Air Filter

Your bird’s respiratory system is very sensitive, and good air quality is a must for her. While you can help by not using chemical cleaners and keeping your bird’s cage clutter-free, an air filter is one of the best tools available to clean the air. For the best results, use a high-efficiency particulate absorption (HEPA) air filter.

Playstand/Playgym

The No. 1 bird essential is a playstand or playgym. A playstand is a place your bird can hang out away for her cage, and this is good for many reasons. One, it means your bird can spend time with you and the family without having to risk your furniture being nibbled on by your bird. (She’ll still try, but it’ll be harder for her if she’s on a playstand.)

Another good reason to have a playstand is that it’s a neutral territory. Your bird will probably become territorial of her cage — through no fault of her own. It’s her instincts telling her to keep her home free of intruders. A playstand, however, isn’t her cage, and your bird can take a break from all-important cage-guarding duty and spend time with her family.

Playstands are a great place to teach your bird tricks, as well. But you do have to keep the playstand interesting, otherwise, your bird may wander around looking for something to do. Pile on the interesting toys and keep some treats on hand for a happy bird.

Microchip

There’s a chance your bird may one day accidentally fly out an open window or door. Consider having your bird microchipped. If your bird does get lost and is taken to a shelter, they can scan your bird and help get her back home safely.

Cage Cover

The moment the sun rises, your bird is going to be up greeting the day loudly. If you want to catch some more shut-eye, invest in a quality cage cover for your bird’s cage that will block out the rising sun until you’re ready to get up. Likewise, a good cage cover that blocks out light is good for birds that are tucking in for the night. Cover your bird’s cage to prevent any lights from disturbing them during the night.

Travel Carrier

Whether it’s for a vet visit, a trip or only for an emergency, a travel carrier is a must for you and your bird. Purchase a carrier that is sturdy enough to resist a bird trying to chew on it, and that you can outfit with a perch and some cups. For birds that have long tails, you might want to purchase a carrier that is vertical rather than horizontal.

Nonstick Pans

Teflon-coated pans are not your bird’s friend. Polytetrafluoroethylene, or Teflon, if burned, can kill your bird. Invest in other types of pots and pans that are Teflon-free for your bird’s safety, such as stainless-steel pans. There are “green” Teflon-free pans now available on the market — but keep in mind that manufacturers do not routinely test on animals to determine safety concerns. Also, if you have a self-cleaning oven, do not use it. There are too many reports of birds dying because people didn’t realize the fumes from their self-cleaning oven were harmful.

Earplugs

We asked readers on Facebook, “What is one thing every bird owner needs?” and a surprisingly large number of people answered “earplugs.” This might not be a bad investment, as birds are loud. They’re usually the loudest when they are at their happiest — at sunrise, when they’re happy to have survived the night, or when they’re just happy to be a bird. At these moments, you gotta’ let them scream. So, invest in earplugs, and maybe join your bird in those happy yelling moments!

Photo credit: Cockatiel by Nick Beer/Shutterstock

Keeping a pet bird can be crazy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t survive and thrive. Give yourself the best shot possible by subscribing to Bird Talk Magazine! This bimonthly magazine features articles on all aspects of pet birds, including health, nutrition and lifestyle.

I am the editor in chief of Bird Talk Magazine, a California native, journalist, vegan and the proud owner of Forest and River, two German Shephards, and a turquoise green-cheeked conure named Blue.

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