Most parrots are highly social and enjoy being included in activities with people.
Pet parrots are our feathered “children,” and we like to include them in just about everything we do.
But there are times when it’s important to understand that not everyone shares our enthusiasm about having a parrot who likes to eat off your plate at dinnertime or fly through the house with the greatest of ease.
Here are a few tips on how to maintain the delicate balance of people and parrots when visitors arrive.
1) To Open Or Not Open … the Cage Door, That Is
The vision of a parrot soaring with widely spread wings through a vast open sky is nothing short of awe-inspiring. But when that same parrot soars through the hallway in your HOUSE and makes a perfect landing on your visitor’s head, well … that awe-inspiring perspective changes just a little.
And not everyone appreciates the charm of a flat-footed parrot gallumping across the dining room table with beak-full of stolen green beans, but that is exactly what happens at my house when company comes over and my crowd-loving cockatoo, Thor, comes out. The phrase “Free For All” is a colossal understatement.
There can be nothing more exciting or entertaining than being in a home where a parrot is just as much a part of the family as a much-loved dog or cat.
A gentle-natured, highly social parrot will happily sit on or nearby visitors and usually “contribute” as much to the conversation as the people around them.
Sometimes, however, it is necessary for a parrot to remain in their bird cage when company arrives, but it doesn’t mean that they have to be excluded. There are plenty of ways to make sure that your caged parrot can still feel part of the group.
Friendly conversation next to your parrot’s cage goes a long way in making your feathered friend feel like part of the crowd. A parrot will often bob their head along with the conversation as a way to try to fit in. This body language is important for people to acknowledge. Soft eye contact or smiling at them lets a parrot know that they are seen and heard by you as well as people they do not know. It allows them to feel a part of “the flock,?and also helps them to forget about the cage door having to be temporarily closed.
Parrots who can be safely trusted outside their cages with strangers are ones that leave a lasting impression in the hearts and minds of your visitors.
2) Know The Nature of Your Bird
Not every parrot is “company worthy.” Some are very shy around strangers, some take time to warm up, and some are just brats. It is important to know how a parrot’s nature is around new people before assuming that “everything will be fine” with your parrot interacting with people they do not know.
My Alexandrine parakeet, Fred, is a very company-worth bird that is completely comfortable with strangers. He happily flies from new shoulder to new shoulder, announcing his arrival with a “Ohhh HI!” and then further charming his way into everyone’s hearts with all sorts of silly antics. Fred is friendly and endearing to everyone, with no inclination to bite, harass or intimidate.
Petrie, my timneh African grey, is NOT one of those happy-go-lucky-friend-making kinds of parrots. He is a total punk on a mission. To Petrie, strangers are worthy of being stalked, crashed landed into ON PURPOSE, having their hair pulled, as well as having their coffee cups knocked over and thrown off the table. Therefore it is best to leave Petrie in his cage during visits.
But even though Petrie is a little troublemaker, it’s still important to make sure that he feels included. That agrees with him perfectly, because while inside the sanctuary of his cage, Petrie will happily chatter away, whistling and talking and being endearingly obnoxious to anyone whose attention he can get. Petrie still gets to be part of group, doesn? feel slighted in the least by being unable to come out … and I do not have to sew anyone up.
Visiting a house where parrots reside often requires a bit of an “open?mind.
3) Know The Nature Of Your Guests
What is “normal” in one house might not be so much in another. It’s important for visitors, especially those who are unfamiliar with parrots, to understand that a visit to a home with a parrot requires somewhat of an “open” mind.
In our house, it is “normal” for our parrots to share meals with us at the dinner table. It is “normal” for them to run around or fly from room to room, make lots of noise when they feel like it … and throw food just for the fun of it. Life with a parrot voids the concepts of neat, clean, QUIET and orderly.
Some people are genuinely fearful of birds. So the very LAST thing they are going to be comfortable with is your friendly free-range fid landing on them to squawk “Hello!”… which they inevitably will. Parrots, just like many other pets, often have a seemingly magnetic attraction to the ONE person in the room that is least likely to be comfortable with them. So before you let loose your feathered “Welcome Wagon,” be sure to have an idea how your house-guests actually feel about it.
Usually, wherever a parrot enjoys sitting comfortably, there is a “bombs away?zone directly beneath them!
4) Poop Happens
Not everyone has a potty-trained parrot. If your guests are excited about having your parrot join them for dinner, the subject of “poop?must be addressed, because it? bound to happen sometime, somewhere.
My living room and dining room look like I am in a constant state of painting, which I am not. I am constantly waiting for one of my parrots to poop … somewhere.
I have 100-percent cotton canvas drop cloths everywhere, but mostly in the areas where I know that my parrots are prone to poop.
Drop clothes are great. They are inexpensive, easily laundered, last forever, and can be found at almost every local hardware store.
Every parrot has their favorite “spot,” and that is where the canvas drop cloths go. Underneath open cage doors, behind dining-room chairs, below parrot stands or “trees,?those are all typical bulls-eye zones.
When broaching the subject of “poop?with your guests, I have found it best to tell them to expect the worst, hope for the best … and keep a roll of paper towels handy.
Knowing how comfortable your guests are around a parrot is very important. Some people are more comfortable around birds than others. Educating your guests about your parrot and knowing how your parrot is going to react to new people in their home makes for an even greater opportunity that everyone Šand “every birdie? has a wonderful time!
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