Cardinal as domestic pet?

cardinalMom

New member
Feb 22, 2020
18
0
Hello everyone,

I am very new to this forum and because there isn't much information about this topic I would like to get some advice here.

I live in Germany. Cardinals are unknown here as they do not exist in the wild, but I have a deep love and appreciation for them because I am originally from Wisconsin.

Keeping a cardinal as a pet is not illegal here. My husband and I have the opportunity to give a cardinal that is being kept with other tropical birds a new home. This cardinal has never been wild and to the best of my knowledge was bred in captivity.

I would like to state clearly that I do not believe that breeding animals that are meant to be wild in captivity is a good idea or even moral, however, this cardinal has never known a natural life and he seems very uncomfortable in a big pet store with so many other birds.

My husband and I can provide wonderful home for this bird and if is able to be kept outside (is this possible for a domestic bird?) we have two large gardens.

Before/if we take on the responsibility of cardinal I would like to ask a few questions:

Is it possible that a domestic bird such as this could have a panic attack when moved to a quieter environment such as a family home?

Does a cardinal require special grooming care that we might not be aware of?

Is it possible for a cardinal to carry or transmit illnesses or alergies via their droppings or feathers that could be dangerous to myself or my family?

We would love to provide this cardinal (who'looks' so unhappy) a calm and loving home, but we don't want to do him harm when we mean good.

Thank you,

Samantha
 

Attachments

  • cardinal.jpg
    cardinal.jpg
    75.7 KB · Views: 65
Last edited:

Cardinal

Member
Jul 1, 2014
506
2
India
Parrots
Currently I have none, but I have the capacity to adopt a minimum and maximum of two budgies - preferably a bonded pair or two males.
Hi Samantha

Welcome to the forum. It is very kind of you to think of providing me a home


:p:p:p

:yellow1:
 

Scott

Moderator
Staff member
Super Moderator
Aug 21, 2010
31,560
4,326
San Diego, California USA, Earth, Milky Way Galaxy
Parrots
Goffins: Gabby, Abby, Squeaky, Peanut, Popcorn / Citron: Alice / Eclectus: Angel /Timneh Grey: ET / Blue Fronted Amazon: Gonzo /

RIP Gandalf and Big Bird, you are missed.
Welcome Samantha, deep respect for considering adopting a cardinal and ethical concerns. Hopefully members will have knowledge to share!

I would imagine you'd have little trouble acclimating a captive-bred cardinal to outdoor aviary. A few Google searches yield significant experience with this mode of housing.
Keeping the Northern (Virginian) Cardinal, Cardinalis cardinalis, In Outdoor Aviaries - Part 1 | That Bird Blog
? Cardinals species I have

Chances of zoonotic (animal to human) disease transmission are low, particularly if raised as disclosed. Please keep us updated with your decision! Though we are primarily a parrot forum, birds of all types are beloved!!
 

SailBoat

Supporting Member
Jul 10, 2015
15,024
1,709
Western, Michigan
Parrots
DYH Amazon
As with Wisconsin, Cardinals are a common wild Bird in Michigan.

A couple of needed items required for proper care of a Cardinal would be an Avian Professional that in addition to Companion Parrots will also care for a Cardinal. If none in your area, you may have to find a Wild Bird Vet care facility. Diet will be another important area, as most all Avian Diets are designed for Parrots.

Normally, Cardinals would have a diet a bit heavier on Protein as they need it in the wild to survive. In captivity, it very possible that requires for Protein would be a bit less, hence the need for an Avian Professional.

Cardinals have developed a working relationship with Humans and are commonly seen at Wild Bird Feeds, calling for the Human to fill the feeder, even to a point of Banging on a window to get the Human's attention.

As long as it is not illegal to have one as a companion in Germany, you can bring this Bird home.

Thank you, for your willingness to care for this Cardinal...
 

bug_n_flock

Active member
Jan 2, 2018
1,366
31
Isolated Holler in the Appalachian Wilderness
Parrots
B&G Macaw, Galah, 5 cockatiels, 50 billion and a half budgies. We breed and do rescue. Too many to list each individual's name and age etc, but they are each individuals and loved dearly.
Hey there, welcome. I fully support this! Entirely! Especially in a nice big outdoor aviary that is properly predator proof. Wow, that sounds incredible!



Cardinals are really, very smart and wonderful birds. I had one for less than a day when I was young. A neighborhood cardinal who was a funny little fellow my mom and I had gotten to know over a period of time feeding the wild birds. How he came to be "mine" is a very tragic tale. We noticed him acting odd one day and not really flying or walking, more fluttering along skimming the ground sorta. We went out and caught him to find his leg nearly severed all the way through. Sadly, all vets were closed so we set him up for the night and planned to take him in first thing in the morning, but he passed away overnight. :(



They are wonderful clever impish birds and simply delightful. I look forward to hearing your stories if you do get the little one. We quite enjoyed watching Puck in the neighborhood before his accident or whatever happened.
 
OP
cardinalMom

cardinalMom

New member
Feb 22, 2020
18
0
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #7
Thank you so much for your advice so far everyone, I have attached a picture of the actual cardinal in question to my first post.

Question: this Cardinal has never known outdoor life, would it be unwise to house him outside, even with gradual exposure?
 

Scott

Moderator
Staff member
Super Moderator
Aug 21, 2010
31,560
4,326
San Diego, California USA, Earth, Milky Way Galaxy
Parrots
Goffins: Gabby, Abby, Squeaky, Peanut, Popcorn / Citron: Alice / Eclectus: Angel /Timneh Grey: ET / Blue Fronted Amazon: Gonzo /

RIP Gandalf and Big Bird, you are missed.
Cardinals have developed a working relationship with Humans and are commonly seen at Wild Bird Feeds, calling for the Human to fill the feeder, even to a point of Banging on a window to get the Human's attention.

Hilarious, even wild birds have learned humans can be trained as servants! :D
 

Scott

Moderator
Staff member
Super Moderator
Aug 21, 2010
31,560
4,326
San Diego, California USA, Earth, Milky Way Galaxy
Parrots
Goffins: Gabby, Abby, Squeaky, Peanut, Popcorn / Citron: Alice / Eclectus: Angel /Timneh Grey: ET / Blue Fronted Amazon: Gonzo /

RIP Gandalf and Big Bird, you are missed.
Thank you so much for your advice so far everyone, I have attached a picture of the actual cardinal in question to my first post.

Question: this Cardinal has never known outdoor life, would it be unwise to house him outside, even with gradual exposure?

That's a beauty! Good question, would depend on temperature extremes. I don't know if Cardinals are migratory or adapt to seasonal weather.
 
OP
cardinalMom

cardinalMom

New member
Feb 22, 2020
18
0
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #10
Hello everyone,

I would like to share my list of pros vs. cons of being a Cardinal caregiver, I would love to know if this is realistic or not. I am a first time bird enthusiast so please pardon how naive this all might sound.

I put follow up questions in italics.

PROS:
new home, better life
cardinal is domesticated and cannot be returned to the wild
beautiful reminder of USA
spiritually beneficial

CONS:
cardinal might 'go crazy' outside of pet store/alone
cardinal might accidently fly away Is it ok to have wings clipped?
cardinal might have infections from other birds at pet store Pet store has a vet, what can they verify or check for?
cardinal might attract a predator outside

NEUTRAL
cardinal may need to see a avion vet
cost to purchase cardinal
 

bug_n_flock

Active member
Jan 2, 2018
1,366
31
Isolated Holler in the Appalachian Wilderness
Parrots
B&G Macaw, Galah, 5 cockatiels, 50 billion and a half budgies. We breed and do rescue. Too many to list each individual's name and age etc, but they are each individuals and loved dearly.
Cardinals are also territorial, though. I was thinking maybe you could get him a friend, but that may be projecting. As far as I am aware, cardinals do not flock. They sing to stake out a territory. Yeah, just googled it. Apparently they are like feral cats. They have friend groups, but those groups change often and there is no real social hirarchy. I think the cardinal would be fine with a big sturdy cage, lots to do, and you for company.


As for flying away, yesssss you could clip. That is a very qualified yes, though. Cardinals can't climb around like a parrot, so clipping *seriously* limits them. I have never clipped doves, finches, pigeons, etc for that reason. I think a better way to prevent accidental escape is to have a double door on the aviary. ALWAYS have at least one door shut. Kind of like most dog parks(don't know if you have been to one), there is the aviary and its door, and then sort of a fully enclosed room right out side that door(enclosed in caging material). You walk into the room and close the door and latch it, before opening the aviary door and entering the bird cage.



And yes the cardinal could attract a predator. Am I correct in envisioning a urban or suburban area? Most likely your predators would be small omnivores, cats/dogs at large, and hawks/birds of prey. All of which are likely in your area already. It isn't so much attract a predator, as it is grab their attention. A well built cage and thoughtful placement could help to significantly protect the bird.



I wouldn't worry too much about potential illnesses, as you don't have other birds. Yes, there are some illnesses that birds can give to people, but I do not claim to be an expert. But I will say I have been up close and personal with birds in professional, volunteer, rescue, pet, etc etc etc situations for over 20 years and it has never been a thing I have had to deal with. Knock on wood. I'm sure other members could advise you better on that, though.
 

clark_conure

Supporting Member
Jul 14, 2017
2,630
Media
21
75
Minnesota
Parrots
Cinnamon Green Cheeked Conure CLARK (F) and a Quaker crossover SCUTI (F) and 4 budgies
In my humble uninformed opinion the reason parrots make good pets and wild birds are "wild birds" is based on evolution and environment. In the tropics, life is easier, food more plentiful and as such parrots evolved more "peacefully?" and social. Making them great bonders, and big "SOCIAL" flocks In the more northern climates it's more of a competition, that's why people don't regularly own bluejays and robins and cardinals etc. The birds are more suited to competition for resources etc.

I think a cardinal raised from an egg might make a good pet because it didn't have to fight for resources before, but its lineage did come from a long line of more northern birds........

Just a thought.
 
Last edited:

Noahs_Birds

Supporting Member
Oct 24, 2019
450
384
Toowoomba/Highfields, QLD, Australia
Parrots
Yellow Sided GCC's, Rosa Bourkes Parrots, Full Red Fronted Turqoisine Parrots, Quaker Parrots 'Scomo PM' 'Jenny PM's wife', PLUS: Rare Finches, Doves and Quail
In Australia, we have/ had Cardinals brought in as the pet trade, but up until recently where with no blood being brought in as live imports were banned most, have dissapeared unfortunately and there are just a few left in Aus
We have the Red Crested Cardinal in Australia, but we did have the Yellow, Virginian and Green Cardinal as well around 30-40 years ago
Australian breeders used to breed very large amounts of them, in fact they believe Australia bred the most and best Cardinals in the world
Cardinals are best kept in a fairly large, planted outdoor aviary
A good varied diet like Fruits, seeds, Insects like moths, crickets, waxworms and mealworms (only small amounts of mealworms as they are very fatty) are essential, especially if you want to breed them
The more varied the diet, the better
If you have any more questions, I am more than happy to answer them
Cheers
Noah Till
 
OP
cardinalMom

cardinalMom

New member
Feb 22, 2020
18
0
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #14
Thank you everyone so much for your advice. We have adopted the cardinal and named him Amadeus!

He is quite comfortable in his new surroundings and seems to be happy with seeds, nuts, and dried worms we have fed him thus far. I am happy he no longer has to live indoors with (too many) very loud tropical birds.

He seems to enjoy being outside (at least) listening to the neighbourhood birds, sitting on his perch and 'hopping' around from time to time.

Sincerely,

Samantha
 

Attachments

  • 20200224_202648.jpg
    20200224_202648.jpg
    87.2 KB · Views: 37
  • 20200225_095111.jpg
    20200225_095111.jpg
    95.2 KB · Views: 73
OP
cardinalMom

cardinalMom

New member
Feb 22, 2020
18
0
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #17
Thank you very much for the love everyone.

Amadeus is doing quite well. I am not as familiar with the intricate behaviours of wild birds, is there a reason he likes to throw a lot of his food into the bird bath in his aviary?
 

Aspie_Aviphile

New member
Jul 19, 2018
145
0
England
Parrots
Biddy, budgie, departed 2nd Sept 2018; Bo, Indian Ringneck, 5th Feb 2020; </3
Amadeus is doing quite well. I am not as familiar with the intricate behaviours of wild birds, is there a reason he likes to throw a lot of his food into the bird bath in his aviary?

Some birds do that to soften the food.
 

Most Reactions

Latest posts

Top