I’ve been considering getting a second bird. I’ll be honest and admit that it’s as much to keep Stewie company while I’m gone as much as wanting another one for myself (that’s not the best reason to get another bird, but obviously I’d love it and do whatever it took to keep him happy even if they ended up not getting along).
But I’m torn; there isn’t a clear cut answer.
On the one hand, I hate that Stewie is alone so much.
On the other hand, if they needed separate out of cage time because they didn’t get along, I don’t think they’d get enough quality one on one time. Stewie is out of his cage whenever I’m home and I couldn’t imagine having to lock him up half of that time because he didn’t get along with the other bird. Other bird owners have advised me, however, that keeping two birds out together isn’t a big deal, even if they didn’t get along; they would just need to be supervised at all time. (I supervise Stewie when he’s out as it is.)
photo of two wild Mitred Conures
With one bird, when I go on vacation, I can pack up his entire cage in my bf’s truck and bring it to my friends’ house when they birdsit. If I had two of them, I’d only be able to bring their travel cages. Plus, I think having someone take care of two birds seems like a lot more to ask than just the one. (Especially if they didn’t get along.)
Time is more of an issue than money, but part of the reason I feel like I don’t have enough time is that I know birds are flock animals and Stewie is alone while I work. Even if he didn’t get along great with a second bird, at least he’d have some company during the day (i.e. another flock member). I think that’s worth something.
And chances are he’d actually get along fine with another bird. I just like to be prepared for the worst case scenario. What I’d be aiming for, obviously, is for Stewie to have a great buddy.
photo of Chomper and Petrie snuggling
Plus I think it would be healthy for Stewie to be less dependent on me for all of his emotional needs. He’s so clingy and his entire life seems to revolve around me letting him out of his cage. It’d be nice if he had a friend to occupy at least some of his emotional energy.
As you can tell, I’m pretty convinced that I’m going to go ahead with getting a second bird. The issue now is what, when, where and who.
photo of Amazon and Quaker preening
by Crosby Allison
I’ve been thinking mostly about something like a green cheek, but I’m also committed to adopting another rescue, and there aren’t many green cheeks up for adoption; so I’m considering various other small-ish/medium parrots that I find on Petfinder.
Last week I saw a Hahn’s Macaw and a Mitred Conure at one of the local animal welfare league locations.
Over the weekend I went to check them out. This was not a parrot rescue, just a regular animal shelter, and although they had the birds in decent enough cages at least for temporary purposes, and their cages were where all the people hung out so they weren’t lonely, they just didn’t look that great.
Besides being a little plucked, both birds were just kind of “dull” looking. Stewie was in perfect feather when I brought him home from the (different) shelter, and now he’s positively radiant, so the contrast is big. I’m not saying he was a perfect pet right off the bat – he wasn’t tame and it took a long time to get us to the point we’re currently at. I’m fully prepared to put in the effort required to make a new bird healthy and happy. That’s not the point… there’s a difference between taming and training an ornery bird and nursing a sickly one back to health.
Both parrots at the shelter had a big bowl of seeds, with nothing else. And the mitred conure had a water bowl directly underneath his favorite perch. As you can imagine, that water was nasty!
Two conures in foster care
by Crosby Allison
Afterwards we went for a stroll near the waterfront, and there was a Maryland-based parrot education organization on the pier showing off their birds and doing some fundraising. I held a senegal and a pionus – both birds I’m open to considering (although they are quite a bit bigger than a sun conure).
In the mean time, I’ve be put in an adoption/foster application at Phoenix Landing, the closest parrot rescue in my area. If you’re located in DC, Virginia, Maryland or North Carolina, check out Phoenix Landing’s adoptable parrot list on Petfinder.
This is SweetPea, a ringneck up for adoption through Phoenix Landing. I’d love to adopt this guy – isn’t he adorable?
Wish me luck!
Update: As you may have seen from more recent posts, I did end up getting a second bird — a two-year old, female White Capped Pionus — but Stewie is not getting along so great with her (yet). Right now they definitely need to have separate out of cage time. Just goes to show, it’s best to be prepared for the worst case scenario.