Bird Is The Word

By: Pam Wiese Email
By: Pam Wiese Email

Looking to make an addition to your family during this new year? Dogs and cats aren't your only option. The Nebraska Humane Society in Omaha has other pets ready to be adopted.

In the Critter Corner there’s a whole new flock of feathered friends. Birds can be wonderfully entertaining pets, but you'll want to bone up on bird basics before taking one home.

The American budgie is a favorite among bird owners and parakeet lovers. At about seven inches in length, these parakeets come in more than a thousand colors. The most common has a bright green chest with green and black wings. English budgies are about 10 inches from beak to tail and are considered less active and not as smart as their American friends. Budgies may be small, but they do need some space so the rule is the bigger the better.

Parakeets fly horizontally so the cage should be wide enough to allow them to flap their wings, play with toys and climb. Cages should not be smaller than 18 inches. Bar spacing should be a half-inch at most. Cage placement should be in a warm area where your parakeet will see a lot of the family, but do not house him or her in the kitchen as cooking fumes can kill birds.

Parakeets are intelligent, active birds. They love to play and need mental stimulation, so bells, swings, ladders and mirrors are good to have in the cage. If you have an enclosed room, you can let your bird out once a day for better exercise, but always supervise them. Things to watch out for include open windows and also closed windows, which can be a hazard because your bird can't tell it's closed and may fly into the glass. Plants and wiring as well, because these guys are excellent chewers. Temperatures should be monitored, especially if your bird is using a bird bath, make sure the room is warm.

The down side is birds can be messy and talkative while the upside is if you spend time with them they get to know you. Once they're comfortable with you, training is fast and fun. Parakeets are great talkers and can also be taught to do tricks.

The Nebraska Humane Society, located at 8929 Fort Street, is open weekends from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and weekdays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. You can always look up animals and find information at

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