If you are caring for an older or elderly person, then you may be aware of the many benefits that can come from exposing them to the company of companion animals. Retirement communities and nursing homes have been studying these benefits for years with programs such as The Eden Project, and many caretakers have noted success in using small pet bird species in these sorts of settings. If you are interested in doing something similar for an older person in your life, then consider the bird species featured below as some of the best choices for older owners. You may be surprised at how much the company of these little creatures can improve the quality of your loved one's life!
Canaries are sweet, colorful little birds whose soft songs are known the world over for producing feelings of calm and serenity. Not only are they small and easy to care for, they are tons of fun to watch and don't require excessive amounts of attention in order to thrive. Canaries are popular pets in settings such as retirement communities and nursing facilities as the residents and patients can watch and hear them without having to get physically involved in their care. Singer Canaries are normally kept singly, which cuts down on the amount of cleaning and effort that a caretaker needs to expend in order to keep them successfully. With proper care, they can live for up to 10 years in captivity, making them an excellent choice as a companion for older people who find themselves in long-term care situations.
These delightful little birds are another popular choice as pets for older or elderly people. Their sweet, quiet vocalizations are very pleasant to listen to, and people often enjoy relaxing while they watch them flit around their cages. Like Canaries, there is no need to allow out-of-cage playtime for a finch, so they are a great choice for a person who would benefit from being able to just sit and watch them throughout the day. They require minimal human attention otherwise, so they are a good species to keep from a nursing/caretaker standpoint. Zebra Finches are very social and need to be kept in small flocks of 3 to 4 birds in order to thrive, but this only adds to the joy of being able to watch them interact with each other. These birds would be best in a home that has space to allow for a rather large flight cage, as they are very active even though they prefer to stay "behind bars." Other popular choices in the Finch family include the colorful Gouldian Finches and the slightly larger Java Finch.
Perhaps the most popular small bird species, the Budgie or Parakeet is a small, colorful parrot species with an enormous amount of personality for their size. Because Budgies are parrots, they require more human interaction than bird such as canaries or finches, so they would do best in a situation where someone can play and interact with them directly for at least an hour or so per day. These beautiful birds are highly vocal, but lack the ability to scream like many other parrot species, which has made them a popular choice for bird owners both young and old. They can also learn to be proficient talkers, which is a delight to animal lovers of all walks. Budgies require less space than other parrot species, but it is beneficial for them to have some out-of-cage playtime as often as possible. For this reason, they are recommended for owners who are fairly mobile and able to spend time socializing and playing with their pet.