If, like many of us, you live in an apartment or don’t like loud noises, there are quite a few quiet bird species you can choose from to keep as pets. Some of these quiet birds also like to be handled, making them a perfect companion for the home.
What are 3 quiet birds that like to be handled? Three birds that are quiet and that also like to be handled are budgies, cockatiels, and parrotlets. These birds are also perfect for keeping in a room, apartment, or small home as they don’t make a lot of noise and also don’t need that much space to thrive in.
Budgies, cockatiels, and parrotlets are all members of the parrot family and are not only very intelligent birds, but also love to be handled and taught new tricks.
Though fairly low maintenance, these birds do need a lot of attention and exercise. They should, therefore, have a variety of toys in their cage to keep them occupied as well.
Budgies and cockatiels are some of the most popular pet birds, along with finches and canaries. Parrotlets, however, are coming into their own and becoming more and more popular as pets specifically because of their personalities and because they love to be handled.
Although the quietest pet birds are finches and canaries, they are very small and fragile and should preferably not be handled. If you’re looking for a companion that will not only chatter but also interact with you, budgies, cockatiels or parrotlets are all good choices. They are also good “beginner” birds for new bird-lovers. Let’s have a look at each of these birds.
|Social — with birds and humans
Can they talk if taught?
|7” — 8”
|1 — 1.4 ounces
|Very social creature and needs a “cage mate” for company.
Yes, may even speak better than Macaws.
|2.4 — 4.2 ounces
|Loves interaction with humans and are very curious and inquisitive.
Yes, can learn a few words in some cases.
|4.5” — 5.5”
|Loves interacting with humans and also very social with others of their kind.
Yes — 10 – 15 words.
How noisy are these “quiet” birds?
It’s important to remember that birds are never completely quiet and will always make some form of noise during the day. The level of the noise, however, is vastly different between the different bird species.
Most owners of budgies, cockatiels, and parrotlets would agree that they are definitely on the quieter side of the scale. While they may not chat quite as softly as finches or canaries, they also don’t screech very often and is not as loud as, say, a dog barking. Usually, when they do make very loud sounds, it’s to get someone’s attention. Otherwise, the sounds can be described as chatting, whistling, and singing. If they have picked up some speech, they may even say words during the day.
We can report from experience that many neighbors do not know that someone has budgies in their apartment because they were well-trained and tame birds. Only when they actually saw the budgies did they realize that the neighbor had had them for years by then.
If you do find that your birds make a lot of noise, scroll down and read “How to keep your pet bird quiet(er)” as there are steps you can take.
What time of day are pet birds the noisiest?
Like their wild counterparts, pet birds are at their noisiest early in the mornings and in the evening around dusk. Budgies, cockatiels, parrotlets may also start “talking” to the outside or wild birds when they hear them singing and waking up in the morning. To keep them quieter for longer — say on a weekend when you really want to sleep in a bit — you can cover their cage to keep most of the sunlight out. This will make them think that it is earlier that is really is. It’s almost like blackout curtains for pet birds!
However, the good news is that you soon get used to their chatter in the morning and will even come to enjoy it as there isn’t a lot of screeching involved with these three species.
3 ways to keep your pet birds quiet(er)
There are quite a few ways you can use to keep your pet birds quiet that do not involve scaring them — this is very important, as birds startle quite easily. The first and easiest way to keep your pet birds quiet is to give them a lot of attention.
Interact with them a lot
The reason why giving them attention helps is that they then get the interaction that they crave from you. Interaction is even more important if you only have one bird instead of a pair (for instance if one of your budgies or cockatiels died). This brings me to the second way to keep your birds quieter; making sure that you keep a pair of birds and not a single bird.
Keep them in pairs
All three of the bird species mentioned in this article — budgies, cockatiels, and parrotlets — are very social creatures and need a lot of social interaction. Although they may get a lot of interaction from you, having another of their own species with them will give them constant fellowship and interaction.
This level of interaction is especially important if you have to leave the house for extended periods of time during the day to go to work or school, etc. Instead of your bird becoming bored and screaming for attention, they will be able to twitter, chat, and play with their cage mate(s).
Cover the cage
To make it easier for your pet birds to go to sleep; for instance, if the ambient light in the room keeps them awake, you can cover the cage with a smallish sheet or cloth to block out the light and voilà! It can also help to calm them down if there is a lot of new people in the room with them, for instance, if you keep them in the family room and you have guests over. In this last case, it’s also best to move them to a quieter room.
Note: If one of your birds suddenly becomes very quiet when they’ve always been boisterous or talkative, they may be ill.
How to tame your bird and let them enjoy being handled
When you first bring your new pet birds home, you’ll probably find that they are very skittish and not very impressed with you if you try to feed them by hand. However, the trick with birds — as with any pet, really — is patience.
First, give your birds some time to settle in and get used to you and their new surroundings. For instance, you can sit next to their cage and softly speak to them or just sit and read or watch a show. Soon they will see that you are not a threat to them.
Next, you can start putting some seed or pellets in your palm and holding your hand inside the cage for your birds to eat out of. They probably won’t do so on the first day, but don’t give up! Once they eat out of your hand, you can start teaching them to “step up” onto your finger.
How to teach your bird the “step up” command
The “step up” command is one of the easiest ones to teach your pet bird. This is how you do it:
- After getting your bird used to you, by teaching it to eat out of your hand (as we described above), you can start to hold your index finger of your other hand in front of your bird for it to climb onto.
- If they don’t climb onto your finger, you can softly push against their breast with your outstretched finger and hold it out for them again. After doing this a few times, they should learn that they need to climb onto your finger when you hold your finger out for them.
- When they do climb onto your finger, give them a little treat for their good behavior. As with everything you teach your bird, patience is the key.
Once you can take your birds out of the cage, you can slowly start to touch their heads. Many birds love to be scratched lightly on the head. If you see that they get uncomfortable (or they want to bite you), stop for the day.
Soon you will see that they come to trust you more and more and will want to spend time with you (and not just to get more of those yummy treats!).
How to tell if your bird is enjoying its interaction with you
It’s quite easy to tell if your bird is enjoying its interaction if you look at its body language. For instance, if they lean away from you when you want to scratch their heads, they are probably a bit tired and have had enough. If they try to bite you when you touch their feet, for instance, you also know that they don’t like their feet being touched.
When they are happy, they will usually “chat” to you, but won’t screech — especially not these species of bird! If they start to seem agitated, therefore, it’s best to put them back in their cage. However, don’t treat the cage like a place for a “time out”. Keep calm even if your bird is getting worked up to ensure that you don’t spoil the bond you have built.
What should you never do when handling your pet bird
Because birds are so fragile, there are certain precautions you should take when handling your pet bird. These include:
- Never shout at your bird; always talk in soothing tones.
- Never hit your bird.
- Never squeeze a bird.
- Never hold your bird by its legs or wings.
- Remove your jewelry (rings, earrings, necklaces, etc.) before you handle your bird as they love shiny objects and may start biting at the jewelry.
- Never run out of patience. If you find that your patience is coming to an end when trying to teach a trick, rather call it a day and try again later or the following day.
Most of all, enjoy the time you spend with your bird companions! Learn their quirks and personalities and how to interact with them on their terms, and you’ll have a long and wonderful friendship.