Caring for birds, as for other pets, requires a certain amount of time and energy, so let's get started!
- Clean water. Birds need their water bowls and other delivery systems cleaned at least once daily and more often if your bird likes to put his food in the water to make "bird soup." Some birds will bathe in their drinking water. My large parrot looks comical trying to bathe in his water bowl.
- Clean food bowls. Birds will eat and pick at the food on top and may not see available food below so either replace all food or if the bowl is clean, take off the top layers of seed hulls to reveal fresh food. Most birds will very much enjoy a birdie buffet of fresh fruits and vegetables, too. Bits of banana and citrus will be gobbled up, as will broccoli and carrots.
- Clean habitat. Pet birds are as unconcerned about making a mess as a bird still in the wild and since it is in a confined area, that area will need frequent cleaning. Newspaper makes a good mess catcher in the bottom of the cage. It's easy to fold and toss and to replace.
- Attention. Birds can be quite childlike in their desire for attention and will seek out ways to get you to notice them or talk to them. Even if he is not a "huggy" type bird, he will enjoy your notice.
- Bathing. Most birds enjoy a daily bath. Using room temperature water in a spray bottle gives a nice soft shower effect and some birds like to dunk themselves in a shallow bowl or sink.
- Safety. Remember to turn off all ceiling fans when your bird is out of his cage. Even if his wings are clipped, a bird can fly or flutter pretty high if startled. Also, make sure windows and doors are shut. If you have other pets, it is usually a good idea to keep an eye on things much like a babysitter would. Dogs and cats have a tendency to go after a moving object so it's up to your discretion if they are in close quarters with your bird. Personal safety with birds, especially parrots of size, is important. No matter how domesticated or docile a bird seems, if he is frightened, he could be startled into biting you. It's nothing personal, mind you, it's just how they defend themselves and it's also how they warn others in their flock to flee danger. Since you are part of their flock, you may get a nip for your own good...from the bird's point of view.
- Fun. Feathered friends are fun to be around. I have seen a small, colorful finch jump backwards over and over as long as I was giving her my attention. Parrots that can talk may tell your secrets but they will also surprise you with how well they can put action and words together. My parrot will start telling me, "Bye, be careful," when he sees me making lunch and picking up my purse to go out. He will also tell me what he wants to eat since I have asked him a hundred times, "Do ya wanna nut?" or "Wanna cracker?"
- Health. It's a good idea to locate a veterinarian who will work with exotic animals before you acquire a bird. They can give your bird a clean bill of health, clip your bird's wings if you desire, and they can do gender testing which is fun to know and helps with naming your bird or with breeding. Pet store owners, bird owners or the yellow pages will give you a starting place for finding a good doc for your new pet.