birds

5 Low-Maintenance Pet Bird Species

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Birds are easier to care for than any four-legged pet. And while there is no such thing as a no-maintenance bird, some species are easier to care for than others. From doves to finches, canaries to parakeets, there are many cute, charming pet birds that won't put great demands on an owner's time but will still prove to be good companions.

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Plenty of Bird Species Make Good Pets and Are Easy to Care For

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FINCHES

As long as finches are provided with a proper flight cage and two or three flock-mates to interact with, they require zero handling and out-of-cage playtime. Finches tend to keep to themselves and would rather socialize with other finches than their human caretakers, so those who have little spare time can enjoy the company of birds in their home while only having to feed, water, and clean up after them.

However, a small flock of finches can be quite messy, so keep in mind the balance between allowing them to socialize with each other and having to clean up a big mess.

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PARAKEETS (BUDGIES)

Some bird lovers want a bird that they can hold, train, and that can even learn to talk, but that they don't have to spend every minute of every day holding. A parakeet, or budgie, is the ideal option for that scenario.

While Budgies do bond strongly with their owners, as most parrots do, they are easier to keep occupied than many larger species. A budgie in a spacious cage well-stocked with plenty of safe and interesting bird toys can thrive as long as their owners can devote an hour or two per day of socialization time to them.

This is a big contrast to many other parrot species, some of which need a minimum of four to six hours outside of the cage each day. Consider a budgie if you'd like all the perks of owning a parrot without the huge time commitment.

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DOVES

Doves are hardy, medium-sized birds that enjoy interacting with their owners but are also content to spend a good part of the day entertaining themselves. Unlike a larger bird like a cockatoo or a macaw, a dove isn't constantly in need of attention. 

Because doves are a little smaller than parrots and other popular pet birds, cleaning up after them is much easier. Although it's still important to form a bond with your pet dove, these quiet, pretty birds won't demand much of your time. Keep their cages clean, and you'll have a content, satisfied bird most of the time. 

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CANARIES

Canaries are another excellent choice for bird lovers who prefers a pet to be seen and heard instead of taken out and handled. Much like finches, canaries don't do well with human handling and prefer to stay within the comforting walls of their cages.

There are different types of canaries to choose from, and each variety has different care requirements. However, overall, these little birds are a good fit for those who don't have a lot of spare time to spend with a pet.

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COCKATIELS

Another parrot species, cockatiels are the highest-maintenance bird species on this list. Like budgies, cockatiels require a certain amount of handling and out-of-cage playtime on a daily basis.

However, cockatiels are nowhere near as demanding as some of the larger parrot species. They normally don't talk, but cockatiels are highly intelligent and can be trained to follow commands.

Cockatiels are a great choice for those who have the time to devote two or three hours per day to playing with their pets. As long as it has a large enough cage and a bird-proof area for it to play in, a cockatiel will be a good fit for a would-be bird owner.


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Related: We have more information under our small animal care & avian resources categories.

Rescuing a Sick or Injured Wild Bird & Bird Safety While Fishing

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You may encounter wild birds displaced by the latest bout of blistery, wet weather. As an overview, here are a quick list of temporary care instructions:

Temporary Care Instructions

  • Find a medium/large-sized box and place a folded towel at the bottom.

  • Ensure there are holes in the box big enough for airflow.

  • Place the bird in the box and keep in a dark, quiet place.

  • Keep the bird warm.

  • Please don’t feed the bird.

  • Leave the bird alone; don’t handle or bother it and always keep children and pets away.


Pelican & Bird Safety While Fishing

Catch fish, not pelicans! With just a little extra attention to your surroundings, you and your pelican friends can both have a great day out on the water.

Brown Pelicans are now the most commonly sighted bird on the coasts. Pelicans eat smaller fish that are not preferred by recreational fishermen and that are not commercially important. Pelicans are protected by both federal and state laws.

With their keen eyesight, brown pelicans will spot a fish from high in the air and dive-in. It’s their specialty, after all. After surfacing, they drain the water from their pouch and swallow their catch.

Entanglement in fishing gear may be their number one enemy, leading to a slow death from dehydration and starvation. Bony fish scraps are also a killer, tearing the pouch or lodging in the throat. Feeding pelicans draws them to fishing areas and puts them in danger. Shorebirds, storks, herons, terns, and gulls are also casualties. We can all help keep our pelican friends alive and healthy.

Casting near any bird only increases the chances of hooking one.

Birds focus on the injured fish in a school, which is your lure or baited fish. Pelicans dive for fish on the surface of the water or just below it. When fishing, never cast towards any bird.

Don’t feed the filleted boney carcasses to the birds, even if they are begging for them.

Pelicans and other fish-eating birds such as herons and egrets easily digest the bones of small fish, but can be severely injured by the stronger, sharp bones of the bigger fish you have caught. Carcass bones may puncture the pouch, throat, or intestines, leading to infection and a slow, painful death.

Don’t feed your extra bait fish to the birds.

Feeding attracts birds to fishing areas, where they are more likely to become hooked. It is also illegal to feed wildlife in all state parks.

Always discard your old or tangled fishing line in recycling bins or covered trash cans.

Birds and other wildlife become entangled leading to entrapment, strangulation, starvation, loss of limb, or subject to easy predation.

Lead or zinc weighted jigs, lures, and tackle are deadly toxic.

Instead, opt for stainless steel, tin, tungsten, copper, pewter, or brass, porcelain, or stone fishing gear.


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Don't forget to subscribe to our email newsletter for more recipes, articles, and clinic updates delivered to your inbox (here). Or, you can keep up to date by liking and following our Facebook page (here).

Related: We have more information under our small animal care & avian resources categories.

Poultry Owners: Biosecurity Explained in 6 Simple Steps

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As a poultry owner, you know how important it is to keep your birds healthy. By practicing biosecurity, you can help reduce the chances of your birds being exposed to animal diseases such as avian influenza (AI) or exotic Newcastle disease (END).

"Biosecurity" may not be a common household word. But, for poultry and bird owners it can spell the difference between health and disease. Practicing biosecurity can help keep disease away from your farm, and keep your birds healthy.

Biosecurity: Make it Your Daily Routine

Consistent biosecurity practices are the best way to prevent diseases such as AI and END. The following steps can help you keep your birds healthy:

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Making biosecurity a part of your daily routine while caring for your birds can decrease the chance of END or AI showing up on your doorstep.

Information sourced from the USDA. For a full brochure on biosecurity, read the United States Department of Agriculture's online PDF (here).


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Don't forget to subscribe to our email newsletter for more recipes, articles, and clinic updates delivered to your inbox (here). Or, you can keep up to date by liking and following our Facebook page (here). We also have additional helpful articles under our new Avian category (here).