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Backyard Birds as Pets

Wild Backyard Birds

Some might say that it's a bad idea if you're trying to turn a wild bird into a pet. However, making friends with wild birds is very easy to do, and all you really have to do is offer them food. By offering them a bird feeder with seeds, suet, or a combination recipe, you'll entice them to come around regularly, and maybe even nest.

Yes, you can become really good friends with your neighborhood birds, and giving them food is just one way to turn them into pets. A pet bird doesn't always have to be confined in a cage, it can be any bird that trusts you and is willing to visit you on a regular basis. Altogether, there are several ways you can convert your backyard birds into pets...

Food

Bird feeders - Although a wild bird will never be completely tamed, there are several ways to get a small songbird to feel unafraid of humans while in a backyard environment. One sure way to attract them is food. By placing a bird feeder near somewhere in your yard and filling it with either suet of seed, you are sure to attract a number of different species. Food is the easiest way to make your everyday birds your pets. As the birds come back to your bird feeder over and over again, they get used to the idea of humans being close.

Sense of smell - Since birds can't smell very well, it's not the smell of humans that will scare them off, it's the sudden movements that humans make that will cause them to fly away. It's important to remain calm when they come around so that they will stick around as you get closer.

Hummingbirds - With patience, hand feeding hummingbirds is possible and can become an amazing experience for any bird enthusiast. It's easy for anyone to do, and with consistency and the right colors, it's possible to entice a hummingbird to land directly on your hand and sip from a small container of nectar. There are a few specific steps involved when making friends with a hummingbird. Read about the steps involved in making a hummingbird feel confident enough to eat directly out of a human hand. Enticing a Hummingbird »

Pigeons - It's just a matter of time before a pigeon is not scared of you. Start by throwing some food on the ground around you and then on your hand, and they'll start to eat right from your hand. Before long, they'll come sit on you. Be careful, they sometimes bring a lot of their friends.

Water

Bird Baths - Standard bird baths are mounted on a support stand that raises the water basin a few feet above the ground. Standard bird baths are the most commonly used method used by bird enthusiasts to attract backyard birds. A bird bath is simple in design and easy to set up.

Water Basins - The standard bird bath is not always the best way to offer water to birds. Most natural sources of water are on the ground, such as lakes, streams and puddles. Place the water basin on the ground or raised slightly above the ground, and thirsty birds that are looking for water to drink (or splash around in) are sure to find it.

Water in Motion - When sun rays shine down on water, it causes water to sparkle. This gets the attention of birds and is far more effective in attracting birds than still water. Moving water stays cleaner longer and mosquitoes will have a hard time reproducing.

Fledglings

Fledglings - Occasionally, when baby birds are raised by humans and then released as adults, they follow people around as they still associate people with food and safety. As baby birds grow, they develop an affinity toward humans, especially if they were raised from fledglings and away from other members of their species. This creates an emotional attachment that can be so strong that the bird prefers being around its caretaker rather than other birds. Birds will sometimes follow humans by hovering, even following by walking along with them. Domestic birds will follow by walking too, as parrots will take short walks with their owners, and turkeys will even take longer "walk-a-longs" with their owners. As far as backyard birds as pets, turkeys aren't considered typical backyard pets, but turkeys, and chickens as well, will make fun and exciting additions to your family.

Shelter

Birdhouses - A good way to make friends with a mother bird is to mount a simple birdhouse »

Shrubs - Shrubs offer protection.

Trees - Tress offer protection as well as shelter.

Snags - Snags offer protection for birds, as well as other wildlife.

Other Birds

Let's face it, some birds are not good candidates for becoming friends, either because they are not inclined to becoming friends with humans, or they are extremely reactive to movement. Other reasons are the annoying habits that unique species have such as the woodpecker. In their efforts to survive, they peck away at tree trunks, power poles and side paneling in order to create bore-like holes to store food. This is an obvious problem for some, as the effects of their pecking behavior leaves its distinguishable marks everywhere, along with the audible effects. Some home owners look aside from this however, and choose to place a woodpecker's favorite choice of seed and/or suet in a backyard bird feeder.

Birds to stay away from!..

You're not likely to see a wild cassowary anytime soon, but if you do, stay away. Normally, they're shy around humans, but if provoked, they can become aggressive. With huge claws on each foot and the ability to grow to 6' tall, a wild cassowary is a bird that should be treated with caution, especially around mothers with eggs nearby. You'll recognize a cassowary if you see one, as they have a gothic, prehistoric appearance with a bright blue face and a hornlike forehead.

Guinness World Records classifies the cassowary as the World's most dangerous bird. The first confirmed human death since 1926 was recently caused by a cassowary. The victim was a Florida bird enthusiast who was checking on the eggs of a pet cassowary he kept on his farm, and after accidentally falling, the bird was startled and attacked. The man later died in the hospital from the injuries.

Although there are people who keep these birds as exotic pets, anyone considering them as a backyard pet should consider that this type of bird can out-muscle and out-run most humans. With it's muscular legs and dagger like 5" claws, it can run up to 31 mph, and weighing up to 130 lbs, it still manages to jump almost 7 feet into the air and swim like an accomplished swimmer.

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