Birds are flock animals and when we bring them into our homes we become their flock. This means we have to meet certain needs for them.
The needs I’m talking about are social ones that would normally be fulfilled by other parrots in their flock. They could be met during playtime, snuggle time, preening (but not in the no no zones) and even training! Parrots aren’t meant to be kept in cages as decorations.
Each of my birds has a totally different personality so our social time looks different. Miss Bean is a high energy white bellied caique. They have no chill. It’s play play play. ❤️ Her favorite thing to do is have a pile of foot toys out and throw them on the floor for me to pick up! She also likes to hop and chase around stuffed animals. There’s not much sitting and snuggling with her, aside from the classic, caique “surfing” which is always on her terms. I… emphasis on the word “I”…may have turned her into a little bit of a Velcro bird too.
Angel is the stoic African Grey. Honestly I sometimes open her cage door and forget she’s out! She likes to stay on her cage because it’s her comfort zone. She is still afraid of being handled too much so the occasional step up from Angel is rewarding.
We adopted Angel at 26 years old and don’t know much of her back story. Despite the fact she doesn’t like to be touched much she still craves attention. For her this as simple as returning a whistle from the other room (a flock call) or even just talking to her. Her and I have even begun target training which she loves. She enjoys sunflower seeds...maybe in a previous home she got them a little too much. Haha
Skittles chicken is “Monster” for a reason. She’s just a giant red bird. Haha…In all seriousness though Skittles is probably my favorite when it comes to fulfilling the needs of a flock member. She’s a snuggle bunny and lets me help pop her pin feathers on her head. My others don’t let me near their pins. Miss Bean is a tiny velociraptor when it comes to pins and…well…Angel would quite literally take a chunk out of my finger if I tried it. 😂 We also do training and have playtime but nothing beats the snuggles of a macaw.
The reason I’m sharing all this is because sometimes people don’t realize the intelligence, personality differences, and the fragility of these creatures. We took them out of their habitat and made them pets so we need to meet their needs. They aren’t cage decorations. Quite often a human fails them along their journey resulting in many unwanted behaviors. My hope is maybe someone reads this and thinks maybe my bird needs something from me... attention, training, the vet, the list could go on.
Angel, our adopted rescue, is a biter; I’m convinced she likes to bite at this point and it’s a game. It’s not her fault; someone taught her to do that. I joke around that she really is the most well behaved of all three birds but what if early on someone had recognized they were failing her and corrected their human error…would she be more confident??? confident enough to step up on a training stand?…leave her cage for a playstand?…not pluck and barber her feathers?? Maybe someday we will get there; she is already making great progress.