By Diane Burroughs
When A Bird Chooses You – You Fall In Love
In Part One of this series, I talked about how I became smitten with Peachy and how before bringing him home, I did my homework and learned about how to care for cockatoo’s, especially male Moluccan Cockatoo. These parrots have a tough reputation. There are thousands of them housed in parrot rescues.
Doing my homework prior to making a lifelong commitment helped me determine if I was in for the long haul. Large Cockatoo’s have a loud call and are the most dusty of dusty parrots.
Peachy seems to have an unusually endearing disposition as far as male cockatoo’s go, but there are days that he can be really annoying.
1. Parrots choose their mates for life and YOU are their mate. Just because I choose a pet bird doesn’t mean that the bird chooses me. That’s what’s so cool about parrot adoption. A mature parrot can actually choose you! Some parrots guard the relationship with their chosen person with gusto! In the parrots eyes, it is protecting it’s family and future generations – but we humans may interpret this “jealousy” as “mean.” Learn how to train your bird here to make it fun to be around.
2. Parrots defend their territory. Wild parrots must defend their home and territory against intruders. Some domestic parrots have difficulties with territorial behavior too, unless they feel that you are a “flock member.” Pet parrots may become defensive of their cage. Learn how to teach a cage bound parrot to get out of the cage here.
3. Very social parrots constantly communicate with their flock. Sometimes very loudly. A major survival mechanism for parrots living in large flocks and sometimes a bird needs to call its friends who are far away. All birds squawk and scream, but sometimes the screaming is inadvertently reinforced and it becomes a problem. Teach your bird ways to find out where you’re at in an “inside voice” rather than a Rainforest voice. Quiet squawks get treats and loud screeches don’t. When Peachy screams so loud that my neighbors feel like calling the authorities, I have to reign him in. Maybe a shower or time out in a sleep cage. My goal is to teach him to squawk within our home range.
It is normal and expected that a pet parrot will call out to find out where you are several times per day, usually in the morning as it wakes and evening before it settles down for bed. Your little caretaker wants to know that you are safe and that it isn’t alone. But on top of that, whistles, chatter and squawks will be heard throughout the day. It is absolutely essential to find a way to communicate and interact with pet birds several times a day so you can meet your pets social and communication needs. Still, you must learn methods to not reward your bird when it screams and screechs for attention.
4. Every facet of a parrots body is designed for flight. There are lots of arguments for both letting a parrot to fly or not, but research shows that every facet of a parrots body is designed for flight. Wild birds have to fly both to stay safe and to find food. Flying provides valuable exercise, too. In the wild, if flock mates get in an argument, one of the parrots will usually back down and fly off, keeping peace within the flock. Pet birds still have strong instincts to fly and some argue that lack of fledgling and flight are emotionally harmful.
5. Parrots need to chew. A lot! Did you know that wild macaws can excavate trees to make a nest? Parrots can chew through branches, dig under bark and crack open nuts. Parrots chew up wood to find food and make nests. All that chewing keeps the birds beak well groomed. Chewing is a strong instinctual drive for all parrots. Your parrot needs lots of bird toys to chew up. If you bird doesn’t have toys, it will chew up your stuff, so buy safe bird toys and learn how to make some of your own.
6. Smart parrots need to forage. Wild parrots forage for hours each day. Foraging is literally the process of using ingenuity to search out food sources. Foraging feeds the mind and the body while it occupies a parrot and provides exercise. Find some refillable foraging toys here.
7. Mature parrots also go through seasonal hormonal changes. Expect your parrot to become more excitable, loud and potentially aggressive during seasonal hormonal surges. But, just as important, find out what you can do to keep hormonal behavior in check.