Acquired: Pet store
Posted May 20, 2014
My mom got Razz, a blue-fronted Amazon, when he was 5 months old. We also had a cockatiel at the time that we kept in a separate cage. He's sweet and gentle and VERY talkative, which of course is what these parrots are known for. He's very intelligent and can repeat full phrases, his favorite being "What-cha doing over there?" He can also sing the "Pop Goes the Weasel" tune and parts of commercial jingles. He loves to play with toys, hang upside down, and walk himself all over his cage. I would recommend lots of different perches for them to climb on and different toys, as they like variety. You'll want a roomy cage as well. These parrots are extremely fun to watch and interact with and are super social.
However, I have some cautions. I would not recommend buying a parrot from a chain pet store as they are not always adequately handled. Try to find a breeder or local pet shop with a good reputation. Also, consider carefully whether you're ready to have this pet for several decades - parrots live a long time, so they are not something to buy without a lot of thought. Male parrots can display aggression and be quite willful, so you need to be able to train them and have the patience to deal with their rebellious behavior. Razz didn't have much aggression after the first year, especially since he was trained well before my mom got him. They can also be fearless - once we came out and he was standing on top of his cage, eyeing the ceiling fan. Just watch out for them, especially if you keep your bird out of his cage. They also require a lot of direct attention, so if your parrot is acting up or screaming, it might be because they feel lonely. You can't just put them in their cage and leave them there.
Their screeches, squawks, and random bursts into song might drive you nuts if you have sensitive hearing. You also have to watch out for bites - they can be quite painful and you'll probably be bitten at least once if you own a parrot. I worked at a local pet store for a while, and we had a parrot there named Reba. One day, she bit me on the back of my neck to pull herself up on my shoulder. She obviously didn't mean to hurt me, but it still hurt! So just be careful of that. Razz also has the habit of throwing his food all over the place, which inevitably ends up scattered on the floor. Be prepared for a mess.
If you're looking for an intelligent, social bird that's tons of fun to interact with, a parrot might be the bird for you, but consider it carefully to make sure you're committed to taking care of them.
Image: By Liz Marion from Santa Luz, Brazil (My birdy bird Uploaded by Snowmanradio) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons