Saturday, August 7, 2010

Riley: The Greencheek Conure

We share our home with a very small bird we call Riley.  He's a greencheek conure.  Mostly he's pleasant, but he can develop the personality of Godzilla at times and no matter what you do to try to please him, it's not enough. And true to his name, he's actually got green cheeks. 

If you've ever thought about getting a bird as a household pet, a greencheek would make a nice selection.  If you're a prospective new bird owner, I'd highly recommend a smaller bird as your first bird.  Cocketiels, budgies, small conures, parrotlets, and lovebirds fall into the category of acceptable "first birds".  Big or small, birds require a huge commitment of time, money, and in love. 

Whereas a dog or cat is usually content to be alone for long periods, birds are much more social animals. There's a reason why birds travel in flocks.  They need costant companionship and attention.  They can be left alone while you're at work, but if you plan to be out of town for several days it's preferable to take your bird along too or to a pet sitter.  They might do fine alone for a weekend, but then again you might come home to a feather plucked, tail chewing mess (or worse).  It will depend on their personality and every one is unique.

Riley is our second bird.  Our first bird, Albert the peach faced lovebird, passed away quietly in the middle of the night for unexplained reasons. Which brings up another consideration for prospective bird owners -- can you afford the veterinary bills? You'll need to be prepared to take your bird to the veterinarian for nail trimmings, wing clippings,and wellness check ups.  That amounts to about $30 three times per year for Riley.

A dog or cat may do fine playing with old shoes, socks, or even baby toys, but birds need bird toys that are bird safe. Things to chew on, forage in, preen, and explore are good bets.  Loud noises, barking dogs, screaming children, and sirens are all stressors for birds. When it come to purchasing a cage for your bird, the bigger the cage the better.  And if you're a night owl, your bird needs a separate bedroom.  When it gets dark, their natural instinct is to go to sleep.  It's unnatural for them to keep "human" sleep patterns.

And finally, please don't purchase a bird from a pet store.  There are thousands of birds in parrot rescues throughout the country in need of good homes.  There are many reputable parrot rescues that are doing wonderful work caring for unwanted birds that need foster homes and permanent homes.  Florida Parrot Rescue is an organization in the Tampa area doing this type of work.  Sweet Pea, a cocketiel featured on their adoption page would make a nice first bird.  Kiwi, a quaker parrot, is another bird currently available for adoption. 

If you're interesting in fostering or adopting a bird - from parakeets to cockatoos - they've got exotic birds that need caring for.  If you investigate bird ownership and find out that you just don't want to commit to it afterall, I'm sure they would appreciate a donation to assist with food, cages, and veterinary services.

R.I.P. Albert
The Peach Faced Lovebird

No comments:

Post a Comment