Wings & Feathers
With such a huge variety of breeds available to adopt, keeping a bird as a pet in the UAE can be an exciting prospect for many people living here. As with any pet though, there are lots of things that you should consider before choosing to adopt a bird, to make sure that your feathery friends live a healthy and happy life. We caught up with Wings and Feathers to get the low down!
What to think about
Just like any other pet, birds definitely have their own personalities, and one bird can be very different from the other. Some birds require a lot of care and attention, some prefer to live in a group, and some are happy to live a much more solitary life without much fuss!
Before deciding whether to own a pet bird, there are so many things to consider first:
-Your lifestyle: Just like humans, most birds need a lot of attention and company. A cockatoo will even pluck its feathers out to show frustration and anger if it doesn’t receive enough attention! If you have a busy lifestyle, consider adopting two birds or more. Budgies and love birds are flock birds and will fare really well with another of its kind. It’s also important to consider that most birds are very intelligent and therefore require a lot mental stimulation (yes – it’s not just a myth!). Bigger birds commonly have the intelligence levels of a 2-4 year old child, so caging them for long periods of time without any mental stimulation will lead to a lot of distress.
-Noise: Unlike cats and dogs, birds are noisy, and you need to seriously consider how the noise of the bird will affect you (and your neighbours!). Smaller birds tend to be quieter than bigger birds but this isn’t always the case so make sure to do your research first.
-Life span: Owning any pet is a long commitment, but did you know that if you adopt a large bird, such as an African Grey for example, they can live for up to 75 years? Birds tend to have a longer life span than most other pets. Typically, budgies live from 5 to 8 years as an average, whilst lovebirds live from 10 to 15 years, and cockatiels between 15 and 25 years.
Adopting a Bird
The best way to own a bird as a pet is to adopt, as so many birds become homeless when their owners leave the UAE. Through adoption, it is often easier to find out lots of background information about the bird, it’s personality and any specific requirements, as well as to obtain all of the correct certification too. Never rely solely on the health certificate from the previous owner though- once you have settled your bird into its new home, the next thing to do is to take it to the vet for a full health check.
Although there are multiple pet markets in the UAE (such as the Mina Animal Market in Abu Dhabi, the Warsan Pet market in Dubai, and the Sharjah Animal Market in Sharjah), unfortunately it is not uncommon to find that some of the animals being sold this way live in very poor conditions. Whilst there are strict conditions in place to regulate the selling of animals in these markets, this obviously has a hugely detrimental impact on their health.
If you can no longer care for your bird, there are lots of animal shelters and other platforms through which to put them up for adoption. Never let them go thinking they will fly away freely- birds that have been kept as pets do not have the instincts to survive in the wild, especially if they are not native to the UAE.
CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (link is external) is an international agreement between governments. The aim of CITES is to ensure that international trade in wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.
For bird owners, ensuring that you understand the CITES restriction of your pet bird is really important, particularly if you wish to travel internationally with them. Birds with CITES restrictions require a CITES certificate along with other paperwork for them to enter or exit the country. For example, an African Grey bird is categorised under CITES I restriction, which is the highest restriction, and therefore the paperwork process can be extensive.
If you choose to adopt a bird, look into the CITES restrictions first and ensure that you are provided with an authentic certificate and proof of purchase. It is possible to apply for the relevant paperwork at a later date, though this can be a complex process.
You can find more information about cities by clicking here!
Wings and Feathers is a great resource for bird-owners or anyone thinking about adopting a bird in the UAE. Members happily share their own experiences of owning a bird, and you’ll find everything you need to know about caring for our feathery friends, including nutrition, health, vet information, and how to obtain the correct certification. It’s a great platform for adoption too, as both current and prospective owners are interviewed ensure that the birds are always kept in the best conditions.