more bird stuff
This was going to be a comment to this post, but it was getting long so it's going to get a post all its own instead.
I've read alot about parrots. Right now, I would love to have one. But I have neither the time nor the space to bring up a full-grown bird, so I won't get one. I won't have one until I can do it properly. As the commentor points out, birds are not only much smarter than most pets, they can be much more difficult, and a few mistakes can be disastrous.
I actually have some family members that bought a parrot, an African Grey, in Africa, that had been caught in the wild. I don't know how old it was when they bought it, but man was it a miserable creature. It hated people, it had no feathers because it was constantly pulling them out, and eventually it died. I personally think that they were the best bird-parents in the world, but that's only my opinion, the critter may have been scarred before they even got it.
When I bought my cockatiel, I went all out. Bought the best cage, the best food and treats, and a plethora of books on how to treat the little bugger. Not only were the books, in my opinion, wrong on several points (after bringing one up), but a cockatiel is a much easier bird to raise than a parrot. A cockatiel dosen't have all that much brain-power, he'll learn to love you as long as you keep feeding him.
Anyway, that was sortof my whole point: the research is implicit. I've already read alot about them; I know that many birds that people call "mean" are only that way because of their owners.
Alot of people buy pets, especially birds and fish, as an ornament, a decoration. People buy them and then don't expect to do much with them; they are to sit in the corner and look pretty and play when their owner wants them to. Fish, generally, accept this; feed them every so often and they are happy. But a bird needs more, from bugees to Alex, they won't stand for being left in a cage all day long. Birds need interaction and stimulation, and the smarter the bird, the more stimulation they need.
Which begs the question, how would I treat a parrot? I already explained the lengths I went to for my cockatiel, which is a rather simple bird. But more importantly, around our house, the pets are treated extrodinarily well. The cockatiel is free from his cage 24/7. We talk to the chinchilla like he can understand us. The people in the house may be eating pasta for the tenth time that week, but the animals have good food. And they eat our food despite our buying them the good stuff.
The pets in our house are treated, really, like people; not like ornimentation but rahter like defenseless roommates. We take care of them as we would a relative. A relative that was completely dependant upon us for his survival and happiness; we research the topic and do everything we can to make them happy.
Occasionally, we may even go to ridiculous lengths. We have a tank of Sea Monkeys, AKA Brine Shrimp, that live like kings. We've read all the literature on them, and know how best to raise them.
I certianly wouldn't do anything less for an animal as smart as a parrot. If I ever was to buy one, it wouldn't be until I could give it what it needs. I'd read whatever I could get my hands on first, find a decent breeder, and do everything I could to make sure it is raised properly.
I hope I can focus that much attention on my children, should I ever have any. Birds are much more interesting.