Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Birdie Life

We saw Rio on the weekend loved it! It’s an adorable family movie, and while I could have waited for it to come out on DVD, I had to see it! There’s nothing too special about the story or animation, but the animators and writers really got the relationship between birds and people right. I couldn’t even go through the first two minutes without crying. The movie opens up when Blu is a baby parrot and falls out of his nest by accident. Awww! There were a couple of things in the movie that weren't advisable though, such as feeding a parrot chocolate chip cookies (chocolate is deathly for birds) and birds eating out of a person's mouth.

In real life, Blu is a Spix’s Macaw, which really is an endangered species. It was a great and gentle way of showing how species conservation is important. When smugglers steal baby chicks, they are robbing the future population by leaving only older birds to mate.

My big fear with a movie like this though is that people will suddenly want a parrot or other companion bird. This is where I have to put on my PSA hat and warn against anyone thinking of impulse buying a parrot, whether it’s a budgie or a cockatoo. Domestication is a relatively new thing for parrots and one is essentially still living with a wild animal, even if it's a little budgie!

First and foremost, you must love the bird personality. This means that you must love and tolerate their curious and expressive natures. Birds are extremely social and parrots moreso; if you want a pet that is going to be a decoration, please get a pet rock! A pet bird will want to be with you a great deal of time.

Then there's also:
  • Birds are messy and loud. This is just a fact and the way that they are!
  • Birds need specialized care. It’s important to budget for vet care as well as live near a vet. This website can help you find an avian vet.
  • Parrots live a long time. A budgie can live past 10 with good care and a macaw up to 80 or 90 years.
  • Birds need the biggest cage you can afford. Many bird cages are really birdie prisons and will literally drive a bird crazy. Find out the minimum dimensions for a species and then double or triple it.
  • Parrots are highly intelligent and need room and stimulation or else they’ll get bored

Lastly, birds are fragile and there are risks to keeping a flighted creature in your home. Open doors and windows are the best way to lose a bird, as are toxic fumes and sprays, candles and stoves.

Entire books have been devoted to parrot care, and there are many excellent online communities where one can ask questions, such as Parrot Lovers and Tailfeathers Network. Please for the love of the birds, prepare yourself before you purchase one. And don’t forget to check out free to good home ads or the SPCA. Many wonderful birds, like Muffin, are awaiting a forever home out there!


  1. Very good primer on those wanting to get a bird. Since I have a cat (even though she has caps on her claws) I would never get a bird.

  2. Really great post. Yes impulse buying is no good when it comes to pets, especially birds. There are so many dangers you need to know about and things you can do wrong that will in the future come back to bite you.

    I researched all parrots more than a year before I brought my sun conure home, and I am so glad that I did. Originally I was going to buy a cockatoo, but after doing research and getting to know one in my building I discovered 1. that the dander was horrible for my allergies and 2. that I really prefer a smaller bird and 3. Wow are they loud lol

    Also really depends on your living situation and income as you need to be prepared for vet costs, food, toys, etc.

    Ok wow I just joined your PSA lol

    I can't wait to see the movie, looks so cute.

  3. Good post Christine. This is true of any pet be it a dog, cat, bird, rabbit or reptile! A well informed owner makes for a happy owner & pet!

  4. Excellent post Christine! Alot of good information!! As Debbie said, a well informed owner makes for a happy owner and pet! Happy Easter!

  5. Great post Christine, all so true. I loved Rio, too =) Kathryn

  6. I'm so glad you all agree with me! Sometimes we end up with pets by accident, but education is so important. I had no idea that Muffin could be such a handful actually when we picked him up.

    It's a great time to research pets too, because although we read books on budgie care before we got our first budgies, a lot of the books weren't very good in retrospect.

  7. Thanks for your comments on my sea turtle painting. Yes, I have five Eclectus. Did you see the ACEO I did of two of them? If not, here's the link, Kathryn

  8. Thanks for sharing your link Kathryn (I hope I have your name right lol)

    Beautiful painting and birds. I love Eclectus parrots, you really captured their personalities and I didn't know you had parrots. I have a sun conure, birds are so much fun.