ENTERTAINING, DEMANDING; LOVING, BITING!
Let me start by telling you that parrots can be ‘pets’, but they are far more. Nothing like a pet fish in a bowl. ‘Companions’ is a better word… What word do I use to describe an intelligent feathered-being that you bond with, that sometimes reads your mind or mood and that wants to engage with you? That is demanding, to the point of tantrums and screaming, but sweet, holding your finger with his foot. Let’s not forget, they generally also want to groom you too – so watch any beauty marks, they’ll pick at them, and don’t open wide because they’ll clean your teeth! Of course, they love you too- who else would preen you? Many parrots mate for life and choose one bird, or person, as their “bond.” This makes you special.
When I got married, my husband told me that I should experience the love of ‘man’s best friend.’ Our dog knew when I was sad and consoled me, raced us home when we rounded the corner to our house and even protected our second dog by stepping in to break up a dog fight. She was exceptional! We had one of the best dogs there ever was, so I know what a loyal, intelligent and amazing animal a dog can be. Birds can be like that, they are loyal, tuned into you and protective of you, but in a different way.
THEY WANT TO BE WITH YOU & THEY ARE EXCELLENT AT COMMUNICATING
Parrots express themselves, sometimes screaming for attention. Other times communicating what they want. Some parrots, like my yellow-naped Amazon, Lorenza, express with words in English. When I first brought her home, I sat at the table eating my salad and I heard something, which I didn’t pay attention to. Then I heard it again and again. I started to listen, was I hearing Lorenza saying “Want some?” Yes, I was. Wow! So, I went over and offered her some salad and sure enough! She only says around five things and some like “Hello,” is said for attention. But she also tells me when she wants to be with me, “Want to come” and says “Bye-bye” when she knows I’m leaving, when she wants me to hang up a phone call or when she wants someone else to leave because she wants all of my attention.
Key Lime, our budgie (also called a parakeet), we haven’t taught to talk. Some budgies develop the largest vocabularies that rival an African Grey’s vocabulary, like Alex or Griffin (famous African Greys that talk), others simply don’t talk. Even without words, Key Lime is great at communicating. She was out of her cage one day and flew into another bird’s cage. I can’t recall how I knew, but she made it crystal clear that she liked this cage and the cozy (a soft, fabric tent for birds to sleep in). Now, I could have gone against her wishes, since it was someone else’s cage, but I figure that when a little bird-lady so clearly tells you what they want, well, it’s for a reason. Within two days of switching her cage she and her mate had their first two eggs!
THEY WATCH YOU
I have to be smarter than my birds, I’m going to insist upon it because science says I am, but the argument against me can be made against me. I’m trying to learn to read bird body language to understand what’s going on with my birds -and to avoid getting bit. It’s very important to me to keep my own skin and blood! Nevertheless, they quickly learn my body language- and sometimes they learn to speak my language, English. I get bit. Old dog and new tricks…
Don’t worry though, it happens when you’re new to birds or new to a bird. We re-homed a pair of African Greys and I’ve only been bit a couple of times. Nothing too bloody. Lorenza, on the other hand, I am learning to read, since I spend a lot of time with her. Just the tilt of her head seems to tell me “yes” or “no”; I no longer worry about her biting me. I can even pet her without watching her the whole time – which I would never do until I got to know a parrot well. Super well.
I had a sweet caique that died on me – cries. She and Lorenza have been more than friends to me; with them I have/had a deep connection that rivals my dog’s, but their size and the way about them is a bit more ‘human.’ I believe it has to do with their intelligence, it is easier for us to relate to them (Read a blog about their intelligence versus other birds HERE
They are more readily able to talk, they have preferences, share their lives and their wants with you – and, as their bonded pal, they expect you to share your life, your food and your time and love in return.