If you are looking for a parrot to buy, or thinking about getting a parrot, beware of hidden traps and pitfalls. The wrong bird can make everyone's life miserable. Even the right bird can become a nightmare if your situation changes - attending or graduating school, starting a new job, moving, or getting a partner or roommate. The younger you are, the more likely your situation is to change over time in ways you can't begin to expect.
Maybe you are thinking, so what? If it becomes a problem I'll just sell the bird. That is a terrible solution. A parrot is more like a human child than any other "pet" can ever be. For one thing, they are far more intelligent than any normal pet. Also, they are flock animals who mate for life and your parrot probably will look at you as a mate, not as a companion. If the parrot is separated from you for any reason it will grieve, and look for you for a long time. It will probably never forget you, and it could take years for it to form an attachment to a new "owner". This will make the parrot's adjustment to a new home difficult, as it could be angry with the new people for not being you. The new owner might decide that the parrot was a mistake, and send it away to the next home. The more the parrot changes hands, the more stress it suffers, which makes adjusting more difficult, which makes it more likely that it will keep losing home after home. For an intelligent, sensitive creature like a parrot this causes great suffering. Don't let yourself become a link in that chain of misery.
Some parrots live as long as people. You should look at a parrot as a lifelong commitment. How will you manage if you have to move into an apartment where the bird's noise isn't tolerated? What will you do if you meet the love of your life, and your new soulmate and your parrot hate one another? What will you do if you have kids and the parrot bites a child? What if your partner feels that there isn't room for both parrot and children? What if your hours at work change so that your parrot doesn't get enough attention from you and starts screaming or plucking out its feathers? What if your parrot gets sick and the vet bill will be $500? What if YOU get sick and aren't able to care for your beloved bird any more? What if the bird outlives you?
I know this sounds like a lot of potential problems. I mean, it's just a pet, right? What's the big deal? The thing is, parrots really shouldn't be kept as pets. They make terrible pets, but excellent companions. Parrots aren't domesticated the way dogs and cats are - bred over centuries to serve and to live harmoniously with humans. With a parrot, YOU get to be the servant - or at best the equal partner - to your avian overlord.
Most natural parrot behaviors cause problems for humans. They bite, they scream, they chew up the windowsills and the expensive furniture. They take up a lot of space in the house. They take up a lot of time and attention. They need expensive cages and special diets. Most importantly, you can't leave a parrot to its own devices the way you could a cat or dog. Someone has to be there to provide quality time every day. Otherwise they begin to feel neglected.
A parrot suffering from neglect is a terrible thing to see. Parrots don't live alone in the wild, and being separated from the flock usually means dying soon. An anxious, neglected parrot might start pulling out all the feathers it can reach until it's bald as a plucked chicken. If this goes on long enough, the follicles are damaged so badly that the feathers never grow back. Some parrots, especially the highly social cockatoos, will begin to pick at the flesh on their breasts until raw muscle is exposed. A lonely bird might scream incessantly. It might attack anyone who comes in range, or else become afraid of everyone and throw itself against the corner of the cage trying desperately to escape when someone comes near. This is a really bad situation for a parrot.
For all these reasons, you must really think about what is involved BEFORE you get a parrot. Think of all the things that might go wrong, or change, in your life. Then do your research. Read up about the different kinds of parrots - all the species of parrots have different overall personalities and different needs. You might not be able to give a hyper-social cockatoo the attention it requires, but a smaller, more independent bird might suit you just fine. Many people find that cockatiels are great companions. Some will talk, they can be active, affectionate, entertaining, and are less noisy than a mature Moluccan Cockatoo. They can be quite happy in a smaller cage than a big bird would need. In fact, the parrot with the biggest vocabulary I ever saw was Disco, the parakeet. On the other hand, you might be in a position to smother a large needy bird with affection for decades to come. There are many species of parrots, and one of them will be the best for you. Take the time to find that one!
Consider adopting an older bird, say from a parrot rescue. Birds often wind up in these rescues because people became unable to care of them. Sometimes a bird is found in a terrible state of filth and neglect and the rescue is able to convince the owner to let them find a better home. Some of these birds will have issues. Some may be aggressive or fearful or in poor health from a bad diet. It will take time, and a lot of loving patience, to bring some of them back to normalcy. But a rescue parrot can be just as loving and affectionate as one raised from a baby - sometimes even more affectionate, because they know you saved them. Don't let anyone tell you that you must get a parrot as a baby so they will bond to you. Any parrot will bond, and many sweet babies lose their homes when they stop being cute babies and start being aggressive, hormonal adults. You might find an older parrot who is beyond all the hormonal "teenage years" and has mellowed out. You might find a sweet, cuddly, well-socialized parrot who is a joy to be around. Finding a parrot to adopt can be complicated. You still have to research the species and personality, and then you need to meet the bird in person to see if you get along. You can get a sense of whether or not you and the bird will be able to work things out. You might even decide to foster a parrot in your home on a temporary basis to help it recover enough to find a permanent home elsewhere. If it turns out the parrot and you just don't get along, you will at least help it to find a better place. If you do get along, you might decide to adopt it permanently.
WikiBeaks doesn't try to be the ultimate source for information about parrots. We are here to help the person who is just exploring the world of parrots. We are here to provide links to other sites, parrot organizations, books and references so that you can get every bit of information and support you need. We want you to be happy with your bird for a lifetime. Well, to be honest, what we really care about is making sure all captive parrots are loved and have happy, healthy, fulfilling lives. Since parrots don't spend much time online, we will just talk to you instead. We can give you some basic information about health, medical care, and diet - enough to get you started - and tons of links to sources that can give you much better support and advice. Use WikiBeaks as a springboard to launch your parrot research. Ask any questions you like and we will do our best to answer them or to point you to someone who can. WikiBeaks doesn't judge anybody and won't scold you for making a mistake. We are here to help.
A good place to start is "Parrot Secrets 101". Then explore the rest of the site and the other links. You will find a wealth of knowledge and support - and if you still have a question, ask away! Thanks for taking the time to read this, and good luck to your and your feathered companion.