Let me start off by saying that in a perfect world dogs would not need leashes, cats would not need to be kept indoors, people wouldn't be restrained in offices, and birds would not need cages. I'm still stuck in my office so I guess we aren't there yet. Most people can't afford a house with a dedicated sunroom/aviary for a companion bird. It just isn't safe for a bird to freely roam ones home unsupervised any more then it is safe to let a toddler have free rein of the house. Even if you are a bird watcher with no intention of ever keeping a bird in a cage you should still take the time to get to know the basics of cage requirements. If for no other reason than you are known as a birdbrain (to be read one who knows about bird matters). Because of this you never know when you'll get that 03:00AM call "Dude ... Guess what I won in a poker game! How do I.. ... ?"
Whether you build or buy a cage for a parrot there are a lot of things to consider. To make things easier I've written down a few thoughts that may help avoid some of the bigger pitfalls. Whether you choose to build or buy a cage you will save yourself a lot of trouble in the future by thinking about your bird's cage now. After all a parrot can live well past fifty years. Do you want to live that long with someone who has a grudge? Just kidding! However you need to understand that parrots have some unique requirements so you can'tjust go out and buy a cheap dog kennel or rabbit cage.
From the parrot's point of view, there is no such thing as a cage that is too large. After all their natural homes in jungles and savannas are very big places. The cage should be at least as wide as one and a half times the wingspan of the bird. A Parrot must be able to flap its wings to exercise. If you must choose between height or width, go with width. You can always let the bird out to climb. However, at a minimum the cage needs to be tall enough for the bird to stand up, but the more climbing room, the better. It is important to remember that the smaller the cage, the more time the bird NEEDS out of it.
The bar spacing should be no wider than one to one and a quarter inch apart for a medium sized hook bill such as amazons, grays or eclectus. It is important to remember the smaller the bird the less space you can have between the bars. The diameter of the bars is another thing you should think about. Where as an eclectus may not be as prone to chewing on the bars, a Macaw may decide to get it's daily iron requirements from the bars of it's cage! You need to make sure the bars can hold up to the bird. There should be some horizontal bars for the bird to climb on. You can use perches for the bird to climb on in a pinch. However, the more things a bird can climb on the more area it has to exercise, play or just enjoy a better quality of life. The more surface area the bird can climb on the more living space it
has. This is the same reason there are skyscrapers in New York. If you can't ...