What's In a Name?While it's doubtful that a bird's name does much to shape its personality, a name can affect the way that your friends and family interact with your pet. Humans have a habit of projecting their own perceptions of a name's meaning onto the bearer, and this can cause them to misjudge an animal's personality and/or demeanor. For example, would you rather reach out to pet a strange dog named "Fluffy", or a strange dog named "Killer"? When choosing a name for your parrot, keep in mind the kinds of preconceptions that your choice may cause people to form about your pet.
Another important thing to keep in mind when naming your parrot is longevity. Many parrots live upwards of 20 or 30 years, and some can live closer to 100! With proper care, your new pet is going to be around for a very long time. You will want to make sure that the name you choose is one that you can live with for as long as you expect your parrot to be around. For instance, it may have seemed cool to name your bird "Macarena" back in 1995, but today you would be hard pressed to find it listed among the most popular pet bird names. Avoiding fads is key to choosing the best name for any pet.
Name That Bird!Since the choices for naming your bird are literally endless, it can help to look at some of the themes other people use when naming their pets. I have met parrots named after authors, historical figures, astronauts, greek gods and goddesses, movie characters, mythical beasts, artists, and rock musicians, just to name a few. A good example is a Sun Conure that I know named Phoenix. In ancient lore, the phoenix was a bird that would burst into flames upon its death, and was then immediately reborn out of the ashes. Phoenix's owner chose this name not only because it is tied to a mythical bird, but because the flame symbolism lends itself to the Sun Conure's beautiful, fiery colors.
If you have a few names in mind already but are having trouble choosing one, it can help to research their origins and meanings to see which name you think would be the best fit. Good resources to check are encyclopedias, dictionaries, and baby name guides. The online search at BabyNames.com allows visitors to search for names by letter, gender, origin, and meaning. Try playing around with it and see what cool information you can come up with.
Some bird owners wait to get to know their pets' personalities before naming them, and there is nothing wrong with that at all! After living and interacting with a bird for a few days, you may find that it will actually "name itself" in showing off its traits, quirks, and character. In fact, I chose to take this route when I first got my own Sun Conure, whom I lovingly and appropriately decided to call "Loco".
If you really want your bird to choose its own name, a neat thing to try is to write down several names you like on pieces of paper and put them in a pile. Let your bird inspect the papers and see if he or she picks one out. I know an African Grey named "Rockstar" that was named using this technique, and to this day it makes me chuckle to see how much the bird's personality really did turn out to be larger than life!
Remember - There Is No Wrong Answer!You can choose any word as a name for your bird, or you can even make a word up yourself! The main thing to keep in mind is that you are choosing a name that you'll be comfortable repeating, over and over again, for many years to come.
Your bird's name can be as unique or common, as wacky or sensible as you want it to be. As long as you provide loving care and plenty of attention, you'll be rewarded with a devoted pet no matter what you choose to call him. Don't rush yourself into choosing a name hastily, and you'll be likely to pick one that fits your parrot like a glove. And even if turns out that it does not, keep in mind the words of William Shakespeare, as I've often quoted to "Dracula", my friend's pet Cockatoo: "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet."