Saturday, June 14, 2014

I recently (February) got two hand-raised baby lovebirds. Lovebirds are small and affectionate parrots.

I like parrots because they’re brilliant. Cockatoos can pick locks, parrots are one of the few animals considered to be true dancers, and they’re well known for mimicking speech. And some have been known to use language intelligently.

And that’s before you even get into their dinosaur ancestry. Birds are the dinosaurs that survived the K-Pg extinction event.

Anyway, I decided I really wanted a parrot. Somewhere along the line I stumbled upon this photo:

Baby lovebirds - photo by Bill McCaffrey Cute.

And, er, that was it.

I learned that lovebirds are very social and emotionally dependent on each other or their owner. I didn’t want to feel guilty about having a needy parrot waiting for me at home, so I decided to get two. I ended up getting two siblings (“They’ve been together since they were eggs!” – the breeder).

Moose & Lemon

I know the names are a bit rubbish, but they stuck and I like them and they sort of fit.

Moose and Lemon ii, photo by me

Here they are.

Moose and Lemon i, photo by me

And again.

I’d compare their personalities to that of cats and dogs – they’re excellent pets, very affectionate and funny to watch. They’re like small dogs that can fly.

One thing I didn’t know about lovebirds (and it’s hard to find this out online, too) is that they sort of need to be walked like dogs. They need to be let out of the cage every day for an hour minimum, I reckon, but longer is better. That’s fine, but it makes their care trickier to a stranger who’s not comfortable with birds flying around and catching them, etc. It’s not exactly like walking a dog because there’s a bit of skill. Not a lot, but some.

This makes me hesitate to recommend them as pets to everyone: you definitely need a large enough space, and the time to look after them. They need to be kept away from the kitchen (Teflon pan fumes are lethal to birds) and harmful cleaning sprays, etc. And definitely no cats.