Picking a conure (or other parrot) for my lifestyle

Ever since I was ten years old I have always wanted a pet bird from the parrot family. They're so uniquely intelligent and social, and I wanted a bird that would enjoy being handled. After a few years and much research, I even bought a large cage and some toys just in case I ever came across the right bird! But exotic birds are scarce in my area and that time never came. I sold the cage ten years later.

My current dog is beyond her lifespan and still going strong, but when she passes, I would like to purchase a bird next. Consider this research for getting a bird in a couple (or more) years.

I am aware parrots can be loud (comes with the territory of being a bird) and require lots of enrichment and destructible toys. Since members of the parrot family live for a long time, there are no "starter birds," so I am going to jump right into the species I want with best foot forward. I've owned and trained dogs, cats, and horses. I am a gentle and consistent trainer with extremely well behaved pets, so I have no doubt I'll be able to train a bird.

Specifications

Before fully committing to a species, I need some advice! I would like a species that fits the following specifications:
  • Comfortable as an only bird
  • Can be taken out in public
    • Enjoys walks (with a harness and leash)
    • Friendly enough to take to visit students (strangers) in a classroom setting (I'm a martial arts instructor)
  • Doesn't mind long car rides, seeing new places, or otherwise traveling with me
Other information that may apply:
  • I am permanently single, will never have partners even on a temporary basis
  • I don't have and will never have kids
  • I don't have friends over often, but I do entertain some close family members on a semi-regular basis
  • My grandmother raised a couple of budgies/parakeets for a little over ten years and I loved interacting with them, even though they could be boogery little nippers when they felt like it
My favorite species has long been the conure due to its size and varying colors, but I also enjoy the boldness of parrotlets. I am willing to consider other species if they're a good fit! I'm excited to have a bird buddy for the first time.

I'd like to avoid members of the cockatoo family as I hear they can be, uh, extra demanding. I spend a lot of time with my pets, but they need to be able to enjoy some alone time too.

Thank you for your time~
 

Vampiric_Conure

Well-known member
May 16, 2022
807
Media
33
Albums
1
1,719
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Parrots
Charlie (M) - 23 yrs - Peach Front Conure
Redshift (M)-22yrs - normal Cockatiel
Moon (M) - 2 ys - wf pied cockatiel
Chara (F)- 1 yr - wf pied cockatiel
I'm biased (HA!), but a pionus sounds right up your alley. They are relaxed birds that don't mind strangers (usually) and are independent birds who know how to entertain themselves. They are good with people coming over, are reasonably quiet (for a parrot) and are not very demanding. Nowhere as bad as cockatoos.

The down side?

They're rare as unicorn teeth. If you can find one, BONUS! They can be expensive, too, as a result.
 

wrench13

Moderator
Staff member
Super Moderator
Parrot of the Month 🏆
Nov 22, 2015
11,444
Media
14
Albums
2
12,661
Isle of Long, NY
Parrots
Yellow Shoulder Amazon, Salty
First off, its much better if the parrot, regardless of species, picks you. You'll be more then 50% of the way there. Second, parrots are individuals, and may not exhibit some or any of the traits a given species is supposed to have. You'll find calm Amazons, Talkative budgies, sociable Ringnecks, shy parrotlets , etc, etc. Third, I have also worked with horses and dogs. Training parrots is totally different - they are smarter on the whole, but again there are smart ones and dumb ones and everywhere on the ol' bell curve.
 
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #4
I'm biased (HA!), but a pionus sounds right up your alley. They are relaxed birds that don't mind strangers (usually) and are independent birds who know how to entertain themselves. They are good with people coming over, are reasonably quiet (for a parrot) and are not very demanding. Nowhere as bad as cockatoos.

The down side?

They're rare as unicorn teeth. If you can find one, BONUS! They can be expensive, too, as a result.
They sound too good to be true! Which means they must indeed come with a hefty price tag haha~ Definitely a species that hasn't come across my radar, so I'll have to research them before deciding if it's worth selling my left kidney for. Thanks!
 
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #5
First off, its much better if the parrot, regardless of species, picks you. You'll be more then 50% of the way there. Second, parrots are individuals, and may not exhibit some or any of the traits a given species is supposed to have. You'll find calm Amazons, Talkative budgies, sociable Ringnecks, shy parrotlets , etc, etc. Third, I have also worked with horses and dogs. Training parrots is totally different - they are smarter on the whole, but again there are smart ones and dumb ones and everywhere on the ol' bell curve.
Indeed! Waiting for a bird to pick me is why I didn't get one when I was younger. When there aren't many around, you don't get many chances to be "the one" for a bird!

I plan to attend my state's bird expo starting this year so I can see if that's a better option for me when it's time to make a purchase. Otherwise I'll have to wing it by finding a reputable online breeder. (There aren't any bird sanctuaries anywhere remotely near me, unfortunately, so adopting an older bird is not an option.)
 

Dunny

Member
Jun 25, 2022
9
31
Parrots
2 Green Cheek Conures - Dunny and Itsy
My wife and I have 2 Conures and we love them and are so blessed to have them in our lives!
But they are VERY demanding, they bond to me 90% and to my wife 10%. They picked me. So I agree, with the bird picking you.
I am limited in my experience with a variety of species, but visiting stores and adoption sites, I see that its really not a matter of species but individuals.
Take your time and find a bird who chooses you. I recommend visiting a couple adoption centers as these birds are usually desperate for a new home and human companion.
Be prepared for a very demanding pet - except when they sleep when the sun goes down.
Watch as many VOD's as you can regarding birds. Just as with most other pets, they must be socialized to behave around other birds and other people. This takes time and patience. Be aware that they are protective of their safe cage, so most dislike any intrusions.
I don't use a harness for them, but I have a friend who does so with good success. (She also has 2 conures.)
Best of luck to you,
-Dunny

IMG_0489.JPG
 

Inger

Well-known member
Parrot of the Month 🏆
Mar 20, 2017
3,401
835
Everett, WA
Parrots
Bumble - Pacific (or Celestial) Parrotlet hatched 02/19/17
Parrotlets are definitely the best birds. However, they are spicy 🌶️ and may not be the best for meeting/accepting new people. And their little beaks pack a painful pinch!

It looks like you're in Northern California-there appears to be one parrot rescue you might want to look into - mickaboo.org
 

SailBoat

Supporting Member
Jul 10, 2015
17,660
10,044
Western, Michigan
Parrots
DYH Amazon
The largest concern that I would have is medical care in your area. If your nearest Certified Avian Vet is a full day's drive away, those hours it takes to get medical care can be mind numbing when you have a serious ill Parrot!. Sometimes a Farm Vet will see Birds /Parrots as they also care for Farm Birds. But, you should really first look for Avian Medical care near you, as dog and cat Vets commonly have zero background with Birds!!

For Parrots, their lifestyle rules as they are not good at 24/7 lights on, TV, on, etc... They more commonly enjoy following Sun based day. Sleeping long during Winter and shorter during the Summer.
 
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #9
The largest concern that I would have is medical care in your area. If your nearest Certified Avian Vet is a full day's drive away, those hours it takes to get medical care can be mind numbing when you have a serious ill Parrot!. Sometimes a Farm Vet will see Birds /Parrots as they also care for Farm Birds. But, you should really first look for Avian Medical care near you, as dog and cat Vets commonly have zero background with Birds!!

For Parrots, their lifestyle rules as they are not good at 24/7 lights on, TV, on, etc... They more commonly enjoy following Sun based day. Sleeping long during Winter and shorter during the Summer.
I have yet to locate an avian vet, which is at the top of my to-do list before getting a parrot! None advertise as such around here, so it'll be another search best accomplished by asking around.

I'm only a few hours from the capital of California, where some bigger parrot shops are located, so there must be one near the city if nothing else. And if I'm lucky, one of the many farm vets in my area might be able to see birds. (Great tip! I wouldn't have thought to ask them.)
 

LaManuka

Moderator
Staff member
Super Moderator
Aug 29, 2018
25,702
Media
26
Albums
1
33,531
Queensland, Australia
Parrots
Fang ({ab}normal grey cockatiel), Valentino (budgie), Jem (cinnamon cockatiel), Lovejoy(varied lorikeet), Peach (princess parrot)
I have yet to locate an avian vet, which is at the top of my to-do list before getting a parrot! None advertise as such around here, so it'll be another search best accomplished by asking around.

I'm only a few hours from the capital of California, where some bigger parrot shops are located, so there must be one near the city if nothing else. And if I'm lucky, one of the many farm vets in my area might be able to see birds. (Great tip! I wouldn't have thought to ask them.)

You are very wise to look into finding an avian vet when acquiring a parrot. They've always been a bit hard to find and sadly are becoming a little harder all the time, in fact my own bird vet has just retired though thankfully his clinic remains open under new management. The following list was compiled a few years ago now but it might hopefully give you some leads in finding an avian specialist close to you ...


Personally I always get any new bird wellness checked as soon as I can after acquiring them. It helps enormously to nip any health nasties in the bud early if they're found, and also establishes a relationship between you and your vet. This can be absolutely invaluable in case of an emergency, because then you're already on their books rather than trying to get in as a new client which can be tricky. Hope this helps, and I'm looking forward to welcoming your new flock member home!
 

Most Reactions

Latest posts

Top