I’ll be straight and tell you that I’ve never been particularly interested in owning birds. In fact, my mom was deathly afraid of them and didn’t even want to see them fly by the window. It wasn’t until I read Superfudge by Judy Blume when I was a kid that I saw the upside of bird ownership. Once I met bird-obsessed Fudge Hatcher and his myna bird, Uncle Feather, in the book, I understood why people enjoyed these pets so much. Later in life, when my grandma’s dementia sent her to a nursing home, I used to sit in the common room and watch the little finches in their large cages. Their twitters and delicate movements took the edge off the stress I felt in the lock down unit. Neither one of my kids has requested a bird yet, and we probably won’t go down that road. My mother would never visit me again! After some research, though, I did find some awesome bird breeds that I would consider for my own kids if I ever did get them a feathered friend. Here are nine great pet birds for kids.
Finches Make for Simple Bird Ownership
These little birds really are great pet birds for kids or for families that just want to watch and listen to their feathered friends rather than handle them. Finches are social, so they need a cage large enough to comfortably hold several bird buddies. They do NOT like to be held or handled, but they are fairly easy to care for. According to the article “The Best Pet Birds For Kids” on Petcha.com, finches only need their food and water changed regularly and their cage floors cleaned. These are great for kids and live about seven years on average.
Canaries Sing and Require Easy Care
Like finches, these songbirds don’t like to be handled. Their gorgeous feathers and songs make them great pet birds for kids who want to observe rather than touch. They, too, are easy to deal with and only require food, water, and regular cage cleaning. Canaries are happy to be only birds, although they live well with other buddies. They do live about 15 years, so this pet requires committed caregivers.
Budgies: One of the Best Pet Birds for Kids
Also known as parakeets, these cute little birds have tons of personality. They don’t mind being handled, and they are happy to come out of the cage and play with a careful young owner. These are somewhat delicate birds, so rough handling will injure little parakeets. They also have some special dietary needs including vegetables, lettuces, some seed, and specially formulated feeds.
Even though they are a little more high-maintenance than canaries or finches, budgies are quite intelligent. You can even teach them to talk! Intelligent and curious budgies need play cages with lots of bird toys and daily one-one-one time with their humans. These little guys truly want to be your best buddy and are an excellent choice for a responsible child who absolutely loves birds. Parakeets also require a long-term care commitment as their life spans are generally around 15 years.
Cockatiels Need a Mature Child Owner
According to Alyson Kalhagen in her article entitled “The Top Birds That Make Great Pets for Kids” on thespruce.com, cockatiels work best for older kids with longer attention spans who are truly interested in training their bird. Cockatiels are a little larger than budgies and require more work. They need daily cage cleaning. Their water bowls require daily rinsing, and they need a balanced diet of a variety of vegetables, specialized feeds and seeds.
Cockatiels need lots of attention, and they aren’t happy if left in their cages alone for long periods of time. Kids can easily teach these birds tricks and to whistle and even talk on command. They really enjoy one-on-one time with their humans, but they can frighten easily. Females are calmer and quieter, but males also make good pets—they just might be a little louder.
If you choose to bring home a cockatiel, you need to be dedicated. With a lifespan of 30 years, this bird could go to college with its young owner and possible be in his or her wedding!
Meyer’s Parrots Love Attention
This cute little parrot is docile and less vocal than some birds. They don’t often bite, and they are pretty affectionate. These birds do tricks and will happily socialize with all members of the family. Meyer’s parrots are intelligent and curious—they need lots of attention. This breed of bird enjoys playing with chewable rawhide or rope toys. They can learn to squeak, whistle, and even talk a little on command. The Meyer’s parrot needs a special pelleted diet combined with fruit and vegetables.
Pacific Parrotlets: a Cute Little Pet with Attitude
If you’ve ever wanted to have a little bird in your pocket, the tiny Pacific Parrotlet may be the choice for you! These little birds tend to forget that they are small and will stand up to their owners. They are a bit more feisty than the Meyer’s Parrot or other calmer breeds. These little parrots bond easily with their owners, but their spunky personalities make them a better fit for an older child. Pacific Parrotlets need lots of perches and playthings in their large cages. They need their water changed daily, their cages cleaned, and a variety of feeds, fruits, and veggies. With a 20 year lifespan, this bird will be around for awhile!
Doves Won’t Make YOU Cry…
Doves, like the diamond dove, can make great pets for kids. These birds are social and love the companionship of other dove buddies. They are docile birds, and don’t require as much attention as other birds. They do enjoy plenty of space, with lots of perches and high flat surfaces for roosting. Your dove will be with you for around 12-15 years so this bird requires a committed owner.
Bourke’s Parakeets Are Calm Pet Birds for Kids
If your child is interested in a mellow bird that’s about eight inches in size, this little parakeet might be the answer. They enjoy socialization and one-on-one time with their people in addition to several hours outside their cages in a safe area each day. These little birds need a variety of feeds such as a parrot seed mix, fresh fruits, vegetables, and leafy greens. They life about 25 years.
Myna Birds Require Special Environments
This bird made an interesting pet in Superfudge, but these birds require a completely different environment than what is generally found in pet stores. They need a cage wider than it is tall with plenty of perches as myna birds like to hop from place to place. A myna likes a nest box as well for sleeping at night and naps during the day. They also need specialized toys because rope, string, or cloth toys can get tangled in their feet. Baby rattles and cat toys that hang from perches work well to keep your myna happy.
Keep in mind that mynas are the best talkers and mimic what they hear. In Superfudge, Uncle Feather came to Fudge’s Kindergarten class for Show and Tell. The bird took one look at the teacher and said, “Bonjour, Stupid.” My uncle’s myna bird had an incredibly colorful vocabulary and quickly learned to curse like a sailor. In certain company, a swearing myna is hysterical, but it can be a little embarrassing when the preacher visits. A potty mouth myna may not be the best choice for your child, but this bird could be great fun at parties.
So there you have it—several breeds that will make great pet birds for kids. Since these critters tend to have a long lifespan, hopefully, you will be just as obsessed with these winged wonders as your children. You’re going to own them for a long time to come!