Four Important Things to Remember about Parrots

Four Important Things to Remember about Parrots

1.  Parrots bite.  Yes, they can, and yes they often will.  Bites can vary from a little love nip because you were not paying enough attention; to a harder bite that bruises, because well you were still not paying attention to the body language; to the really bad bite that causes bleeding and/or much pain.  The level 3 bite is often from fear or hormonal aggression which is why you must never forget the golden rule of living with a parrot, ALWAYS pay attention to the body language of a parrot.  If you do get a bite, never blame the parrot.  More than likely you didn't pay enough attention or were too slow recognizing the signs.  Sometimes humans make the mistake of thinking parrots are like puppies and many dogs, always happy to interact with and welcome attention from humans.  Some parrots may fall into that loveable category but many parrots do not.  Some parrots love you 'when they love you', and it may depend on the day of the week, hour of the day, minute of the hour, and so on.  My Vet used to laugh and say parrots reminded her of the personality of most cats.  They love you when they love you, ignore you when they want to, choose you when it suits them, and can almost always be coaxed into a good mood with food.  True words from a very smart Vet.     

2.  Parrots make noise.   Sometimes quite a lot of it.  It's important to realize "noise" is a personal thing.  Some people find a budgie chattering or a cockatiel whistling quite annoying.  I once had a person tell me their zebra finch was driving them crazy with all the noise it made.  Other people find a conure screaming quite annoying.  Then there is the top of the mountain noise level people who finally break at the cockatoo ear shattering shrill yells, or the megaphone macaw squawks.   Personally, I'm a level 3 noise person because to me my sun conure screaming is a hum compared to one of my Amazons imitating a cockatoo screaming.  Not even my macaw is that annoying.



 3.  Parrots make messes.  Really big messes.  They are very good at it.  It's in their DNA.  Flinging fruit around the rainforest just comes naturally.  Totally destroying that $50 toy in one day, well every parrot needs to keep their beak in shape and I suspect often mine sometimes destroy things just because they can.  If you have ever witnessed a Macaw or Cockatoo use their large beak to successfully swipe out all contents of their food dish in one easy swoop, you too would be amazed at how easy and satisfying it seems to be.  Even if a bird is born and raised to live with us, that wild bird personality is alive and well.  They just can't help themselves, they must fling food, toys, and whatever else they can grab and fling.  To not be messy would be quite boring for them.   After all, a parrot's natural foraging instinct is a goal of getting to the center of things and not caring where the outer layers end up.

4.  Parrots are picky.  They are quite picky about what foods they like, what colors they like or dislike, picky about what toys they will play with, and definitely picky about what people they like and don't like.  Just because they loved a certain food or toy last week, doesn't mean it's still okay this week.

Patience is your friend when living with a parrot.  They challenge us to help them enjoy a healthy diet, use their awesome intelligence in play and foraging, and encourage trust and love to help avoid the bite.  If you love a parrot, then you are a pretty cool person.  If you are loved by a parrot, then you are a very cool person.

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