Birds are fascinating creatures for adults to watch, but even more so for some children. Choosing a bird that will not only match your lifestyle but will match the level of care that your child is able to provide will allow your child to take an active and important part in the bird’s care. A positive experience with a pet bird will increase your child’s sense of responsibility and foster the importance of caring for other than self. The bird will benefit from being provided with all that it needs to live a long, happy and healthy life. Here are 3 birds that make great pets for children.
The 3 birds below are chosen because they are relatively inexpensive, do not need as much human interaction as some larger parrots, are readily available in a wide array of colors in most places, eat a pretty standard diet, and are relatively quiet making them great choices not only in free standing homes but for apartments, condos and townhouses as well. The birds below are by no means the only 3 that make good pets, but they are certainly a good place to start your search. And even though the bird may be billed as your child’s pet, parents should take ultimate responsibility for the care of the bird, and gauge the care that your child provides based on their maturity and ability.
Finches come in an amazing variety of colors and sizes. They are active and cheerful little birds (usually 3- to 8 inches) that chirp quietly, and need a cage that allows them to fly from place to place. They will do best if paired with another finch that is compatible. Pairing them means they can interact with each other rather than depending on their humans. The cage needs to be at least 18 inches square and bigger if possible especially when housing 2 birds, and needs to contain perches at several levels. Depending on your child’s age their responsibility could include providing daily water, food, and changing the paper on the bottom of the cage. A cage with a pull out tray at the bottom makes this an easy task that does not require handling the bird or risk the bird’s possible escape from the cage. Note that Finches born in the United States are illegal to have as pets.
Parakeets or Budgies are relatively easy to care for, and having 2 will insure that they can provide the social interaction for each other that they need to stay physically, and emotionally healthy. Of the birds discussed here, they have the longest lifespan, living 10 to 15 years. Give careful thought before adopting this bird as it means a long term commitment that may continue even after your child moves away from home. Available in all colors and sizes, the hardest part will probably be in choosing from such a huge selection.
Canaries have been man’s feathered friends through the ages and vary in size from about 5 to 8 inches. Many think of this bird as canary yellow, and while that continues to be a popular color, they are also available in varying shades of red and orange. Their wonderful songs provide many hours of pleasure with the male tending to sing better than the female. These birds are pretty hardy with females living 5 to 6 years and the male sometimes up to 10 years with good care. It is essential to have a large cage that will allow your bird to exercise his wings by being able to fly inside the cage-long being better than tall. Avoid placing the cage in a drafty area as this will kill your bird without warning. Be sure to keep room temperature between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. These birds, as all birds, have very sensitive respiratory systems, and at one time were taken into mines to detect poor air quality. When the Canary died it was an indication that the air was no longer safe. Remember to keep your bird away from the kitchen as many fumes produced there are deadly to your bird (smoke from a burning Teflon pan for one).