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Two cartoon birdsOwning a pet bird can be lots of fun, but it's also a big responsibility. Picking the right bird for you and your family is important, because difference species of birds have different personalities and needs.

Before you buy a bird, talk with your parents about the amount of time you have to care for the bird. Do some reading about different kinds of birds to help decide which bird would be the best fit. Things to think about include whether someone is home during the day to give the bird companionship and attention; whether you have other pets in the home; and how much your family can afford to spend on food and care. You might also visit with a breeder to learn more about the birds they raise, their temperaments, and their specific needs.

Cartoon bird with bibSome bird species, such as parrots, require lots and lots of attention. They squawk loudly, can bite very hard, and live a long time - as long as 50 years or more - which means they are a much bigger commitment than buying a dog or cat.

Just like any pet, birds require special diets, toys for physical and mental enrichment, regular veterinary care, and plenty of attention from their owners. If you do your homework, you can be sure to choose a bird that will become a cherished member of your family.

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