ASPCA has declared January as National Adopt a Rescued Bird Month.
In an attempt to find loving and permanent homes for the thousands of companion birds that are abandoned each year, the ASPCA and other animal welfare organizations encourage owners to consider welcoming a feathered friend into their homes and families.
10 things to know before getting a bird:
1. Adoption is a great option. Because birds are often more difficult to keep than people anticipate, many avian rescue groups and local shelters are overflowing with unwanted birds.
2. Birds live a long time. It is important to note that some birds live much longer - between 25 and 60 years - than dogs or cats, so be prepared for a lifelong friend.
3. Find a reliable avian vet. Remember, your bird will require the same vet care and regular examinations that a cat or dog would, except you will need to visit a veterinarian who specializes in birds.
4. Birds love a varied diet. Seeds, grains, beans, vegetables, fruit and a high quality pellet food are all good choices. It's also important to note that most birds need to eat half their weight in food every day.
5. Birds can be noisy. Birds sing and chirp, but they also squawk and screech. Not all of their vocalizations are soothing and pleasant; some can be downright ear-splitting. Take this into consideration, especially if you live in an apartment building.
6. Birds like space. Provide your feathered friend with the largest cage possible—no space is too big for a creature adapted to flying through jungles and across savannas. A typical cage for small birds should be about 25 inches tall and 25 inches from front to back.
7. Birds are sensitive to their environment. It is important to place your bird's cage in a warm, bright area, close to where the action is but away from drafts and direct sunlight. Avoid kitchens at all costs—birds are extremely sensitive to fumes from self-cleaning ovens and Teflon-coated cookware.
8. Birds are social butterflies. Birds can be every bit as loving and affectionate as dogs or cats. In fact, they should be taken out of their cages and handled every day for at least an hour. Daily exercise and ample out-of-cage time are the keys to a happy, well-adjusted bird.
9. Birds need exercise. Just like any other creature, birds can become overweight and unhealthy if they don't get enough exercise. It's important to let your bird out of his cage each day for free flight.
10. Birds are naturally clean. Like cats, birds are self-cleaners, as they preen their feathers daily. No smelly shampoos or flea baths for this feathered pal, keep up your bird's good looks with a simple nail trim.
For more information about adopting new feathered friend, visit Petfinder.com or contact your local avian rescue organization.
Note: Georgia is a young female macaw available for adoption through Parrot Education & Adoption Center in Pittsburgh, PA.