Parrots are a huge commitment, they're highly intelligent and wild animals. Sorry that the post is so long, but I've met so many neglected birds and bird shelters are always so over packed because people don't know what they're getting into, sorry if it sounds harsh I just want to make sure you know what your getting into if you decide on a bird over a chinchilla or rabbit.
I'm not sure why the person above said birds are not hard to keep. Here's my opinion.
Birds are very hard to keep, for me it's easy because I understand bird behavior and can read the subtle body language but for someone new theres a ton of mistakes that can be made. Also, keep in mind that some birds will hate their owners, or just prefer someone else in the house. Most birds prefer a specific gender as well, mine prefers men so I countered that by socializing her with lots of men and women, in a way it makes me feel a little special that I'm her favorite person even though I'm a girl.
A few important facts
-Parrots cannot live on seeds only, they need a high quality pellet diet, fresh fruits, veggies, grains, eggs, and other healthy foods to stay healthy. When feed a seed only diet most parrots will develop organ failure, fatty tumors, or fatty liver disease and die a early death.
- often when a bird is purchased it is young and cuddly, then they start going through puberty and they go through the teenager years. With a cockatiel this is pretty easy but the larger birds can be unpredictable to a untrained eye and even a medium sized bird can send you to the emergency room to get stitches. Once the teenage years are over your bird will go through breeding seasons once a year and have varying degrees of hormonal aggression. Sometimes intense and sometimes barely noticeable, just depends on the bird.
-Birds are not mammals and breath with a series of air sacks. The air is kept in their bodies much longer and things that are fine for you and I can kill a bird in 15 minutes or less in some cases.
Self cleaning ovens,
Non stick pans and any Teflon products,
burning oil, over heated pans, and smoke
and much much more.
-Way to many people pet birds in completely inappropriate ways. Petting a bird on the back is fine if you can read it's body language and not over due. If you aren't careful you'll be telling the bird you want to be it's mate and start a relationship that is absolutely cruel to the poor bird, they should never be forced to watch the love of their life having a relationship with someone else. Several species will react violently by attaching the offending person, or punishing the person they believe to be their mate.
-lots of socialization, harness train the bird so you can take him/her out with you places if you want. Let them meet people of different races and see new things. Some people don't agree with this and that's fine, while outside your encounter different germs and wild birds who might carry diseases, it's a risk and some people will take it while others don't.
-If your bird ever bites or screams angrily at you it's always your own fault. They are doing this to tell you something is wrong and you should never be punished for it. In fact, punishing all together is not recommended. With birds positive reinforcement is the way to go.
-Some birds shouldn't have their wings clipped for health reasons. Galahs are a good example, these cockatoos are prone to obesity and when given a improper diet and no vigorous exercise only achieved with flight they will barely make it to the age of 30 if you lucky, With healthy pellets they might make it to 45. These birds can live into their 60 or more if exercised and fed a healthy diet, without these the most common thing that kills them is fatty liver disease and they often will show fatty tumors.
I have a Galah Cockatoo, she was abused and neglected by her past owners, some friends of mine rescued her when her owners was trying to give her away because her husband was going to kill her. She was in a budgie cage that needed to be cut open for her to get out, she had a broken leg and both her legs where extremely weak, part of her upper mandible was missing, her feathers where brown/yellow tinted probably caused by a bad diet. She was also a plucker and still has some large bald patches. She was so terrified and would throw herself on the bottom of the cage so hard that she would injure herself when someone walked by.
When I brought her home she was much better, but still had almost no grip in her legs. She was very flighty and new things scared her. It took about 6 months for her legs to get their strength back and to get her off the sunflower seed diet my friends gave her.
Rosie in her Harness out on a walk
Rosie flying. You can also see a section she plucked, it looks better but we're still working on it.