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AMAZING PARROT FACTS
Written by: Karen Windsor, Tami Myers & Peggy Geyer
When you walk into a pet store and begin to fall in love with the stunning, and amazing birds (species) that beckons you with a soft, "hello", and says "I love you", no one ever tells you how this bird will systematically turn your life inside out. They simply smile, congratulate you on your purchase and place your check carefully in the register as they watch you walk out the door. They don't tell you that they've just sold you a life sentence.
Parrots are complex, intelligent, highly emotional and social creatures. They require higher standards of attention, stimulation
and affection, more than any other pet. Many parrots have the intelligence of three to five year old children, and the emotional capacity of two year olds. A volatile combination! Consequently, they require quite similar attention, interaction and love.
When we fail to meet these needs, much like children parrots will involve themselves in attention-getting behaviors which can become self-destructive and intolerable to their human companions.
Because some of us work, others volunteer for a parrot rescue and sanctuary organization we bear witness, each and every day, to the tragic aftermath of people's uninformed fascination with parrots. We can not even begin to count the times we have heard people lament that, had they known what parrot care and guardianship actually entailed, they would never have purchased a bird for a pet. But how could they have known? Even those people who may have spent a great deal of time carefully researching to learn what species of parrots would be best suited to them, have been subject mainly to happy and encouraging information specifically geared toward selling the bird. The honest, factual, pro and con information has not been readily available to the consumer.
Parrots are highly social creatures. They bond deeply with their human companions when denied the opportunity to form natural bonds with other birds as mates and flock members, the very behaviors they use to elicit human attention are the behaviors that cost them their homes. Many companion parrots suffer the fate of being passed from owner to owner. Their stability and sense of security are gravely affected, and their negative behaviors increase.
Parrots will often resort to self-destructive behavior out of boredom and loneliness, such as feather picking, screaming, biting and self-mutilation. Tragically, parrots are often retired to back rooms and dark basements. Some suffer years of isolation and neglect. Because parrots are much like people in their need for social interaction, the emotional impact of abuse like this leaves scars that last a lifetime.
Having a parrot as a companion can be one of the most rewarding and enduring relationships imaginable, provided you are well informed about both the positive and negative aspects of parrot guardianship and have realistic expectations about the life-long relationship you will share with this extraordinary creature.
Parrots are not the entertaining, low maintenance, ornamental pet they have long been portrayed to be by the pet trade. They are complex, intelligent and extremely sensitive creatures with care and attention requirements far beyond the casual capabilities of most people. The behavior and needs of parrots will vary from species to species. Some are extraordinarily needy and demanding, others are more self-possessed and independent. Some are very shy; others are more confident and may tend toward more aggressive behavior. The qualities of every species and every individual parrot must be carefully considered in our attempt to deliver the best possible care to our birds.
However, the foremost consideration that must be kept in mind is the fact that parrots are not domesticated pets, unlike dogs and cats. They are, in every respect, wild animals. Many parrots in captivity are wild caught. Those that have been domestically bred are only one or two generations removed from their wild relatives. We have denied the chick the normal nurturing of the parents, as well as denied the parents the normal instincts of raising young. This could be considered as a selfish act, due to the demand of what people preserve as the perfect pet. As cuddly and loving as they may be toward their human companions, their behavior is governed by instinct, and this is why, over the long term, they so often fall into disfavor as pets.
Many behaviors compulsively practiced by parrots and other exotic birds would serve them quite well in the wild, but are generally not well tolerated by humans within the confines of the average home.
Parrots DO suffer feelings of: LONELINESS, ISOLATION, DEPRESSION, FRUSTRATION, and DESPAIR.
Most people who surrender a parrot confess that they never would have purchased a parrot in the first place had they known how much love, attention and stimulation a bird needs.
Remember when living with a parrot or other bird (species), unlike dogs and cats that are breeds is very labor intensive, expensive and requires high maintenance more than other popular pets. If you are thinking of fresh water, fresh seeds, and a clean cage you are sadly mistaken. It can be challenging, frustrating, disappointing and heartbreaking. The physical, emotional, and intellectual needs require more time, personal energy, that many people want or can provide. Each species of birds are very different in substantial ways. Birds can be emotionally demanding, and others are very independent.
One of the greatest of all parrot tragedies lies in the fact that, for countless generations, people have kept parrots and exotic birds under the misconception that it is acceptable to imprison a bird alone in a cage day in and day out. This is not acceptable. It should be considered criminal. At the very least it is a terrible form of abuse.
As wild animals, parrots are instinctively wired for flocking and mating behavior. They are highly social animals who depend on the relationships and companionship of other flock members for their normal psychological and emotional functioning. They are not solitary creatures!
In isolated situations the emotional suffering of parrots is profound, and can manifest itself in destructive behaviors such as chronic feather plucking or chewing, excessive screaming, aggression, withdrawal, or even habitual self-mutilation.
As pets, parrots should be brought into our lives to be members of our family. They need to be involved in the activity of the household. They should share in our routines and in the structure of our lives. They should not be shut away in cages, or set apart in back rooms and basements.
I have often read expert recommendations that a parrot should enjoy one hour each day of direct, one on one attention out of its cage. This is the worst bit of expert advice I have ever heard, particularly because so many people may be apt to interpret it literally and follow it to the letter. If all you can spare for your parrot is one hour of your time each day, you have no business keeping a parrot. Likewise, if you relish peace and quiet and favor a submissive pet that can be easily trained and controlled, a dog or cat might be better suited to your ideal.
The traditional standard advice that a cage just needs to be large enough for a bird to spread its wings" is completely outdated. With only a few exceptions, which might include a debilitating injury or severe phobia, fully grown birds should be provided with the largest area possible in which to live, since most parrots spend a minimum of 15 to 20 hours a day inside their cages.
Cages should be well-constructed, free of toxins such as zinc or lead and large enough to allow the parrot to run, climb, play and "hide." Perches should be of various sizes, shapes and textures, regularly cleaned and changed, and the bird should have a rotating supply of safe, colorful and stimulating toys such as puzzles to solve, items to assemble and dismantle, knots to untie, safe bells (with a securely welded clapper) to rattle, as well as items to satisfy their destructive urges.
Other important "environmental" factors include play gyms and climbing trees outside of the cage, opportunities to bathe regularly, good natural or quality artificial lighting throughout the day for maximum feather condition and overall health, a continuous supply of re-circulating clean air and 10 to 12 hours of dark, quiet and uninterrupted rest at night.
Parrots need to function actively within a flock or companion relationship in order to be healthy, active and engaged. When we remove them from the wild and make them our pets, we force them to project their flocking and social behavior onto us and our families. We become the flock, and we are subject to and sometimes victimized by the natural social and flocking behaviors of our parrot.
While we sometimes come across the all-around friendly parrot that seems to behave affectionately toward nearly everyone, this type of behavior is definitely not typical of the average parrot. Aggression, dominant or submissive behavior and territorialism are driving forces that define the lives of most healthy, active, happy parrots.
These are character traits that normally aid in the survival of parrots in the wild and as a part of a flock where, typically, dominating and submissive behaviors establish a parrots place within the hierarchy of the flock. In nature, when a parrot chooses a mate, aggression and territorialism are geared toward protecting the mate and the nest.
Possibly one of the most heartbreaking events in a person’s relationship with a parrot is the transition a parrot goes through upon reaching his sexual maturity. The change can be subtle, but usually it is quite evident. Very often (though not always) the main care giver becomes the perceived "mate" of the parrot. Other family members who once may have enjoyed a great deal of affection from their bird can suddenly find themselves entirely rejected. More often than not, this rejection is delivered through threatening displays, aggression, and painful biting. In some parrots, this "mating behavior” is more pronounced on a seasonal basis. Other birds embrace these rituals of aggression for all time.
Similarly, as wild birds reach maturity, they instinctively prepare for mating and nesting by testing their ability to dominate other flock members. The techniques they use to compete for mates, nesting sites and other resources include body posturing, intimidation and vocalizations. Attempts to display dominance are seen in many companion parrots, both male and female, and their sometimes sudden, determined actions can present quite a challenge to the unsuspecting and unprepared owner.
In a multiperson household, some birds may at times feel the need to protect and defend the perceived "mate" against other members of the "flock," including persons with whom they had previously shared a very close bond. Parrots may become extremely protective of their cages, certain rooms in the house, even pieces of furniture whatever they perceive as their territory.
Though owners may interpret the actions of the parrots as "behavioral problems," the way a parrot acts and reacts in the home environment is a direct reflection of how parrots behave in the wild.
Some owners are able to live with the parrot's need to vocalize, while others or their neighbors view it as unacceptable or problematic noise.
Aggression, assertion of dominance and possessiveness of the perceived mate are behaviors that occur in all parrots, though certainly to greater or lesser degrees, depending on the species and the individual bird. I have always found it interesting that so many people insist on purchasing a baby bird and perhaps even participating in the weaning process for the benefit of "cementing" that special bond with their new baby. The truth is, the sexual maturity transformation is inevitable, and there are no guarantees that you will avoid the sometimes violent demonstrations of raging birdie hormones just because you were the one to lovingly wean the parrot.
While the number one reason for people abandoning their commitment to their parrots seems to be guilt and lack of time for the bird, the second most common reason for pet parrot abandonment is certainly aggression and biting. People are usually taken completely by surprise at the transformation in their once all-around cuddly "baby". The saddest ending to this story comes when the final rejection is waged against the parrot, who was simply behaving the way a parrot must.
Ironically, the qualities that we often consider to be "problems" are those that best suit life in the wild. The freedom that wild parrots have to take flight in their vast natural habitat prevents territorial squabbles from becoming major altercations.
In contrast, since pet birds' wings are normally clipped for their own safety, they cannot fly away from a threat or uncomfortable situation. Pet parrots may become confused when their displays do not cause their mate or flock members to fly away. Conflicts between natural instincts and the limitations of living in a human environment can be stress to the bird, and this stress may lead to aggression, biting or attempts by the bird to literally chase a human intruder from his or her territory.
In addition to persistent vocalizations, biting and testing for flock dominance within the human social group, pet birds may display fear or anxiety or engage in behavioral feather destruction or self mutilation (this is not to be confused with the feather or skin mutilation that results from physical influences, illness or disease). Owners who are confronted with these or other issues concerning a parrot's care or behavior may find it necessary to seek professional help.
Fortunately, there are a number of highly experienced and respected avian behavioral consultants throughout the United States who are available to consult by phone or in person to assist in these situations.
Species considered monogamous may have several mates during their lives, perhaps when a mate dies or a relationship proves incompatible. Also, many people purchase or adopt older birds who have already had one or more homes. Such birds are able to form new relationships and can often be a wonderful and rewarding addition to the family.
In any household, there is typically a primary caregiver, and a very close bond often forms between this person and the parrot. But this is not always the case.
Some birds may show a preference for another family member. When we offer a parrot a rewarding, interactive and stimulating environment and a relationship based on trust and mutual respect, the success of forming a positive bond increases, although it is not guaranteed.
Some of the problems seen in human/avian relationships may be attributed to our eagerness to think for our parrots and give them what we are convinced they want or need, rather than viewing the situation from the parrot's perspective.
For example, holding and cuddling a young bird for long periods of time may be gratifying for us and is certainly enjoyed by many parrots. Yet prolonged holding does nothing to encourage socialization or teach the parrot the valuable lessons he will need to become a well-adjusted adolescent and adult.
Baby birds in the wild receive a tremendous amount of personal attention from parents, which is necessary to their early socialization. Parrots are ill-prepared anatornically or psychologically for a sedentary lifestyle with limited outlets for physical exercise, visual diversity and intellectual stimulation.
As their substitute families, it is our responsibility to stimulate our baby birds intellectually and emotionally by teaching them to play independently as well as interactively with the "flock" and to feel comfortable in a variety of circumstances, such as in their cage or on an entertaining play gym. Unlike with human children, this teaching needs constant reinforcement through out the life of the parrot.
Taking a parrot under your wing entails a commitment to rearranging your life in some fairly major ways. To a greater or lesser extent, depending on the species of the bird, it means accommodating noise and destructiveness. It means much more frequent dances with brooms and vacuum cleaners - or else learning to walk peacefully across floors strewn with debris. Most of all, it requires a daily dedication of time and planning.
Aviculturists are just teaming the extent to which diet influences not only physical health and longevity, but behavior. Some birds who show extreme aggression or agitation, persistent screaming, plucking or even phobic behavior may improve when dietary changes are made.
A considerable amount of time and planning is required simply to feed your parrot properly. Chronic malnutrition is the major cause of death in companion parrots. By just throwing a bowl of an all-seed diet, high in fats and low nutrients, along with fresh water in the bird’s cage daily, may result in a suppressed immune system that can leave a parrot susceptible to opportunistic diseases. This is not nearly enough to keep a parrot healthy.
Every bird, from the smallest parakeet to the largest macaw, requires, a variety of fresh prepared foods for complete and balanced nutrition. Offering diverse and abundant foods everyday prepared and presented in different ways, will keep birds from becoming bored and encourage their instinct to forage, e.g., to eat different types of foods as they become seasonally available.
Various combinations of fresh fruits and vegetables should be peeled, cut and sometimes cooked to be offered to your parrot each day. However, be mindful that the outer skins and shells of many fruits, vegetables and nuts come contaminated with pesticides and must be either thoroughly washed or discarded altogether.
Many parrots relish warm foods like hot cereals, brown rice, pasta dishes, or sweet potato mashes mixed with cooked vegetables like peas, corn and carrots. Red kidney beans, chick peas or lima beans are excellent sources of vitamins.
Many avian specialists now feel that avian formulated pellets should be included as part of the daily diet to ensure that birds receives necessary vitamins, minerals and amino acids.
Many parrots also express great enthusiasm over special treats of lean, cooked meats. In every respect, the kind of diet that best suits human health is also appropriate for parrots. Likewise, foods that are high in fats, sugar and additives are no better for parrots than they are for people.
Time and planning is also necessary to assure the daily safety of the parrot under your care. Novice parrot owners often are surprised by an endless array of common household items that are dangerous or even lethal to parrots.
Birds are highly vulnerable to airborne toxins that may not affect humans or other pets in the household. Some of the more obvious dangers are fumes from household cleaning agents like oven cleaners, spray room and fabric fresheners, aerosols, paints, varnishes, bleach and ammonia, etc... In other words, if it can become airborne and/or you can smell it, remove your parrot from the vicinity before you use it, and ventilate thoroughly. They also include second, hand cigarette smoke, fragrance sprays or aerosols, incense, scented candles, air fresheners (including plugins) and aromatherapy candles. Perfume oils can be toxic if they come in contact with the bird's skin or feathers, as can products used to clean the bird's cage.
One of the most deadly of all household threats to parrots and other exotic birds comes from the common use of Teflon products. When over heated, Teflon or any product with a nonstick surface, if produces an odorless, colorless, undetectable fume that is instantly fatal to birds, even if in a separate area.
This is a danger many people are unaware of, or else feel confident they can be in control of. Don't take the chance! It only takes one instance of forgetfulness or distraction to kill an entire household of beloved family birds.
You won't be aware of the danger until your birds begin to drop from their perches. Teflon coated cookware must all be removed and replaced. Hard anodized cookware, stainless steel and cast iron are excellent alternatives. Teflon or any other nonstick surface can also be found on items such as irons, self-cleaning ovens, coffee makers, tea kettles and toaster ovens. Seek them out and either get rid of them, or replace with something no toxic. The lives of your parrots are not worth the non-stick convenience.
Other household dangers include open toilet bowls, filled bathtubs or uncovered pots or pans of water (parrots cannot swim!); many kinds of house- plants; unsupervised cats and dogs, even familiar ones; electric cords and outlets; and varnished, painted or stained wood trim. A major household hazard is an open, unscreened window or door. Un-caged parrots, even those with trimmed flight feathers, should never be left unattended, indoors or out. Many horrified owners have watched helplessly as their beloved parrots simply flew away.
To keep our feathered friends healthy, happy and well-adjusted, it is up to their human families, as committed care givers, to create an environment and lifestyle that simulate the kinds of experiences the parrots would have in the wild. These include appropriate housing and a varied, nutritious diet. Other critical needs include challenging toys and the opportunity for daily exercise, play and positive human interaction.
Many other elements of our every day lives can pose threats to the safety of birds within the home. Many household plants can be toxic to birds. Water filled tubs, sinks, toilets and cooking pots must all be protected from the presence of birds. Open windows and doors are responsible for countless parrot losses. Unless special arrangements can be made to accommodate your parrot's flying talents, like the construction of a large, secure flight or a secure bird room, your parrot's wings should be properly and regularly clipped.
While parrots can often live harmoniously with different species of other animals within the home, it would be foolish to leave any bird unattended with other family pets. Unquestionable, dogs and cats can be made to understand who the members of the family are, and that it would be unacceptable to eat Polly. However, dogs and cats are subject to instinctive predatory behaviors that can not always be predicted or controlled. The quick movement of a bird suddenly startled into flight can inadvertently trigger the "chase and grab" instinct of dogs and cats, resulting in tragedy. As a preventative measure, playtime between birds and other family pets should never be encouraged or allowed. Contact between birds and cats should be strictly forbidden. Because cats are designed by nature to be deadly hunters, their saliva, heavily laden with exceptionally virulent bacteria, is specifically engineered as a killing agent. Bacteria delivered to your bird through even a seemingly insignificant tooth nick or claw scratch can be dangerous, if not deadly, to your parrot. As a precaution, always supervise parrots in the presence of other family animals - including young children.
Just as with any pet, parrot guardianship requires regular health monitoring and veterinary care. Every parrot, upon purchase or adoption, should be carefully examined by a certified reputable avian veterinarian (preferably one who is board, certified) and staff who handles your bird in a compassionate, secure and expeditious manner. A quarantine period is always advisable when there are existing birds in the home, even if a health certificate is provided by the seller. Birds may harbor serious illness with out being symptomatic; they instinctively mask illness in order to remain with the flock, which affords better protection from predators. As a result, by the time a parrot shows serious or overt signs of illness, it may be too late. For this reason, a yearly physical examination is extremely important to the long-term well, being of your pet bird. A visit to the veterinarian may be stressful for your bird, and all tests should be completed as quickly and efficiently as possible.
The annual physical should include weighing the bird, a stool exam, a thorough examination of the eyes, ears, nares (nostrils), mouth, beak, cloaca (vent area), feathers, skin, feet and wings. Unless your bird is sexually dimorphic (that is, males and females of a species are visibly different from each other), you should have DNA sexing performed. Knowing your parrot's gender can be important in understanding some instinctive behavioral issues or in the event that your bird becomes acutely ill. In addition, basic laboratory testing should be performed annually, since many avian diseases are difficult to detect on examination. Any new parrot should be tested for Psittacosis, and Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease (PBFD). A most dreaded and fatal disease of parrots is Proventricular Dilatation Disease (PDD).
An inflammatory response characterized by the accumulation of lymphocytes and plasma cells in the nervous system, especially the nerves that supply the muscles in the proventriculus and other digestive organs including crop, ventriculus and small intestine. The most common clinical signs of PDD include depression, weight loss (with or without decreased appetite), constant or intermittent regurgitation, and/or passage of undigested seeds in the feces indicating a malabsorptive or maldigestive disorder. Central nervous system signs associated with PDD, which may occur in addition to, or independent of, gastrointestinal signs, may include ataxia, abnormal head movements, seizures and proprioceptive or motor deficits.
Upon the purchase or adoption of any new bird, a 45 to 60 day period of quarantine is advised in order to observe evidence of diseases. However, because the virus can lay dormant and be carried by parrots for many years or even indefinitely without surfacing, proper quarantining and regular veterinary examinations can not guarantee a bird to be free of this virus. If a parrot you intend to purchase or adopt shows any of these symptoms, do not bring this bird home, particularly if there are other birds present in your home. If your parrot begins to show symptoms such as these, seek veterinary attention immediately.
If you or your birds are/have been exposed to untested or infected birds, these tests should be performed annually by your veterinarian in determining a baseline of your bird’s state of health.
Because symptoms of illness in the wild would subject a parrot to increased danger from predators or even aggression or rejection by flock members, birds are experts at pretending to be well. They will hide any signs of illness, sometimes until it is too late to help them. For this reason, any significant changes in your parrot's behavior should be noted, and annual veterinary maintenance is critical.
Remember a parrot as a companion or a member of a loving family can be one of the most unique and fulfilling experiences life has to offer. It can also turn your life inside out, depending on how your nurture - or fail to nurture - your relationship with your parrot, and what your expectations of the relationship are. Before taking a parrot into your home, you should take the time to evaluate how self-serving your motivations might be. Do you want a parrot for the love of the parrot in all its natural, wild glory? Or do you want a parrot for what it might give to you? If your parrot doesn't live up to your expectations, will you consider it disposable? Or will you be able to commit to the relationship regardless of the bird's nature and disposition? If you plan to have a family some day, will your parrot still have a place in your life? Or will you need to get rid of the bird to make room for the baby?
Bringing a parrot into your life should never be a spur-of-the-moment decision. A parrot is an extremely long-lived creature that will bond with you in a very emotional and dependent way. Caring for a parrot is a complex, life-long process. It can be immensely rewarding, if it's really what you want. Is it?
When considering the purchase or adoption of a parrot for a pet, you must be prepared to accept and accommodate the wild behaviors of the parrot, otherwise the prospective relationship will be doomed to fail, and only the parrot will truly suffer. Parrots are loud, messy and demanding!
I have heard, and read many stories of how if I only knew, how much time and maintenance was required, I would have never gotten this bird. Some days I myself feel that way, but I love my bird way too much to ever think of getting rid of her. Remember it is a commitment for life, and a bird (most species), will out live a cat or a dog, and more times than not the owner.
If you feel certain you understand and are willing to make the kind of commitment necessary for living with a parrot, it's time to think about what kind of bird will best suit your family, and where to acquire it. Begin by asking for recommendations from an avian veterinarian or local bird club of established and ethical breeders or pet shops. Also, look into your heart to see if you might consider offering a home to a bird that needs a second, third or further chance. What's the "best" age to acquire a parrot? Some recommend buying a young bird, even an un-weaned baby, so that the bird will "bond" to you instead of the hand, feeder. Not only is this a misleading statement-in that it implies a bird can bond to only one person-but successfully hand-raising any parrot requires extensive knowledge and experience and should be left to professionals. There is certainly little doubt that parrots have the capacity to bond with us. In the wild, they enjoy relationships on different levels and are also capable of changing bonds or "rebonding."
Remember to also Plan for your birds future. Choosing to care for a parrot requires a commitment to an often difficult and incompatible relationship, by providing for the long term care of your parrot, it is an important component of responsible ownership. Professionals around the world who are involved in parrot sanctuary and rescue hear daily from people who, due to age or illness, can no longer care for their cherished avian companions. By providing for your parrot in your will, setting up a trust fund for your bird or creating a power of attorney so that a trusted person can care for your parrot are three ways to make sure this special friend will always be cared for as you wish. The Gabriel Foundation www.gabrielfoundation.org who is dedicated to improving the lives of companion has a brochure that outlines various ways to make outright or planned gifts for this purpose. Your attorney or tax advisor can determine the gift plan most appropriate for you.
If you are not prepared to commit and sacrifice for perhaps the rest of your natural life, you should consider an alternative pet.
Unfortunately, even more often, parrot rescue groups hear from people who were unprepared for the constant demands of living with a parrot and want to find their pet a new home. Parrots frequently are purchased on impulse: because they’re pretty, because they talk or because they look so miserable in the pet shop. Every year many parrots lose their homes because owner expectations are unrealistic.
It is a sad reality that rescue groups receive many more requests to take in birds who need help or re-homing than they can accommodate, due to lack of space, funding and or adequate staffing. Unless we can stem this tide, the future is grim for many thousands of parrots in captivity. It is up to all current and prospective bird owners to ensure that their parrots will not be among those numbers.
Please support your local Parrot Rescue Sanctuary Groups, with either a donation or volunteering, to help educate not only your self, but other/potential bird owners.
THESE PARROTS ARE WORTH SO MUCH MONEY!
Written by: Tami Meyers owner of the Beak Retreat
This is the usual response when people come into my home. My answer is to whom? There are 54 birds living here. Unwanted and most are not adoptable. I am not a non-profit rescue, nor am I a fanatic collector. These birds have been slowly trickling in here for the past 10 years.
So back to the original thought, these parrots are worth so much money.
Let’s start with the larger and higher priced birds shall we? The 3 Blue and Gold Macaws came here at different times; none of them are willing to be handled unless Caylith and Shelby happen to be in the mood to be cuddled. The other Macaw, Raini suffered for 2 years in various Pet stores and will never be what we consider to be a "pet." We will return to this issue in a moment.
What are these Macaws worth? Nothing as pets! Just try to come here and pick them up. Bring lots of Band-Aids. So they are worth nothing on the pet trade market, but living here free flight they are priceless to me.
What's that you say?? Sell them to breeders? AAH…yes of course, we cannot find proper homes for the birds in this country so let’s continue breeding them shall we? While you are at it go to the local pound, (ignore the heap of dead dogs and cats on the floor) and adopt a dog and then breed it to create even more. Good idea!
Wait! The issue is about birds being a "pet". We have taken a creature with wings, whose very survival and well being depended on flight, clipped its wings, placed it in a cage and then often give it a lonely existence. These are flock animals! The idea that a single bird makes a better pet is so damn selfish on our part. The idea that a bird should live in a cage and denied flight not only reiterates how selfish our society is, it shows how irresponsible people can be.
Let's now discuss the lifespan of, say an African Gray. The public can't get enough of them. Why? They amuse us, and they can talk. To people who purchase a Grey for this reason I say to them, buy a Furbie.
Say a person such as I decide I really want a baby Grey. I've learned (from responsible breeder funded magazines) that a baby is the way to go. I buy the biggest cage possible. I make certain this baby is fully weaned before I take him home. I make sure he has the best fresh diet, pellets and a little seed as a treat. He has the choice of toys, swings and play gyms. I teach him the up and down commands. I offer nurturing guidance. I have raised and now have the most wonderful "companion" animal one could ever wish for. He is now the light of my life.
Let's say despite relationships, children and life changes I still devote myself to him as a pet and we continue to have a fabulous life. I was 38 when I purchased him. Grey's can live 60-80 years. You do the math.
The serious crisis of unwanted parrots cannot be ignored for much longer, look what happened to dogs and cats when they became overpopulated. Guess what? It's already beginning with parrots.
How can you help? Help by stopping the mass selling of birds by large and small chain stores. Then have your Veterinarian sign our petition to show these stores we are serious.