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How to choose a bird as a pet

Canaries, finches, and budgies all make excellent pets. They are easy to care for, beautiful to look at, and may be pleasing to the ear. When shopping for pets, look for birds that are alert, bright-eyed, and sleek.

There are two types of canary: the song canary, bred for its singing, and the type canary, bred for its color. A song canary can be either a chopper or a roller. The chopper is a loud, jazzy singer, whereas the roller produces a soft melody. The average life span of a canary is 9 years.

Finches are hardy, quiet birds that are kept mostly for their beautiful colors. The most common are the Java sparrow, which is white or gray with a red bill; the society finch, which is white with blotches of color; and the zebra finch.

Finches are social and do better when kept with one or more of their own species. The average life span of a finch is 21/2 years.

The budgerigar, or budgie, is a small parakeet that is popular for its brilliant color, powers of mimicry, and affectionate nature. Budgies can be taught to talk. It is easiest to train birds 6 to 12 weeks old. (Young birds have stripes on their foreheads.) Budgies may live up to 12 years.