
like mine, but kids could potentially be disappointed
When I was little we had a parakeet as a pet. His name was
Junior and from my memory we had him for several years.
We let him out of the cage daily and he'd fly around, sit on our
heads, shoulders, walk around on the table while we were eating,
eat off of our plates. We lived in an apartment and couldn't
have dogs or cats. Junior was definately part of the family.
You can leave parakeets alone for a day or two if they have
plenty of food and water (they get lonely though).
They open their bird seed and take out the inside and leave the
empty seed in their dish so sometimes it looks like they have
food when there is none....so be careful about that.
They like toys...mirrors, bells, etc, and company. I think
because we let Junior out all the time he didn't need a
companion...he had us.
He never got sick...unfortunately because he flew around the
house he was injured one day(no details) and died, so if you
give a parakeet (or any small critter) run of the house you have
to be really careful about their safety as well.
Good luck and have fun
Parakeets can make good pets; with proper attention they can be
entertaining and affectionate. If you are planning to leave
them alone for extended periods of time, then I would have
two..birds do get lonely/bored and need stimulation. The
tradeoff is that if you have two, the birds will tend to bond
more with each other and be less interested/affectionate with
people, but with enough attention to the birds, having it both
ways is not impossible.
My best advice is to visit Claudia at the wonderful store ''Your
Basic Bird'' on College Ave. They have been there for decades
and will be happy to share a wealth of advice on my different
birds. They also board birds, which you will want to do if
you're away more than overnight.
I haven't had a parakeet for years, so i hope it's okay for me to
respond to this question, but we've had a cockatiel for over 10
years now. Cockatiels are a little larger than budgies, but very,
very sweet birds, and may be worth considering as well. (We got
ours at ''Your Basic Bird'' in Rockridge, who I'm sure could answer
many of your questions too.)
Taking care of the bird is very easy, and would be manageable by
a 6-year old. There's changing the water, making sure she has
enough food, and occasionally cleaning out the cage, which is
lined with newspaper. The clipping of wings and nails is an adult
task, and clipping the we let ''Your Basic Bird'' handle.
The other thing birds could use - especially if you only get one
- is attention. It wouldn't be a good idea to get a single bird
if you're just going to ignore him/her for a while. But as they
basically need just food and water, we can easily leave ours
alone for a whole weekend without worrying about it.
And again, speaking only from personal experience, our bird
seldom gets sick, nor has she ever passed along any disease to us.
I'd like to set up a bird-feeder for my self and my daughter.
Would anyone be interested in sharing their informed opinion
about whether it is right or not to feed wild birds?
Looking for nature experiences in our Berkeley backyard
Whether it's right or not, you should know that birdseed will attract
not only birds, but also rodents -- and I don't just mean squirrels. I
had this problem back when I had a yard and a bird feeder.
Why not plant things in your yard that will attract birds instead?
California fuschia is one of many choices to attract hummingbirds. You
can also plant things that will attract butterflies. I don't know which
plants attract what, but I know there's books on the subject. That's
what I'd do if I had a yard (these days, alas, I'm living in a yardless
I didn't read the original post but I was just thinking about this
today. With the threat of bird flu and it's likely arrival in this
country this spring it seems to me that attracting birds at all might be
potentially hazardous. So much for letting my kids feed birds out at
the park etc...
I love to feed the birds and watch birds. I don't think there is
anything wrong with it. Lots of bird watchers feed birds. Many nature
centers that educate about the local wildlife and especially birds will
often put in place a birdfeeding station so that you have an opportunity
to see local birds. It is a wonderful way to introduce a child to the
world of nature. Birds are fascinating to watch. The only draw back to
feeding birds is that you might attract small rodents at night and
squirrels by day. But there are ways of making this a minimal problem. I
have been feeding birds for over ten years. My 5 year old duaghter loves
watching the birds. She is becoming a very observent little bird
watcher. She is also learning the names of the different kinds of birds
and comes up with her own bird feeder ideas. I can give you lots of
suggestions, ideas and advice on how to start, where to shop, what kind
of books to get, what local birds you might expect to see, etc. There is
not enough spaces here to write it all down.
Please feel free to contact me directly with any questions you may have.
Anyone have experience with parrots or similar birds and new babies?
Most of what I've read has been about preparing the bird emotionally for
a new family member, which is indeed important. We are concerned as
The bird, who is a loud African Grey, waking the baby at inopportune
times (and waking us as well!)
The safety of the kid around the birds (we also have a conure), both of
Giving the birds enough attention when the new baby arrives.
I would like to hear from those who have been able to raise kids with
large birds in the house and also those who may have had to give up
pets whan their families expanded.
We're not sure what's best to do.
I had a Meyer's parrot when my son was born. I had had my
parrot for about 5 years already and she was very attached to me
but a bit aggressive (hissing at, trying to bite to signal him
to stay away) towards my husband who was always very sweet to
her. I should mention we also have 2 dogs and due to an
incident early on, I would never let the parrot out when the
dogs were inside in the house. This already was a tough
situation (which you might not have) but once the baby came it
got even worse. I was too exhausted to put the dogs outside for
parrot play time regularly and I Was worried that the parrot
might land on the baby and hurt him. The upshot being that I
felt worse and worse about the lack of interaction I was giving
my parrot and even posted to this newsletter. In the end one of
my close friends who used to babysit her when I was single and
travelling for business agreed to take her and she has a great
home there where she is out all evening when they are home. It
was a better compromise for my situation although I will say
that even when she squaked loudly and woke my husband and I up,
she never woke the baby (he was just used to it). I don't know
if this helps you but although I miss my parrot, I made the
right decision because she has a much better life and i had more
energy to devote to my son since parrots can be quite time-
Sorry if this is not the optimism you were looking for.
He's a dog person, I'm a cat person, and (after the death of the
hermit crabs)we have settled--along with our 5 year old
daughter--on getting a parakeet type bird as a pet. I'm
interested in recommendations for exact types of birds, where to
buy it and its paraphenalia, and any caveats that experienced
bird owners may have. Thank you!
Parakeet type birds fall under the category of hook-billed or
parrot type birds.Cockatiels are especially wonderful!
However, before you buy a bird of this kind, you must
consider one important factor. These birds require a lot of
care and attention. I use to have a cockatiel. He lived for 8
years. They actually can live for 15 years! He was a
wonderful little bird. I got him young so I was able to train
him how to whistle tunes. He was very tame and we
developed a strong bond. It was like having a very small
child or baby. He was a happy bird. Cockatiels are highly
social birds, as all hook-billed/parrot type birds are. They do
very well with lots of attention. All too often parents will buy a
cockatiel for their child thinking that it will be an easy ''care-
free'' pet. What typically happens is that the parents and the
child don't really have the extra time or enthusiasm to put all
their attention and effort into taming and bonding with the
bird. As a result the child looses interest and the parent
ends up with the full responsibility of caring and feeding a
very bored and unhappy bird. Eventually the parent feels
sorry for the ignored pet and decides that it is time to give
the bird away. Before you go out and buy a bird I highly
recommend going to a library and checking out books on
cockatiels and parakeets(budgies). You really need to know
what kind of care goes into these kinds of birds. Good luck.
Parakeets are good ''starter'' birds: easy to care for and full of personality. They
can be hand-tamed, and some learn to talk a bit.
There's a great book called Birds for Dummies which goes into some detail on
the personalities and care needs of different kinds of pet birds. I found it to be
a helpful resource in making a decision when I was looking into getting a small
bird several years ago. It has excellent up-to-date info on bird care as well.
Please consider adopting a bird in need before going to a pet store (particularly
one of the large chain stores) or breeder. Mickaboo Cockatiel Rescue is one
local bird rescue organization you might check out (disclosure: I have adopted
from them in the past and have fostered a few birds for them as well). You can
learn more about them at www.mickaboo.org.
Good luck! Deirdre
We recommend Your Basic Bird in Elmwood! They are kind and knowledgeable,
with happy, healthy birds. They also board birds, a helpful service. We have
loved our four budgies (budgerigars), who have had personalities as distinct
and fun as any dog or cat. Our advice: Get a young bird (some say males are
more likely to bond and talk). Spend lots of time with it--you are its flock!
Keep cage in the spot where you all spend your time, not a child's bedroom.
Talk, sing, whistle to it. Perhaps avoid mirror toys, which it will respond to as if
another bird, since you want it to bond with you. Consider letting the bird out
to fly or visit you in your house, if you can do so safely. (Obviously, extreme
caution is necessary here, especially if you do not have the bird's wings clipped.
We have chosen to keep our birds' wings unclipped so that they can enjoy flying
inside, but doing so definitely involves more work.) If you find that your bird
isn't getting enough attention or company, consider getting it a bird
companion. In case you need a vet, look at ones with specific avian expertise.
We had a positive experience with Montclair Veterinary Clinic.
I hope to convince you to find another solution as a person who
has had many birds as pets over my lifetime. I realized after I
had to find a new home for my sexually frustrated love bird that
birds really are not designed to be good pets in the same way
that dogs and cats are.
I think the biggest problem you are likely to encounter is a
major disappointment for your 5-year-old. Birds tend to bond
with one member of the family and can become very hostile to
other members. On the other hand if they don't bond with anyone
then they aren't a very interactive pet, and they get very
lonely. It is unlikely that a five-year-old (and I have one
myself) is going to be the primary caretaker for the bird, and
that would be the person to whom the bird will bond.
Birds need quite a bit of attention from the people with whom
they are bonded, or they tend to get hostile toward that person.
The problem will get worse as the bird reaches sexual maturity.
You can keep the bird happier by getting 2 birds, but then the
birds will bond with each other, rather than their caretaker.
As for what kind of bird to get, in some ways the bigger the
better. Larger birds have bigger brains, and can be more
interesting and more interested in the people. However, they
also become more of a problem as they get older. I did, however,
have pretty good luck with both parakeets and lovebirds. If you
do buy one, get it from a breeder, rather then the pet store and
get a young one that has been hand fed.
Aw, what memories...I got a beatiful parakeet when I was in the
4th grade,from Kmart, when they used to sell pets from their San
Pablo store. It was a great little companion that lived until I
was 21 years old. We were able to let her be out of her cage
all day in the house. She really only liked my dad and I and
would be content to sit on our shoulders all evening and eat
popcorn and potatoe chips (I don't know if that was good for
her, but she would pester us if we did't give her any, in fact
she learned to land right on the edge of the popcorn/chip bowl
and help herself). It took a lot of training and love to get
her to trust us and then get her out of her cage and onto our
fingers. I think they are really a one-person kind of animal.
The one things I researched and did was to put a branch/twig
from a fruit tree (we used apple and apricot) into the cage
right next to the perch. The bird loved to chew on the twig and
it gave it neccesssary vitamins that they need in the wild. We
usually replaced the twig every week. They can be a little
destructive when they are allowed to roam free around the
house. We had her wings clipped only twice, which helped with
getting her trained, but decided it was too cruel to let this
little animal try to fly only to get hurt by landing on things
on the ground. They can be very messy, so be prepared to clean
the cage often and it's surroundings.
We just got ourselves a new little puppy around thanksgiving,
and you know, it really isn't all that different. Both involve
a lot of work in training, cleaning after, and some
destruction. But it definately will be worth in a year when the
animal has become a well-suited companion. Good luck.
We always had parakeets throughout my childhood, and the memories
are wonderful (alas, no parakeets now because the dogs would eat
them). They are wonderful pets IF you are willing to spend time
with them and let them spend a better part of each day out of
Many people have the idea that it's okay for parakeets to spend
their life in a cage, but I think the family misses out on a
wonderful experience if they do that (not to mention the bird, of
course). We used to open the door to the cage in the morning and
watch her fly like a freak all over the house until she was
spent...then she hung around with us like a dog, riding on our
shoulder or head and interacting with us. We would lock her in
the cage sometimes (and all night) but she really was part of the
family during the day, out and about with us, and as a child I
learned a lot from that experience. They are very smart and very
social. Ours used to stick her head in my mouth (sometimes almost
climb into my mouth!) to pick food out of my molars. Of course I
thought it was hilarious as a kid...would probably gross me out
now. Anyway, I really think they're great but only if you make
them part of the family, not just ornaments in a cage. Birds are
very, very smart and can be trained to fit into your lifestyle.
We have a problem with birds waking the whole family at dawn
each morning. (They chirp very loudly outside our window.) At
first we thought it was mating season, but it has been
happening for almost 3 months now. The same birds also fly
into our window and seem to attack any shiney object, as if to
attack a rival. The other problem is that there is bird poop
everywhere. Does anyone have suggestions as to how to
dicourage them? Thanks!
Because birds/nests are so protected (and rightly so) we also
found it difficult to keep the birds away when we wanted to
paint our house. We eventually strung up a bunch of CD's (the
AOL/MSN free ones) and the shiny reflective parts seemed to
scare them away. I don't know if that counts as abuse to the
birds, but it worked.
trying to preserve both birds and sanity
Try recording the birds and playing it back to them. Cover the
shiny objects until they move on. You could also try bird flash
tape (thin ribbons of mylar) available at (plant) nurseries.
Tape it (in the style of a beaded curtain) to the windows and
other places they frequent. Breezes will make the tape ''flash''
and scare the birds away (hopefully). Try making their roosting
areas inaccessible by covering with netting. If using netting
please keep it taut; we once caught an unwary oppossum by
accident in some loose netting. Please don't use Tanglefoot; it
harms the birds and is messy. You could also try earplugs or
sleeping on the other side of the house.
We had a very similar problem, but with a single bird. We
pruned the tree he used as his base from which to attack my
daughter's window, and in particular we cut down the limb he
was seen on most often. Now he's gone!
I found a website with loads of advice about keeping birds away
Most of them talked about cutting out a silhouette of a hawk (I
guess it has to be light in color to stand out against the dark
interior), but you have to put it on the outside of the window
so they can see it better. Or apparently if you hang colored
ribbons on the outside, that keeps birds from flying into the
window -- but you're also concerned with keeping them away from
the window entirely.
You can also buy a plastic owl from gardening stores, I think,
and put it outside the window. My dad said he has to move his
periodically or they figure it out.
I have had a wonderful Meyer's parrot for 4 1/2 years. Now with
a new baby and 2 dogs I find myself unable to give her the
attention she deserves. I want to find her a new good home
but I don't want to put an ad in a paper and get some ''weirdo.''
Does anyone know how to find interested bird lovers who might be
interested in a giving a beautiful bird a good home? Has anyone
had to go through this same experience? I am very very sad
about it about feel so guilty that she doesn't get the
interaction a companion parrot should get.
Any advice or tips welcome!
When I was trying to find a home for our cat I emailed PETA
for their pet adoption kit. I found the email on their website.
It took them forever to send it to me, and by that time I had
already found a home for the cat, so when it came I just
threw it away. But I think the kit includes advice about
finding a home, and adoption forms and guidelines. You
might want to check it out.
To find a new home for your parrot I'd suggest you take it to
Your Basic Bird on College Avenue near Ashby in Berkeley. They
have other parrots, cockateels, etc. for sale, so your bird will
have company. Also people talk to the birds sometimes. People
who want to buy parrots go to Your Basic Bird, so that might be
the quickest way to find a new home for her.
There is a wonderful local bird rescue organization called
Mickaboo Cockatiel Rescue that takes in and places
parrot-type birds. They interview potential adoptive parents
and provide foster care and medical help if necessary for
birds handed over to them. You can get more info at
this page was last updated: May 24, 2008
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