Adopting A Rescued Bird: Helping Polly Get Settled

January is Adopt A Rescued Bird Month! Our feathered friends can make really fun and charming little pets. Polly packs a lot of personality into a small body. And while Polly may not be the right pet for everyone, she has definitely made lots of devoted fans. In the spirit of good animal welfare, we appreciate those who choose to adopt rescued animals. All pets deserve to be happy, healthy, and safe, and treated with love and compassion. However, birds have some very specific care needs, so first-time bird owners will definitely face a learning curve. A local Lexington, KY vet offers some advice on adopting Polly in this article.

Why Should I Adopt A Rescued Bird?

We could write a pretty long list here! Our winged friends are really fun and cute. They don’t take up much space in our homes, but can definitely take over huge chunks of our hearts. Polly is also pretty charming. She may sing, dance, and play with you, or just want to cuddle and hang out with you. If you want a pet that will belt out your favorite song with you, or maybe boogie down as you’re playing the radio, you can’t go wrong with a bird. It also just feels wonderful to give a scared, sweet pet a second chance.

How Do I Choose My Rescue Bird?

Our winged pals are all unique. They can vary quite drastically with things like volume, cage requirements, size, and life expectancy. Some are timid and sweet, some are active and curious, and some are, well, a bit extra. If you’re a beginner, and you want a rescued bird, you may want to choose a breed that is an easy keeper. We would recommend doing lots of research, and looking at different breeds to determine the best bird for you.

Here is a quick breakdown of a few of the most popular pet birds:

Finches: Finches are quite small and delicate, and tend to do best in small flocks. They bond more to each other than to their humans, which makes them a good fit for someone who wants a low-maintenance pet.

Lovebirds: Colorful and cuddly, these small parrots are really cute and loveable. As the name suggests, they need buddies, as they are very social and do not do well alone.

Budgie/Parakeet: Small, playful, and absolutely adorable, these little birds are wonderful pets. They’re suitable for children, but don’t need as much room as some of our larger pals.


African Grey Parrot: If you’re looking for a pet that will keep you laughing and keep you on your toes, the African Grey may be your match. Just do plenty of research first: these birds are very smart, and need lots of attention. They can get into quite a bit of mischief if they get bored.

Other good beginner birds include the Budgie, Parrotlet, Lovebirds, Canary, Cockatiel,  Pionus Parrot, and Amazon Parrot. As mentioned above, research is key. Some are better for apartments, while others need lots of room. 

Birds also vary on loudness. Some, such as finches, are fairly quiet, while others, like the Moluccan Cockatoo, can reach 129 decibels, which is louder than most concerts. 

Here are a few factors to consider:

  • Volume
  • Speech Capacity
  • Space Requirements
  • Companionship Requirements
  • Size
  • Friendliness
  • Life Expectancy
  • Trainability

Of course, breed is only one factor. Birds all have their own personalities. It’s important to make a connection, but it’s also important to make a good match. Observe your potential pet. Find out as much as you can about Polly’s history and medical background, and watch how she interacts with you and with others. You’ll also want to get an overview of her health.

How Do You Help A Rescued Bird Get Used To A New Home?

When you bring Polly home, put her in her cage, and leave her in it for a few days. It’s important for birds to have free time, but for now, you want your winged friend to feel safe and get settled in a bit. 

Birds can be quite timid. They also tend to get very attached to their humans. This is something to be very aware of with rescues. Polly may be sad and depressed at being separated from her former master, and may need a lot of time to warm up.

Here are a few tips for helping win your feathered pal’s heart:

Help Polly Feel Safe: Spend time near your pet’s cage, but don’t force attention on her. You may want to put a comfy chair near Polly’s cage. Just hang out there when you want to read, scroll on your phone, or watch TV. This will help your new buddy get used to you.

Provide Treats: Snacks can go a long way toward bonding and building trust. That actually applies to all pets. (Snakes are something of an exception here, as they aren’t as food-motivated as some animals, but that’s another topic.) It may take a bit of time to figure out what Polly likes best. You can offer various bird-safe fruits and veggies, millet spray, treat sticks, or raw pasta. Ask your Lexington, KY veterinarian for specific advice.

Don’t Scare Your Bird: It’s understandable that you may want to pet or cuddle your new bird, but it’s important to let her feel safe before you try to handle her. Don’t try to grab her or stick your hands into the cage. Offer treats and toys, and always move very slowly around your new pal.

Talk To Your Feathered Buddy: Polly may not understand what you’re saying, but she will pick up on the tone of your voice. Use a quiet, gentle, and friendly tone.

Give It Time: Birds get very, very attached to their owners, but that bond doesn’t form overnight. Polly will need time to learn to trust you. Don’t force things. Love takes time!

What Should I Expect When Adopting A Bird

We can’t overstate the importance of doing plenty of research. Birds have wonderful qualities, but they aren’t the right pets for everyone. Polly can be a messy roommate. She also has very sensitive lungs, and isn’t a good match for a household where she’ll be exposed to cigarette smoke or a lot of chemicals or vapors. You’ll need to consider other pets as well. If you have a feline pal, bringing a bird into your home will require a lot more ‘catculation’ than if Polly were to be an only pet.

How Can I Make My Home Safe For A Rescued Bird?

Birdproofing is a must! Many common household items are dangerous to birds. That list includes fans, window treatments, candles, mirrors, fireplaces, and toxins, to name just a few. Small or sharp objects are also a concern, as are things like kitchen utensils, full sinks or toilets, and plastic objects. You’ll also need to make sure your feathered pal won’t be exposed to any fumes. Ask your vet for specific advice.

Birds have many wonderful qualities: they’re adorable, small, playful, curious, and, of course, often absolutely hilarious. 

Conclusion: Adopting a rescued bird can be very rewarding. Birds definitely fill our homes with love, laughter, and music! However, adopting any pet is a huge decision, so it’s something to think carefully about. Adoption is forever! 

Do you have questions about caring for a rescued bird? Contact us, your local Lexington, KY pet hospital, today!

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