Monday, September 13, 2010


As a natural response to having watched the excellent French Cyrano de Burgerac movie, I've decided to get a bird.

Back up. When I imagined myself in Austin, a new town, alone, friendless, newly indepenent, I always consoled myself with the fantasy of owning a gaudy parakeet named Bertie Wooster. I even emailed my future roommates to tell them of my intention. But then I arrived here and I had to buy a car, and my mom said, "focus on making human friends instead," and my sister said, "don't birds always stink?" and my roommate didn't say anything, but frowned a little (she had a French horn teacher who had a parrot that would always squawk if a student played the wrong note--she is unduly prejudiced.). In short, I got scared out of it.

But then I was watching this brave, gallant sort and I thought, "really? really, I'm scared about maybe I'll have to change some newspaper and find a pet sitter and maybe, just maybe, I'll have to give away my bird? How is it that a paperweight 5-minute/day pet is weighing so heavily on me?" So I'm going for it: I'm buying a bird. Don't even try to talk me out of it.

Now comes the worst part of it--what bird? I've spent several late nights researching online, and I don't know that I have any better idea. Some say parakeets live 5 years, some say twenty. Are finches ever happy alone? Do canaries hate people? How long are you expected to "play" with your bird each day? I'm wondering if I want a bird that will be more social, or quieter, or cheaper to care for, or tidier, or what. I had this same problem when I was deciding on a car--I researched enough to know pluses and minuses, but didn't know what pluses were really most important to me or what minuses were deal-breakers. I think I need to just go full ahead with a choice and remember that it doesn't really matter that much. It's just a bird.


Cathryn said...

Finches are adorable, but the only ones I've ever seen are really loud. I've heard that you need to get at least 2 or they get really lonely. Canaries I don't know much parakeet lived about 8 years. He was kind of crazy, but that's probably because I was a little kid and I forgot to uncover his cage during the day quite a bit and I sometimes forgot to give him food & water...oops. My vote is still parakeet though. :)

ke said...

I've heard the same about finches. In fact, we got rid of ours because they were verry loud. Don't you want canaries? They're so beautiful. And you should probably get two.

ke said...

Also if you get canaries you can name them Tenerife or Gomero or Fuertaventura. And wouldn't that be clever and delightful.

Day said...

1) yay birdies!

2) IMHO, the ultimate badassery in bird ownership (shy of falconry) would be an African grey parrot or a crow/raven (common names). The best ideas are Always the least practical. :)

3) Maybe spend some time in the pet shop and decide based on personality?