The kids have been asking for a pet for quite some time now, and as a family we decided that a pet bird would be the best option for us. We are in and out of the house a lot throughout the day and need a pet that’s easy to care for. Birds are affectionate and friendly, yet are small and easy to maintain. Although we want to keep our bird out of the cage as much as possible, a pet bird could still be comfortable, fed, and happy in its cage. We would not need to worry about it too much if our outings were longer than expected.
There was no doubt where we would get the bird from. It would have to be from Omar’s Exotic Birds in Brea (they have other locations too)! At Omar’s, birds are well taken cared of from birth and are healthy and happy. They are hand fed as babies and not afraid of people. As a result, birds from this store are interactive and can be held from first introduction. If you visit the store, you’ll notice that most of the birds are not in cages but are out in the open on suspended perches or open enclosures. At Omar’s, they have created an environment where people are encouraged to play with the birds to get to know the one you want to purchase.
As an extra perk, if you buy a bird from Omar’s, they include a free vet visit, a starter kit (food and toy), and free grooming for life (YES, for life!). So that means every two- three- months for the life of the bird, you can bring it back to the store to get the wings clipped, nails trimmed, etc. This is a super important bonus for us, because we didn’t (and don’t) know how to groom the bird on our own.
Picking out our birdie was the fun part. We knew we wanted a cockatiel since I had one as a child and had a great experience with them. I called the store one afternoon to make sure there were still some cockatiels left. When the store manager told me there were about 8 left, I immediately packed all the kids in the car and drove out to the store to pick one out as a family. It is known that birds sell out fast at Omar’s and we did not want to miss out!
The staff members at Omar’s were fantastic. They were very helpful and went out of their way to help us pick out the right birdie. At the cockatiel enclosure, they helped us check every bird’s ring number on its feet to find out which one was not yet sold, isolated those that were available in a separate section, and allowed us to pick from those. We held each one to see which one we were drawn to. The kids picked out a gray cockatiel together the first time we held it. I was surprised that they agreed so quickly as a team.
The gray birdie we picked was still a baby, and was not allowed to leave the store just yet (We think the birdie’s a male, but it’s still too early to tell). He was still being hand-fed with formula and needed to wait till after he was at least 3 months old to leave the store. The next few weeks, we visited him often, sometimes even every other day just to bond with him. We brought family members to meet our new birdie too! Everyone was super excited to meet him and take pictures with him. The kids named him, “Soarin”.
At Soarin’s three-month birthday approached, we received a call from the staff at Omar’s letting us know that he was ready to go home! We brought the cage we prepared to the store to take our birdie home. This was also a good time to let the staff at Omar’s check out the bird’s new cage and get ideas on placement of things to see if there are any safety concerns.
The manager told us that the bird would still most likely be more comfortable feeding low to the ground, which I originally didn’t know. He also briefed us what food to add to his diet and what food to avoid. We were given our starter kit at this point and it included a variety of healthy foods for the bird. It was nice that they also included a toy. The birdie was groomed before leaving, and had its weight checked. At this time we were also given information on the included vet visit, and, after a group picture, we were ready to go!
The first day at home, it was obvious that Soarin was feeling timid. He didn’t eat a lot and we didn’t see him drink any water. Soarin was also very quiet and didn’t make many sounds. He allowed us to hold him, but was very shy. In the next few days, he was noticeably more comfortable with us and started singing and was curious about his new surroundings. Fast forward to two months later, he now looks forward to us holding him, and we can tell that he trusts us.
A Few Months Later Update
(Left, Soarin at 3 months/ Right, Soarin at 10 months)
Soarin’s colors have changed quite a bit. At 9-10 months old he started molting and his feathers grew back in different colors! As you can see, he’s no longer our gray birdie but is quite colorful. He’s very comfortable with our family and now lets us pet his head, which is something he had to slowly trust us with. He’s a very sweet birdie that likes to be in our presence and has lots of emotions that can be easily read by his crest feathers. When it’s straight up, he’s scared, when it’s down he’s calm. He’ll whistle when he’s happy and has learned a tune that we taught him.
One year later, Soarin continues to loves spending time with the kids and has become an important member of our family. Here’s a picture of him at his one year birthday party that the kids planned for him.
I can go on and on about him, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions. Soarin has his own instagram page. Follow our birdie at @soarin_birdie. For more information about buying a pet bird at Omar’s Exotic Birds, visit them at https://www.omarsexoticbirds.com/
-By Joyce at Huddlebee (a cockatiel bird was provided for review, all opinions are my own- updated March 2020)