One Flew Into the Cuckoo’s Nest: Where to Find (And Play With) Exotic Birds

If you get Steve Irwin-excited at the sight of sparrows, cardinals, and hawks in Central Park, flock to this shop in Mineola, Long Island for an exotic change of scenery. A fine feathered establishment since 1984, For Birds Only is best known for its stock of parrots, cockatiels, Parakeets and Lorikeets looking to have a good time.

Inside this special boutique nestled in Nassau County, there is enough tropical-colored plumage to delight average animal lovers and aviary connoisseurs alike. For Birds Only is a family owned operation and pet shop filled with some of the most striking and (often overly-friendly) birds of all shapes and sizes.

A fun and unique aspect of the store is the customer’s ability to interact and engage with the birds, not just admire them within their cages. The Eclectus parrots, the most eye-catching and flamboyant of parrots, welcome you at the front of the shop, while at the back, a menagerie of animated and talkative peeps will entertain you for days. The stars of the collection are The African Greys and Scarlet Macaws, which range in price from $1300 to $5000.

But you don’t have to break the bank on your trip to For Birds Only. The store also offers a selection of fish and reptiles and has a wide range of bird and pet food, supplies and cages, even nail clipping and beak filing services. Smaller birds, such as parakeets or paras (miniature parrots), can be purchased for as little as $75.

When your time ruffling feathers is up, head to one of Mineola’s Zagat-rated spots for pasta. Pasta Vino, an Italian bistro just blocks away, offers fine Italian wines and delicious dishes such as Arancine alla Romana (mini saffron rice balls stuffed with mozzarella) and Fettucine Salsa Rosata. Top it all off with their special signature dessert Budino De Chocolate.

How to get there: Take the Port Jefferson line of the LIRR and get off at the Mineola stop. Then exit near the intersection of Station Plaza North and Mineola Blvd. Then turn right on 2nd Avenue and make another left onto Mineola Blvd. (For Birds Only, 176 Jericho Turnpike, Mineola, NY, 516.746.3630,

(Pasta Vino is 149 Mineola Blvd, Mineola, NY, 516.294.1715,