Feathery Friends


Michelle Ho, Staff Writer

Most people who want a pet generally fall into two categories: dog or cat lovers. There are dozens of pets that one could adopt, ranging from exotic imported reptilians to the average stray dog. Birds fall in the middle of this spectrum, being readily available for adoption but are often overlooked when families are looking for a pet. They might seem incapable of being trained or cuddled with, but with the right training and bonding, birds can make amazing companions.

“When I first got my bird, I didn’t know that he could be tamed, so we left him in the cage all the time,” said AHS junior Matthew Ho. “After we began letting him out of the cage, he started trusting us more and would take food from our hands after a lot of training.”

One of the common reasons why people get birds is because they are inexpensive and easy to care for. Birds are relatively easy to adopt or buy from a responsible breeder, with the average small birds like budgies and canaries costing anywhere between $10 to $150. According to Kiplinger, the annual yearly cost (plus unforeseen vet expenses) will add up to approximately $185. Compared to the annual fee of owning a dog, ranging anywhere from $480 to $3,470, birds are very budget-friendly companions!

“The bird we got cost about $150, but overall he wasn’t expensive at all,” said Ho. “He was a yellow canary, and because he was so small, the toys we got him were also pretty cheap, so it was easy to supply him with what he needed.”

Adding to the lower cost and overall smaller size of birds compared to other pets, birds can be equally, if not, more affectionate and playful as a dog or cat. With the proper training and bonding, a bird can be taught to fly to your hand, eat food from your fingers, and just hang out with you while you’re working.

“Some pet birds are inseparable from their owners, even accompanying them on daily errands such as trips to the bank or grocery store,” said Alyson Kalhagen in “7 Reasons Why Birds Make Great Companions for the Right Home. Birds are social animals who naturally live in flocks, which makes them great pets for families and stay-at-home careers.

People who live in small houses or apartments may appreciate a small bird as a pet, as they require much less space than other pets. A large cage is more than enough for a small bird, and that’s it! The rest of the house is your pet’s playground. A bird does not usually need a lot of space, just enough to fly around and to have room for toys. Some birds are loud and others are quiet, depending on their personality and species. It’s important to do your research when finding the perfect pet for you!

“My bird was pretty quiet most of the time,” said Ho. “When he was happy or excited though, he would start chirping in a high-pitched tone, which I didn’t mind. I thought it was cute.”

Birds are incredibly intelligent and make wonderful companions once they have bonded with you, and are often just as cuddly and affectionate as a dog or cat.

“Their social and active nature makes it necessary for [birds] to spend some time out of their cages every day,” said Dr. Laurie Hess in “Are You Spending Enough Time With Your Bird?. “Many bird owners wonder how much time should be spent with birds. The answer? As much as possible!”

To sum it all up, owning a pet bird is generally a much easier task for new pet owners due to their smaller size and lower costs. This does not mean that birds are animals that can be neglected or dismissed, and it is important to understand that the responsibilities of owning a bird are the same as any other pet. They still require space, love, and enrichment to live fulfilling lives, and to get a bird means you are willing and capable of providing these resources. So if you’re looking to add a pet to the family numbers, consider getting a feathery friend! They are sweet, intelligent, bubbly balls of fluff that can make amazing companions.


Photo by Dalton Touchberry