Meet Stevie the Wonder Bird, named after Stevie Wonder simply because he used to dance on his perch bobbing his head up and down as he chattered, reminding me of the great singer.
Stevie's leg band dates 1987, indicating that he is 24 years old. I bought him some years ago from my sister-in-law because she needed money to take her cat to the vet. I never expected him to live so long. When I was very young, a neighbor gave me a parakeet, and I have had birds ever since, mostly parakeets. I had a pair of canaries that hatched two little babies. I lost one and gave the other, a male, to my friend who sings his little heart out for her. So while other birds have come and gone, Stevie has thrived. Cockatiels are great mimics, much easier to teach then parakeets. He used to bark like a dog because our neighbors had a dog that barked constantly. We began hearing our microwave beeping at odd times and figured out that it was Stevie. He began laughing, too, mimicking the conversations we had when we had friends in. He even learned to repeat "Pretty Bird." These days, though, he is quiet. Occasionally he appears to have a convulsion and I am sure that he is done, but he rallies. Because we have 3 cats, Stevie is confined to his cage. I have always enjoyed the chatter and singing of little house birds.
Birds make good company, adding color and a certainly liveliness to the house with their chattering and bird song. Birds are great pets for children too. While they do require cleaning, they are easy to keep. Taken care of properly, little birds can bring years of companionship and entertainment. However, they are not trouble free. They must be kept safe from other pets, especially cats. My cats learned as kittens to leave the bird alone and now they pretty much ignore Stevie. They do need to kept out of drafts and away from fumes, especially the fumes that teflon cookware gives off. If they are they only pet in the house, they might be let loose to fly about, just as long as there aren't any open doors or windows. My daughter 's husband caught small parrot in his backyard that had escaped. And I have seen a parakeet at my bird feeder hanging out with the sparrows, but generally these little birds won't last long in the wild. Now, if I could just teach Stevie to say "I tawt I taw a kitty cat."