What to know about keeping a pet bird

By Talib al Wuhaibi –

Most Omanis like to have birds as pets in their houses. Birds come in an amazing variety of shapes, colours and personalities. It is important to find the right bird that fits your lifestyle. Some birds need a vast amount of attention and work, especially parrots, but even some smaller birds need a lot of love and handling to ensure that they are happy and friendly.
Many people have allocated special corners for the nests and cages of these lovely birds.
“Large cages are important to give the birds sufficient space to fly freely”, shared Ibrahim al Jardani, a hobbyist who loves to raise birds and take care of them in his house.
Ibrahim feels attached to these species since he was little. In the beginning, he was keen on buying only small birds but he noticed that they die fast as he wasn’t able to take care of them due to the nature and atmosphere of the place. Later, he decided to buy other breeds that he thinks can adapt better to the environment. He searched across the governorates to find the breeds that he wants. He also started making cages himself.
“There are many things you need to consider before you settle on a species, including the lifespan of the bird, size of the cage it needs, food it will require, the noise level of the bird, and the time and attention the species needs”, he said.
Al Jardani added that Omani nature is rich in a variety of good breeds of birds due to the variety of terrains in the Sultanate. The deserts, wadis, mountains, hills, vast gardens, greenery oases, the springs and Aflaj, all are homes to different kinds of birds.
“I mostly focus on the breed of the bird before looking at its colours and look. Many birds don’t fit our lifestyle and weather. Having pets that are not ideal for my lifestyle or its environment would be an extra burden that I don’t need”, he explains.
“After that initial assessment, I might get attracted to the colour and also the birds that make lovely sounds. I love to listen to their voices in the early morning. It gives the feeling that everything is innocent and it relieves you when the going gets tough”, he shared.
Al Jardani owns almost a dozen varieties of birds collected over the years.
“I own many birds, including partridge, Chinese, Thai and Ethiopian pigeons, Mexican dove, fruit pigeon, as well as I have quail and various types of parrots such as Indian, Fisher parrots, Canary, budgies and zebra finch’’, he specified.
He suggested that beginners who do not have a lot of time to spend with a pet bird should consider species such as canaries or finches. If you have a bit more time and have an interest in parrots, then you could consider parakeets (budgies) or cockatiels, which are smaller members of the parrot family and are friendly, relatively quiet, and easy to tame if you get a young bird.
Taking care of birds isn’t as easy as many people think. Before getting birds as pets, one must have to bird-proof one’s home accordingly. There are things around the home that are considered hazardous to birds. Things you probably wouldn’t think of like your cookware, scented candles and deodorizers.
Al Jardani shared that the respiratory systems of birds are delicate. If you are a smoker, then a bird might not be the right fit for you. Some plants are perfectly safe, while others are potentially fatal to birds. It is important to know about all the household hazards that can harm a bird.
Al Jardani advised also that one should consider his own health and his family’s before giving any animal as pets. He explained that some birds might be dangerous and can carry germs that make people sick.
He said it is important to keep your bird healthy but at the same time, a human’s health must always take precedence. He advised washing your hands every time after you handle your bird. Although these bird-borne illnesses are rare, you will still need to be vigilant about handwashing.