Choosing Your Bird: The Best Birds for Beginners

Different things make a bird good for the first-time owner. For example, some are good because they don't need — or want — to be handled, and some for the opposite reason, because they are feathered love sponges. The list below includes birds that are reasonably priced, reasonably sized, and just plain reasonable to live with. And while some other birds, such as the blue-and-gold macaw and the cockatoo, can also be excellent first birds, they are more expensive to buy and maintain, and often more challenging to live with.

Canaries

This bird is perfect for beginners who aren't sure they want as much interaction as some other species require. The canary is happy to hang out in a cage and entertain you with beauty and song. In fact, they'd rather not be handled. Because they don't desire handling, the canary is a good children's pet, providing song and beauty and allowing youngsters to observe the wonder of birds close up.

Finches

Finches do better in a social situation, so plan on buying two or more and giving them a cage with plenty of space to exercise their wings — these birds get around by flying and they don't climb for exercise. Also remember that when they're too crowded, territorial cage battles between cage mates will erupt.

Amazon Parrots

Amazons are among the best talkers around, especially the yellow-naped species. They are also beautiful, brilliant, and love to clown around. They love to be in the limelight, and they seem to feed off the attention they attract.

Some Amazon species are easier to live with than others. For beginners, the lilac-crowns, blue-fronted, red-lored, and white-fronted are good choices. These are less demanding, quieter, and all around are easy to handle.

The problem for beginners: Amazons can be too smart. As with any parrot, you need to be sure you're giving your bird lots of structured socialization, a fair share of toys, and plenty of exercise.

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