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Pet Birds As Gifts

Updated on February 16, 2015

Welcome to my Bird Gift Guide!

It might seem like the most romantic, exciting, perfect gift. We think of a child finding a parakeet under the tree at Christmas, a lonely retiree gifted a canary for company, fluffy chicks or ducklings in an Easter basket, or a symbolic pair of love birds, and we smile.

In fact, most people never realize the sad reality that many recipients quickly grow tired of their novelty gift, particularly once the fluffy baby grows into a bigger, louder, smellier version. Then, thousands of birds are thrown out to fend for themselves, given to already overworked shelters, or simply neglected until they die.

Not very romantic, or in the holiday spirit, is it?

But there is a way to give a bird as an appropriate gift, and there are other ways of delighting that bird fanatic for Christmas, or their birthday. Read on to find out how you can make the perfect, bird themed gift.

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So You Absolutely Want to Give a Pet Bird This Year... - Here's How to Make the Right Choice

African Grey Parrot by Quartl on Wikimedia Commons
African Grey Parrot by Quartl on Wikimedia Commons

I was given a puppy the Christmas I turned 12 and he was the best present I've ever had. He was like a part of the family, and we kept him with us until he died at a ripe old age.

So, it is possible for a pet to be the best gift of all... but only under certain conditions. For starters, I knew I was getting a dog. I wanted and specifically asked for a dog, and my parents were sure I could handle having a dog.

They even let me pick my own dog. They took me to see the puppies, telling me that I could have one after New Year, then sneakily went back on Christmas Eve and picked up my chosen pup, so I could still be surprised on Christmas morning.

So, you want to give your child, or someone else, a pet bird? There are many ways to go about it. First, make absolutely sure they want a pet bird. Just because they already have one, or have said in passing it might be nice, does not mean they are ready for the commitment. Remember that even a budgie (parakeet) can live for more than 10 years and some parrots can live for more than 40.

Your gift will be noisy, expensive and demanding, so make sure it's really something they want.

Fischer's Lovebirds, by Peter Békési on Wikimedia Commons
Fischer's Lovebirds, by Peter Békési on Wikimedia Commons

The Best Bird For You

People often don't realize that birds have unique personalities, but they all do, and being able to choose a pet bird to suit your recipient's personality is important.

Not only do you have to get the type of bird right, you also have to think about the personality of the individual bird. Will it need another bird as company? Will it need a huge cage? Should you get a hand-raised bird?

These are all questions you need to ask your recipient. Be sure to discuss all the different possibilities thoroughly, so they have no bad surprises on Christmas day (or the day after Christmas, or the day after that...).

Ringneck Dove by Noodle Snacks of via Wikimedia Commons
Ringneck Dove by Noodle Snacks of via Wikimedia Commons

Ways to Do It Right

If you want to make your gift a "surprise" but not see that forced smile on your friend's face when you reveal it, you are going to have to get tricky.

You can do what my parents did and pull a bait and switch, letting your person choose a bird, and telling them they will only get it after Christmas (or their birthday, or whenever).

You can spontaneously have an in-depth discussion with your significant other, or your roommate or whoever, about what kind of bird you should get together, only to end the conversation with ... of course, we'd never actually do it (ah, you ARE nefarious, aren't you?)

Or, far more practically, you can put together your own little gift-set of pet bird essentials and include a voucher. If you want to be really saintly, make your own voucher, stating that you'll drive the recipient to, and pay for, a bird at an adoption agency, or a breeder.

Just remember that different kinds of birds need different kinds of supplies. A canary, for example, needs a long cage, because they have to fly for exercise, while a parrot can have a taller one with horizontal bars so they can exercise by climbing.

If your friend already has a bird...

If your friend has already got a bird, you can buy them any number of fun toys and accessories. Just remember to buy gifts appropriate to the species they own... canaries usually don't play with toys, for example, and may even be injured or scared by them. On the other hand, parrots will love toys, but need the right size toy to enjoy it safely.

What kind of pet bird are you shopping for?

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For finches and canaries

Finches and canaries are generally not social with people and need a lot of space to fly so that they can exercise.

Canaries and finches need a variety of different perch sizes to exercise their feet, so perches can be an excellent gift for someone with a canary.

They also enjoy a bath, so a small bird-bath could be a very nice gift.

For small parrots

Small parrot types include love birds, parakeets (also known as budgies), cockatiels and more. These birds are inquisitive and friendly and can usually be taught to say a few words. They appreciate toys and a chance to exercise by climbing, as well as unusual items like mirrors.

Kaytee Desktop Activity Center
Kaytee Desktop Activity Center

Can't you just see a cute little parakeet climbing all over this gym? It provides them with stimulation and exercise which leads to a happier, healthier bird, and your friend gets to watch the fun!


For Medium-Sized Parrots

Medium-sized parrots includes a large variety of different species so you should do some research on the particular type before buying a gift that will be suitable. Generally they love playing with safe toys made from natural (or indestructible) materials. They can be taught to speak many different words and phrases.

They will easily become bored, so their owner will deeply appreciate appropriate gifts that could keep them distracted.

For Large Parrots

These parrots are near-human in their intelligence and personalities and may have very specific likes and dislikes. It might be best to ask what the best kind of present for them might be. If you do get them a toy it absolutely must be safe for them to chew on, as their bite is very strong and they can become sick or hurt easily if a toy shatters.

Often these birds are allowed to sit outside of their cages so a toy or play center that doesn't go in a cage might be appropriate. They are also very often taught to speak.

Vote in the Poll!

What Kind of Bird Do You Have?

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Budgies Eating Tangerine by Falk Lademann
Budgies Eating Tangerine by Falk Lademann

Comments? - Happy holidays!

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    • Mary Stephenson profile image

      Mary Stephenson 5 years ago from California

      Loved your touching story of getting a dog at 12. I think that is absolutely the best way to get a pet.

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 5 years ago from United States

      Great advice and information! Like any other pet, it is indeed wisdom in action to know that the recipient wants a bird and can/will take care of them. I love the idea of surprising someone who really wants one with a bird on Christmas!

    • indigomoth profile image

      indigomoth 5 years ago from New Zealand

      @LisaKelley: Thanks and thank you for taking the time to comment! :)

    • LisaKelley profile image

      LisaKelley 5 years ago

      Your statement is absolutely true: "First, make absolutely sure they want a pet bird. Just because they already have one, or have said in passing it might be nice, does not mean they are ready for the commitment." I think giving a parrot as a surprise gift is a very risky thing to do. Even if the recipient has done their homework about the parrot they want and feel they are ready, they generally want to pick the parrot out themselves. And the parrot need to pick them, too. Just like you pick the puppy or kitten that you click with, it's the same with parrots. You can't just assume a parrot that you buy will click with the recipient. So I would suggest that if you give a parrot as a gift, that the recipient picks it out. Just my two cents :-) You've got a lot of good information on this site. Good job!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I'd love to have birds, but I have cats.