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Today in pets -- advice about what species to look into?

Some of you might remember that a number of weeks ago DudeJeans came home with a stunned fledgling sparrow that was sitting in the middle of the highway — he was still partway in pinfeathers and it couldn't fly yet, but had clearly left the nest (I yelled at DudeJeans for moving a fledgling, though I eventually noticed that he might have been right about the bird having a minor injury). We took care of him while he got his mojo back, and pretty much helped him learn to fly. Today he is a fully functional juvenile sparrow and we're making plans to release him, probably over this weekend.

While I'd honestly love to keep him (I'm 90% sure he's a song sparrow, a native bird — if he was a house sparrow I'd keep him in an instant), I wouldn't feel right about it, and it's illegal anyway. However, this past month has made me realize how much I would like to have a bird in the house, for real. I've never had a pet bird before and I didn't expect to get so attached. Plus, we've had to work with the dog (a bird dog...) to get him to understand that the bird is not for eating, and at this point he pretty much ignores him (except for the occasional longing stare/expression of interest). It would be a shame to waste that training.

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So...we've started looking, and there's a humane society not far away that frequently has parakeets and zebra finches. I was first thinking we'd look at zebra finches, but I hear they don't interact with humans that much. I would prefer a small, friendly bird in general, I think, just based on my experience with this sparrow. So: parakeets, cockatiels, canaries? I really like canaries....

Illustration for article titled Today in pets -- advice about what species to look into?
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Bird folks: how do you recommend approaching this question? What should we consider before making this decision? Obviously I've got a bit of research to do, but aside from that, what things should I definitely go in knowing?

ETA: I also have just realized I am going down a path where I'm becoming a crazy animal lady. Adding birds to the mix — okay. But when we move, I also want to have an aquarium again, and we're going to get chickens, and maybe ducks if possible. And of course, in the next couple years we're adding dog #2 for DudeJeans....

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And so it starts.

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