Guest Author - Mavis Metcalf
If you are interested in birds, but have never had one before now, what species should you be interested in? Most people would consider one of the smaller species to be "starter birds". Many people never get past these "starter birds" because they can be a lot of fun to keep.
Generally, "starter birds" to consider, would be a canary, a budgie (or two), a pair of finches, a cockatiel or a lovebird. Other smaller birds that you might be interested in could be one of the smaller conures, such as the Green Cheek Conure or a Caique or Senegal.
Please do not settle for a "starter bird" if you have your heart set on one of the larger birds, such as an Amazon or an African Grey Parrot. If you want your fist bird to be one of the larger birds, please do as much research as possible so you know what to expect from your "starter bird". Hopefully you will be able to find someone who breeds the species that you want, or someone who owns one of these birds, who will allow you to see the full side of ownership - which includes the noise and mess as well as the fun and games.
Look for a bird club, attend meetings and talk to owners of the various species before making your mind up.
One thing to take into consideration when bringing a new pet into the household is the normal lifespan of this pet. Unlike dogs - where the larger dogs have a shorter lifespan than the smaller dogs - larger birds have longer lifespans than smaller birds.
Finches, canaries and budgies lifespans can range from 7 to 17 years, whereas macaws, amazons and african grey parrots can live 60 years or more.
Many people decide that birds are not for them, after they jumped into bird ownership without research. They may have been unaware of the noise and mess that these feathered creatures can make or the committment that is necessary to care for them. In the end, it does not really matter if they started with what is normally considered a "starter bird" or if they started with a larger bird - the result is the same once they change their minds and they have to look for a new home for this bird.
By the way - I put starter bird in brackets throughout because I do not believe that any bird is actually a starter bird. Your starter bird is whatever bird you start with. Please be prepared to commit to that bird for its lifetime. You can upgrade your car or your computer every few years and although life happens and circumstances change, so that you may not be able to keep your bird, please plan on giving him a home for his entire lifespan.