The words “emotional support animal” spark images of a friendly dog or cuddly cat for most people. While these animals are the most common emotional support animals (ESA) of the nearly 200,000 registered, your options are not limited to just these two types. You can have a guinea pig, rabbit, or even a horse as an ESA! These animals do not need special training as service animals, and they are excellent support sources.
Did you know birds also make excellent emotional support animals? There are a lot of reasons for this, including their intelligence and empathy. Keep reading if you’re curious to learn how these feathered friends offer comfort and support.
Can Birds Be Emotional Support Animals?
Yes, you can certainly choose a bird as an ESA. These feathered friends can be excellent sources of support for mental and emotional concerns. They will not need any additional certification or training – just a letter from a mental health professional.
Note: At this time ESA registration site cannot offer letters for any animal other than Dogs and Cats.
Why You Should Pick Birds as Emotional Support Animals
There are several reasons why you would choose a bird for an emotional support animal, including their high levels of intelligence and empathy. You can talk with a mental health professional about these benefits to see if a bird is the right match for you.
Let’s dive right into some of the reasons birds make awesome ESAs.
They’re Intelligent and Responsive
Birds can sense and respond to emotions like stress, anger, distress, and tension. A bird can help you with a variety of mental and emotional situations. They can help you navigate feelings of anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and more.
These animals are highly intelligent and can learn words and phrases. Parakeets and parrots can verbally respond to specific circumstances. This intelligence can assist their handler through an emotional episode and provide soothing comfort.
Plus, the time it takes to teach birds to produce human speech is a great form of engagement for humans. It will give you a task to focus on as you build their communication skills and a sense of accomplishment once they’re using terms.
They’re Convenient to Care For
Birds will not need a daily walk or company to the bathroom. A roomy cage and routine cleaning is all the maintenance they will need.
This setup is convenient if you do not have time for daily walks or want a low-maintenance pet. It’s also ideal for people with reduced mobility, or those in nursing homes where it’s challenging to have a wandering animal. Birdcages are easy to clean and keep birds in one spot.
Another convenient factor is that birds are less likely to damage property if you live in a rented space. This can save you money in the long run, as you won’t be paying your landlord or nursing home any additional fees for damaged walls or scratched furniture!
They’re a Manageable Size
Birds are relatively small, especially when compared to larger dogs. They will use the same space for drinking, eating, and using the bathroom, which makes it easy to accommodate and care for these animals.
ESAs are permitted to live with you despite any housing restrictions under the Fair Housing Act. Since they just need a cage, they can easily live with you in an apartment, house, or other space.
They Travel Well
Many people like to travel with their support animals but experience issues based on size and other factors. Since most birds are small and can be transported in a cage, it tends to be easier to travel with these animals.
Check out this resource for more information about traveling with your bird ESA!
You Can Easily Prevent Overproduction
Any cat or dog owner knows the risk and fear of the animal becoming pregnant. Of course, this can be avoided by having the animal neutered or spayed.
With birds, overpopulation is not a big concern. You simply have to avoid letting eggs hatch and you will not have tiny, chirping birds to worry about. You can do this through environmental and behavioral changes, including:
- Removing eggs they have laid
- Keeping them in bright, sunny spaces
- Giving them an early bedtime
Check out this resource to learn more about breeding behaviors in birds.
These animals will quickly chirp its way into your heart as an intelligent and convenient source of support. Building connection with a bird is a great way to channel your energy and time if you are dealing with anxiety, depression, PTSD, or other mental health issues. Just make sure you find an adequate size cage for them to call home!