January is recognized as Adopt a Rescued Bird Month. In honor of the many homeless birds living in rescues and sanctuaries across the United States, let’s highlight some important facts about America’s fourth most popular companion animal.
There are over 20 million birds living as pets in the United States. The most commonly kept birds are psittacines, which include macaws, parrots, cockatoos, cockatiels, and budgies. Many people are attracted to having these birds as pets due to their vibrant colors, interesting personalities, and talkative nature. Scientists have even studied their intelligence levels and have equated them with that of a five-year-old human being!
Despite their intellect and social natures, birds can be extremely challenging companion animals. Because they are such social creatures, constant socialization and stimulation is imperative to keep them mentally and emotionally healthy. Parrots also require a healthy, varied diet of nuts, fruits, seeds, and insects. Any change or fluctuation in their routine could cause them to become stressed and frustrated, which can lead them to pull out their own feathers or other forms of self-harm.
So many birds are given up to rescues and sanctuaries every year because their families could not handle the complicated behavioral problems that arise with parrots when they are not in their natural habitat. Parrots can also live up to eighty years, and some families do not understand the lifetime commitment they are signing up for when they bring a parrot into their home.
If you are considering a psittacine as a pet, please remember they are lifelong companions who require the same love and care as any member of your family; they are not merely window decorations or ornaments.
Finally, please adopt your bird from the many overwhelmed bird rescues throughout the United States trying to rehome these amazing and misunderstood animals, rather than buy one from a pet store that depends on inhumane “bird mills” (much like puppy mills) that support the bird breeding industry.