Lovebirds are the second smallest species of parrot, and it’s not difficult to adore these pretty creatures. ‘Love is a spirit of all compact fire,’ according to Shakespeare and these birds certainly are passionate creatures. They chat and scream, play all day and cuddle up to one another demanding constant affection. If you do decide to keep these birds be aware of their liveliness and constant chatter – and they are best kept in pairs.
One thing you can expect from your lovebirds is constancy. They are birds of marriage, forming lifelong attachments to each other and have a strong bong with their human owners. As the birds tend to pair off, keeping an odd number is not a good idea, as one may be left to idle on the sidelines. Perhaps these birds get their passion from the hot, vibrant continent they come from, because these bright beauties are originally African.
Love begets love; so treat these birds well and they will reward you with adoration and life-long commitment. If not treated with gentleness and care they become nippy. Be aware that they have a long lifespan, so where these birds are concerned, as with any relationship, nothing should be done in half measures.
Another universal truth about love is that it needs space to thrive and so do your lovebirds. The bigger the cage, and the more toys they have, the happier and more affectionate they will be. Make sure you cage is at least bigger than 24 inches with the bars should be spaced at half an inch each, otherwise they may get their beaks and toes stuck. For birds they are rather particular about their surroundings, so make sure the housework is done properly for your feathery friends.
Of course, every fire needs fuel, even the fire of passion and the birds need a varied diet of fruit and vegetables, beans, pasta and seeds and pellets. These creatures are not ignorant of their own appeal – they come in vibrant blues, greens and yellows and reds – and like any beautiful bird, they are quite high maintenance. Their nails need to be trimmed every 6 weeks, and their flight feathers should be trimmed to avoid accidents. They also need an annual check-up and their weight should be monitored.
We can all get swept away with the romance of Valentine’s Day but when you choose your love birds think of it as choosing a lifelong mate and base your decision on personality not looks. A hand reared bird will be more affectionate than one raised by parents, for instance.
Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate and enjoy love and appreciate your partner. With pets playing such an important role in our family lives these days, perhaps it should also be a day to appreciate all the joy your pets bring you. If you decide to surprise a special someone with a lovebird for a gift, don’t do it lightly – make sure they will be sufficiently committed to a long term pet and not prone to take flight.