Four Things to Consider Before Bringing Home a Bird

Sarah Rae Murray is a writer, former veterinary practice receptionist and an advocate for all animals. 

There’s something undeniably whimsical about pet birds. They’re often depicted as charming companions — think: Snow White harmonizing with her feathered friends or Granny carrying Tweety Bird in his brass cage. But unlike these animated birds, real birds demand a serious commitment. If you’re thinking about getting a pet bird, consider these four facts first:

Birds can live a really long time:

Different species of pet birds have differing lifespans. Budgies and cockatiels can live up to 20 years while larger parrots like macaws can live as long as 100 years in an ideal environment. Getting a bird is a serious commitment, one with the potential to be lifelong. Be sure to Google the average lifespan of any pet bird you’re considering; the answer may surprise you.

Birds have different tolerances for socialization: 

Not only are birds a time commitment from a lifespan perspective, but they also require engagement and mental stimulation. Birds aren’t domesticated animals, they need to be socialized. In other words, taking ample time to interact, train, and bond with your bird. Once again, it’s critically important to research different species of pet birds. You may be looking for a family pet but end up with a “one person bird” if you’re not careful. Birds are highly intelligent but some traits aren’t trainable, research which pet bird species suits your home, family, and lifestyle best.

Birds can be noisy and they need more space than you probably think:

If you’re looking for a low impact pet, a bird probably isn’t your best bet. The size of your bird will dictate the size of enclosure needed; the bigger the bird the larger their living quarters need to be. You also need to prepare for the new sounds they’ll bring to your home. Whether they talk, coo, screech, or tweet, your bird will make noise. Smaller birds, like finches and canaries, are still vocal but much quieter than a larger parrot.

Birds have super sensitive respiratory systems:

Do you love scents in your home? Things like scented candles, incense, and air fresheners can be harmful to a bird’s delicate respiratory system. Chemical fumes, even odourless ones created by Teflon and non-stick cookware, can even be fatal to birds. As you’ve probably guessed, cigarette smoke is also a big no-no. If you’re considering a bird, you should also consider investing in an ozone-free air purifier. It’ll help keep your bird’s respiratory system healthy while also protecting your family from bird dander and cage debris.


Arbuckle, Kit. “Buying a Bird: 11 Things to Consider Before Getting a Feathered Pet.” Care, Dec. 2015, Web.

“Is An Air Purifier Safe for Birds?” RabbitAir, 2018, Web.

Kalhagen, Alyson. “Quiet Pet Bird Species.” The Spruce Pets, Oct. 2018, Web.

Kalhagen, Alyson. “Ten Things You Should Know Before Adopting a Bird.” The Spruce Pets, Jul. 2018, Web.

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