With lifestyles that are so fast-paced we have little time to spend on ourselves, let alone another creature, birds have become popular pets. They don’t need to be walked, don’t take up too much room, don’t have high food bills and are definitely entertaining and beautiful to watch.

But they do require mental stimulation, clean cages, filled bowls and, just like any other pet, require your time and attention to survive.

When I was a little girl, I went to Woolworth’s with my mom and picked out a little blue budgie we named Petey. He always delighted the family with his cheerful chirping.

Chirping is something to consider if you live in an apartment and want to add a feathered friend to your unit. Birds like to talk, and they can be very noisy. Make sure your landlord, and especially your neighbors, are willing to put up with the sounds coming from your apartment.

In the words of one long-time bird owner: “To be a good neighbor, select birds that are good neighbors.” Finches, canaries and budgies are good choices.

And speaking of choices, there are hundreds of bird species from which to choose. If you are interested in obtaining a bird, locate a reputable pet store that is clean, and offers well-tended birds and a knowledgeable staff.

Once you’re there, ask lots of questions. Read books or magazines about specific breeds. If you know of someone with a happy, healthy, well-tempered bird, ask where they got it. There are many reputable breeders who run meticulous operations.

Birds can be costly, and the decision to add one to your family should not be made hastily. They also have long life spans and will be with you for many, many years.

So be sure you are ready for that commitment, or you’ll find yourself saying: “Bye, bye birdie!”

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