Parrot in a cage

Most people choose to get a dog or a cat as a household pet. Not you, though: You're bold and not afraid to think outside the box. Why not consider getting a pet bird, then? They're not as messy as you think -- and they're a ton of fun!

Reason no. 1:
They can talk!

Birds get a bad rap in the pet world. Some dog and cat lovers think they're dirty and obnoxious animals better left to the wild.

"Alfred Hitchcock ended a classic movie with eye-pecking killer birds --. enough said," one anti-bird pet owner told SheKnows. Oh, how wrong they are: Birds are actually the perfect pet for those who can't — or don't want — the typical dog or cat as a pet.

Why should you consider getting a bird? Well, do you have all day? Because there are plenty of reasons why birds make great pets.

birdThey're inexpensive

Unlike dogs and cats, birds only require a tiny bit of food and water a day to sustain them. Birds require a diet of high-quality pelleted food, but you can also set aside some bits of fruits and veggies from your kitchen to supplement their diet. Just make sure you don't give them foods such as avocados, apple seeds, onions, chocolate and mushrooms — those foods are highly toxic to our little feathered friends.

Besides food, the largest expense you'll have for pet birds are their cages. You don't even need expensive cage liner to clean up their bathroom breaks — just line it with the newspaper when you're done reading it.

They're intelligent

Calling someone a "bird brain" might be an insult, but birds are actually one of the most intelligent creatures in the animal kingdom. Think about it: What other animal learns to mimic human actions and speak actual words? That's what we thought.

They're low-maintenance

Birds don't require nearly the amount of attention that dogs and cats need — you don't have to walk, house-train or entertain them. It's also a lot easier to clean out a bird cage than a litter box.

They're perfect for small spaces

It's not always the best choice to bring a dog or cat into a tiny apartment — there just isn't enough room for them to run around and entertain themselves (without eventually destroying your favorite stilettos). Not birds: All you really need to keep a pet bird is a few feet of space to put its cage.

Also, many landlords don't consider birds as "pets," so you won't have to pay extra fees to keep a bird at your place.

baby birdThey're social

We like to think that those people who bring their pet birds with them on errands as a bit "out there," but it's actually not that weird. Why? Birds are extremely social animals that can get even more attached to their owners than dogs or cats. A bonus: Your bird will always be there to listen to you complain about your crappy day and comfort you with a sympathetic chirp.

Tell us

Why do you like having a bird as a pet? Share in the comments below!

More on pet birds

10 Tips for training your baby bird
Top 10 'talking' birds
Trim your bird's nails and live to tell the tale

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Comments

Comments on "Top 5 Reasons to get a pet bird"

Jocelyn February 22, 2014 | 9:23 AM

I have had a bird for 1 year( Only because I got my mom into buying one). The person that gave away the bird that is now mine, was trained with newspaper on the bottom of the cage so she isn't really messy but she can be messy. And every time I walk past her, she squawks like she wants MORE and MORE attention.

Chris July 10, 2013 | 9:14 PM

I just realized I was completely negative! I love my bird so much! She talks to me, gives me smooches on my nose (with sound effects), and is just a clown. She's an awesome pet in a small package!

Chris July 10, 2013 | 9:10 PM

Low maintenance? Maybe some finches, but no parrot is low maintenance! I have a green cheek, a smaller parrot, and she's hardly low maintenance. She wants out of her cage every time I walk by, and wants to be with me ALL the time. Keep in mind, this is a small bird! Large parrots require MUCH more care, space, and attention. They're messy, they can be loud, and they demand attention. If you really want a bird, go get a couple finches or parakeets. That will give you an idea of the mess. Now add a very needy dog that loves you, but wants to be completely independent at the same time. They are mischievous, they want to get into everything, and, for good health, they require fresh fruits and vegetables to be cut into edible sizes. I'll say this: if you can deal with the mess of the finches/parakeets and you've raised puppies or kittens, you're probably ready for a parrot. Just expect to get bit, pooped on, and be prepared to do some serious training.

Chalky March 05, 2013 | 7:58 AM

This is pretty much the exact opposite of how birds are.

Sara July 13, 2012 | 1:51 AM

These are all the WRONG reasons to get a bird!! I've had parrots for 22 years now (lovebird, cockiteal, quaker aka monk parakeet, amazon, and a red lory). They are NOT low maintenance. They require daily love and attention. They have the intelligence of a toddler (some smarter). It is not fair to the birds to buy them as trophies and ignore them! Lonesome birds can quickly become depressed and rip their feathers out of their skin or can scream loudly and obnoxiously begging for some love and attention. Many live for a long period of time (cockiteals 15-20 years, Amazons can live over 40 years, etc.) As for small spaces, they require the largest cage you can afford. They should be able to fly around a little in their cage, should have many toys (that you rotate each month), and should spend most of their time OUT of the cage, sharing your home with you - not in their cage. They require LOTS of space, lots of attention, and are high maintenance. Bad information such as this article are reasons why so many birds are abandoned once the misinformed owner realizes just how much work they require! Please RESEARCH before posting articles like this ...

shannon June 30, 2012 | 10:19 PM

My family has had birds for over a decade. I never felt like they were inexpensive or low maintenance. Macaws, like shown in the photos, require TONS of time, maintenance and expense.

jennie-lynne June 28, 2012 | 3:05 AM

I have had birds as pets for a total of 32 years.A parakeet for 13 years,and a mitered conure for 23 years.They are loving,funny,smart friends.They will talk to you,snuggle with you,and fly beside you.And as you can see,they are with you for longer than most other pets.My birds also get along with my other pets.All in all, birds make great additions to any flock!!

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