Many birds navigate thousands of miles twice a year to migrate, so they are terrific problem solvers. According to the National Audubon Society, birds have problem-solving capabilities and cognitive skills that indicate a high degree of intelligence. They can use tools and even count from left to right.
Besides being among the most popular pets, chickadees, parrots, and cockatoos all have finely-honed problem solving and mimicking skills. And while crows may not be suitable birds to be kept as pets, their reasoning skills have been likened to those of a 7-year-old human.
Suited for Stay-at-Home Households
Birds are creatures that flock, meaning that they are used to having companions at all times. A single bird will want a friend as much as humans do. Many will sing to you, sometimes talk to you, and play with you, especially if you spend time together with a bird out of its cage.
Compared to the four-legged pets that typically roam free and unattended within their owners' homes, birds are relatively easy to care for. They can be placed inside their cages for safety when owners are at work or busy. Many people prefer the convenience of cleaning a birdcage once daily to scooping a litter box or having to go for mandatory walks outside every few hours with a dog.
Require Minimal Grooming
Birds are naturally hygienic animals and preen their feathers daily to keep them shiny and clean. Rather than having to deal with shampoos, flea baths, and expensive haircuts, bird owners can usually maintain their pet's health and good looks with a quick nail trim and a feather clipping now and then.
For cleaning, a bird only requires a light shower or spritz of clean, non-chlorinated water once or twice a week. For physically challenged owners, the ease of bird care is a welcome relief.
Social With Humans and Other Birds
Given proper training and socialization, birds can be every bit as loving and affectionate as a cat or dog. Some pet birds are inseparable from their owners, even accompanying them on daily errands such as trips to the bank or grocery store. (This isn't the best choice for pet birds in colder climates). They can also be easily trained to do simple tasks and tricks for you since they are excellent at mimicry.
Birds do recognize their owners, cage, and toys, and many birds will sit on your shoulder to communicate that it's time for dinner. The more time you spend with your bird outside of the cage, the more creative the responses you will receive when you interact.
If you find yourself leaving the house more, you can always get a second companion bird to add to the flock. But it's always best to let your current bird have a say in picking out the new bird as birds decide who they like and don't like fairly quickly.
Relatively Inexpensive to Feed
The biggest birds eat only a very small volume of food per day relative to other pets, and even the highest quality bird foods and fresh produce are mainly plant-based foods that are much less expensive pound for pound than the protein-packed products required for dogs and cats.
It's important to provide pet birds with a high-quality diet of pelleted food, seed foods, and pre-washed fresh produce. Yet they will benefit tremendously from the mealtime foods their owners share.
Whenever you serve fresh fruits or vegetables in your home, just set a tiny portion aside for your bird's meal so that you all can eat together as a flock. In this way, you'll never over-prepare food your bird might reject and waste.
Your bird will love the end pieces you would normally cut from vegetables and fruits from the refrigerator. Put the usually discarded raw bits to good use in your bird's dish; they'll provide added nutrients and variety. Just make sure that the foods you share are safe and not toxic to birds.
Thrive in Small Living Spaces
Small bird species, such as budgies, canaries, and finches, are good options for people who live in apartments or condominiums with limited space. While larger pets require extra room to romp and play, a small bird's cage can easily fit into a cozier living space.
Landlords often impose monthly "pet fees" on tenants who own cats and dogs, but many don't consider birds as pets. While you'll need to read the fine print of your lease, a bird can be an economical choice for renters who wish to adopt a pet without paying extra for the privilege.
In close quarters, be aware of the potential sound level of the birds you might bring into a home with other residents close by. If neighbors get disrupted by the sounds your bird makes at odd hours, you could potentially get an unwanted call from your landlord.
Those who have lost a longtime pet are sometimes reluctant to go through the experience again, especially if children are involved.
Many bird species live long lives, some more than 100 years. This often eases the concerns of people who want to make sure they adopt a pet they can love and enjoy for a very long time.