Quick Checklist For New Parrot Owners
So you saw a lady with a beautiful white bird on her arm that said "I Love You" and now you want to share that experience and have your own parrot.  Let me give you some insight before you do something foolish, like run out and buy a Cockatoo.  But what I have to say applies to all large parrots, some more than others.  Remember each bird is an individual, regardless of its species, and is a product of its environment - past and present!

1.  A GOOD DEAL.. is measured only by the end product.  What I mean is if you buy a healthy, tame/hand-fed parrot, high quality cage and  packaged food you  will only end up with a great relationship if you also provided also provided adequate attention and affection, chew/stimulating toys, play area, healthy fresh food, discipline, socialization, routine health care and a positive, healthy environment to maintain that same tame, healthy parrot.    You can adopt a parrot from a less than perfect situation  with less INITIAL investment, but you will still need to provide a quality cage, play area, toys, food, health care, socialization, attention with affection and discipline in a positive, healthy environment.  There is no guarantee any parrot will be a cute, cuddly, or talking parrot. Your chances increase with the quality of care you provided on a constant basis.

2.  What would it be like to have a large parrot?  Try this:

       a.  WASTEFUL.. Buy $30 worth of groceries and throw $24 worth in the trash as soon as you arrive home.  Do this several times a month.  Parrots require fresh food in addition to pellets (not seeds) and are wasteful eaters. If you can't afford the wastefulness of a parrot, you can't afford the parrot.

       b.  BITES.. Slam your fingers in your car door to simulate a bite.  If you have a parrot, you will be bitten, sometimes just hard, sometimes really hard, and some times with blood and severe damage.  Parrots can be very temperamental and some favor a love/hate relationship that seems more like a game of "GUESS WHAT MOOD I'M IN TODAY".  Large male Cockatoos are famous for being hormonal teenagers.  When these males are in the presence of a human female that is experiencing her monthly cycle - WATCH OUT!  Remember, if your parrot bites someone, there may be a financial obligation that goes with that bite.  Do you have homeowner's/renter's insurance?  Does it cover animal bites?  If not, how will you cover any lawsuit that may arise from a parrot bite?

       c.  ATTACHED.. Velcro a 1 pound weight to your arm and keep it there for 2 hours at a time, 3 or 4 hours a day, every day for a week.  This is how it feels to have your "baby" with you, which you will want because they are our babies.  In the case of Cockatoos, they crave the physical contact of their flock - YOU are their flock.  If you don't have the time or the desire to have this much interaction with a parrot, reconsider your decision to bring a parrot into your home.

       d.  MESS.. Scatter cooked  and dry oatmeal on your floor.  Let the cooked oatmeal dry good
and hard.  Clean up the mess and repeat.  Do this a min of 3X a day for a week.  This is similar to a
parrot's mess (food and poop).  Its really more than 3x a day, but I can't keep up with the sweeping
and mopping more than 3x a day.  Cage papers must be replace several times a week.  The cage,
toys, perches, playgyms, T-Stands, etc, must be cleaned at least once a week and sometimes more depending upon the bird.  Birds are clean by nature.  They spend several hours a day, every day preening/cleaning themselves.  Don't be selfish and ignore the mess.  If you can't or won't spend the time necessary to keep the parrot's home clean, then a parrot isn't right for you at this time.

       e.  NOISE.. Record from the library the TOO screaming and play it on your stereo full blast for 15 mins 3x a day.  Some parrots are not as loud, some may be louder, some may scream short periods, while others scream longer periods, but all parrots scream, squawk, sing, or talk.   They do it when they're happy, scared, mad, on alert, or just for no reason at other than to do it. If you live in an apartment or condo, your neighbors may become your enemy.   Do loud noises bother you?  Are you a nervous person?  If the noise would be a reason to find your parrot a new home, DON'T bring the parrot into your home!

       f.  FEEDING.. Every morning before work and every evening as soon as you get home, fix a bowl of fresh fruit/veggies and water in clean bowls.  Don't forget to remove the food bowl after 2
hours so it doesn't cause harm to your would be parrot.  How often do you eat out?  How healthy do
you currently eat?  You will have to buy groceries and cook for your parrot!  Junk food won't cut it.
If you do not have the time to shop and cook for yourself before the parrot, what makes you think
you will do it when you bring birdie home?  Be realistic, if you don't have the time to shop and cook,
you don't have the time for a parrot!

       g.   BOARDING/OTHER.. Planning a vacation?  Travel a lot with business?  Enjoy frequent weekend getaways?  Need to paint?  What about if you are ill, have an accident, or die? Where will birdie stay?  Find someone to care/board your parrot before you get a parrot.  Local bird shops maybe a place, but do you really trust them?  Parents, friends, siblings, neighbors are a good choice, but find out if they are truly willing beforehand.  The day will come when you must board your parrot for one reason or another.  Make certain you are prepared for that day.

       h.  MEDICAL CARE.. Routine vet check-ups are a must, but what about medical emergencies?  Is there an avian vet in your area?  Not all vets see birds and not all vets that see birds are qualified avian vets.  Locate the nearest avian specialist before you need them and get prices on routine care vs. emergency care.  Wings and nail can be clipped by yourself, vet, or qualified pet shop.  Be careful, blood feathers and nails will bleed if a mistake is made.  Do you have the money to spend for the initial vet exam, the yearly exams, and medical emergencies?  If not, then please consider your over financial situation.  Parrots are expensive from the very beginning.  If you get a great deal on a "used" parrot, there may be health problem and $1500 (or more) later,  you may have a healthy parrot.  If you don't have an emergency stash, get one ASAP.  If you cant afford to divert any funds to an emergency stash, you can't afford a parrot!

       g.  TOYS, TOYS, TOYS  Are you handy with a saw and drill?  If not, then you will be spending a lot of money on chew toys, $30+/- a week!  Parrots chew. If you don't provide chew toys, they will find their own (sheet rock, furniture, wood trim, themselves, etc).  Parrots don't care what value an item has to you, all they care about is chewing, so provide plenty of chew toys at all times, as well as stimulating toys.  Play with your parrot, remember they are intelligent and enjoy a variety of activities.  Toys are a MUST to achieve a happy, healthy parrot.  Add the cost to your budget, if your budget can't absorb the cost, don't get the parrot!

       h.  VISITORS.. Do you have frequent visitors in your home?  Not everyone understands bird people and their birds and some people just shouldn't be allowed around our birds.  Be prepared to see a decline in visitors, rude guests, and guests who will try to teach birdie to say not so nice things, feed them junk food, smoke around them or try to touch them after smoking, etc.  Your bird's well-being must come first and foremost.

       i.  COOKWARE ALERT!.. Teflon kills! All nonstick surfaces have Teflon type coatings that produce a gas that kills birds - FAST!  Opt for stainless, alum, copper, glass, or enamel.  TEFLON coatings can be found in many household appliances - ovens, toasters, irons, waffle irons, coffeemakers, hairdryers, etc. If you think just this one time won't hurt, YOU ARE WRONG!  If you can't part with the nonstick stuff, then at some point you will be parting with your parrot from death of the fumes.

      j.  TOXINS .. certain plants, smoke, aerosols, fragrances, candles with wicks that contain a metal stem, carpet fresheners, air fresheners, FaBreeze, some essential oils, certain hair products, certain foods (avocados, caffeine, alcohol, chocolate).  As new products are added to the market, new dangers are made aware to us.  You must continue to educate yourself on these hazards.  Be prepared to parrot proof you home.  If you can't forgo the use of these items and are unwilling to keep your parrot out of harm's way, why spend the money/time for a parrot at all?

       k.  TIME..Your parrot need your undivided attention for a considerable amount of time.  Each species and each bird is different.  A Cockatiel may only want 20 mins 3x a day (I can tell this by when he starts getting nippy), but a Cockatoo is happy only when they can be your right arm pal for hours at a time.  There is bath time that needs to take place in the morning to give the parrot time to dry before nightfall.  This can be a trying feat if birdie doesn't favor bathtime, but it is a necessity.  Every morning you must fix breakfast, change papers, and spend some quailty/quantity time.  Does your morning schedule allow for this?  Are your evenings  filled with school activities, work from the office, college courses, etc?  PLEASE reconsider the notion to bring a parrot into your home if you can't spend quality and quantity time with your parrot!

       l. DISCIPLINE..Discipline is not punishment.  It is establishing boundaries, respect, schedules, education, and acceptable behaviors for both you and your parrot.  In order to effectively discipline yourself and your parrot, you must first learn what is considered normal behavior and what is considered destructive behavior.  This means you are going to have to READ, READ, and READ some more.  Do you have the dedication it takes to effectively discipline yourself and your parrot?
If not, don't set yourself up for failure and jeopardize the well-being of another parrot by unknowingly encouraging behavior that will only pave the way for the parrot to place with another home.

      m. EDUCATION ..Educate yourself on the type of bird you think you want to adopt /buy/rescue. Does this parrot fit the description of what you want? You must educate yourself on what the characteristics of a healthy bird and the cause and effect of illness.  natural habitat, nesting, breeding, etc.  Join a bird club, visit message boards, be involved with other parrot owners.  More importantly is to continue to educate yourself.  By educating yourself,  your are paving the way for a very fulfilling relationship with your parrot.  If you do not have the desire to learn as much as you can about your parrot, why would you want a parrot?  Because they are cool?  Please don't be that shallow.  Parrot ownership is a very serious commitment.  You are responsible for the health and well-being of an intelligent, emotional, living creature.  Don't take it lightly or it will bite you (literally and figuratively).

      n.  CHILDREN/PETS.. Parrots may consider children and other pets as rivals.  Be cautious of this fact.  If you have or are planning on having children, you are in for a rocky ride.  Be forewarned!

       o.  JEWELRY/CLOTHING ..A large parrot can and will remove gemstones from their settings!  Earrings/Other piercings will be removed with or without a piece of flesh.  Parrots seem to love metal and enjoy beaking chains into pieces.   Clothing will have a new look that is personalized by your parrot.  Little holes around the arms and neck is normal.  Anything that is 3-D is considered fair game (rhinestones, studs, etc).  Eyeglasses are no exception!  If this behavior is unacceptable, then a parrot in your home is unacceptable!

       p. POOP.. It happens and it will be on your floors (better put something over the carpet), on
their cage/playgym, on your furniture, and yes - on you.  More importantly is daily observation of
what the poop looks like.  You can tell if they are sick, if they are eating to many watery fruits, if
they aren't eating enough of something, etc.  The poop must be cleaned off daily or the build up will
be more disgusting than daily clean-ups.  Birds are messy, not dirty.  Don't force them to live in substandard conditions because you are to busy or to lazy to tend to the mess.

       q.  MONEY..Even if the parrot was not expensive, there is the purchase of a quality cage that meets or exceeds space requirements, toys, food, treats, playgym, T-stand, carrier, initial vet check, perches (must have different texture/size to stimulate healthy feet), and the dreaded, fearful, emergency care costs.  Don't forget the cost to repair any damage your parrot may cause to you or other's person or property.  Owning a parrot and affording a parrot are two different things.  If you can't afford ALL the costs that go along with the parrot, don't get the parrot!

       r.  ENTERTAINMENT/LOVE/JOY/HAPPINESS..A happy parrot makes a happy human.  What a parrot provides in return for putting up with them is greater than you can ever imagine.  Life with a parrot is never the same as the day before.  We are willing owned by our birds and our life revolves around our birds.  It is a commitment we gladly make for the rest of our lives.  If you can't make a lifelong commitment to a parrot, get a pet with a shorter life span.

If after reading this you still want a parrot, I welcome you and ask that you commit yourself to being the best friend you can be to your companion  Good luck and remember that right now may not be the best time for you to become an owner, you be the judge.  Please remember to always keep the parrot's best interest at heart.