The Components of Nurturing
Parrots are not easy-care pets. They are intelligent
birds with complex behavior that is greatly
influenced by their interaction with people.
While they can be excellent companions, we
must never forget that they are parrots with
the special needs of parrots. If people have
unrealistic expectations about their behavior
and capabilities, they will always be disappointed.
When choosing a companion parrot, it is critical
to cut through the species stereotypes and
generalizations about their behavioral characteristics.
It is also essential to be aware of the fact
that even the best-behaved parrots can exhibit
what we consider to be behavioral problems
from time to time. It is unrealistic to expect
a parrot to always behave in the manner that
we expect them to.
Dedication to Learning
The best parrot owners stay open to learning
and remain fascinated by the intricacies
of parrots. Companion parrot behavior can
be a complex jigsaw puzzle with new pieces
to put in place all the time.
A Strong Human/Parrot Bond
In order for a parrot to form a strong lasting
bond with a person, that person has to have
a strong lasting bond with his or her parrot.
Trust-building Behavior from the Caregivers
When a parrot is treated in a manner that builds
trust instead of destroying the trust, the
bond will be more secure.
Much of the time spent with a companion parrot
should be spent teaching, patterning and
rewarding new, positive behaviors.
Nurturing is teaching and should be an integral
part of parenting and love. Whether it is
called dominance or being "flock leader",
the owner needs to establish the authority
to guide the parrot's behavior. Being aggressive
is not part of this kind of authority.
Most parrots are highly social animals who
are physically affectionate with each other.
Cuddle time, petting and mutual preening
are important elements in keeping most parrots
Observation: Eye Contact
and Body Language
In addition to sounds and calls, parrots communicate through eye contact and
body language. Pay close attention to what they are telling you. Eye contact
is one of the best ways to communicate with your parrot. A soft, loving eye
expression is a very effective way to communicate affection and to calm a parrot.
When a parrot misbehaves, an immediate, quick, dirty look is one of the best
ways to express disapproval. This stern look should not be maintained for more
than a few seconds or it may be interpreted as aggressive confrontation.
Parrots reflect our energy and mood. Lowering
our own energy is an effective tool to lower
the parrot's energy.
A few basic rules include:
• Use the "UP" command to
take a parrot out of his cage.
• A parrot is not allowed to run up his owner's
arm to his shoulder.
• A parrot is not allowed out of his cage without
• Don't reward a screaming parrot by screaming
back at him.
• Greet your parrot when you first come home.
• To increase your parrot's sense of security:
say good-bye when you leave the room and let
him know you will be back.
Verbal Cues and Commands
These should be simple, clear and concise
UP - Use the "UP" command to ask
a parrot to step onto your hand. Keep it simple
DOWN - Use the "DOWN" command to
ask a parrot to step off of your hand even
if he is above you.
OK - A cue to release a parrot from your direct
control. This means he can play on his own
without your control.
NO - A simple, short but decisive cue to express
immediate disapproval when a parrot exhibits
Gradually patterning a parrot to accept new
situations and objects will help him become
more comfortable. The more familiar a parrot
is with a particular behavior, the more likely
he is to repeat it.
Anticipation of Need (The Parrot's and Yours)
Knowing what a parrot will do in a specific
situation and either avoiding the situation,
or planning it for the maximum welfare of
the parrot and the household is important.
For example, if you know that your parrot
will be frightened when large objects are
carried past his cage, keep yourself between
the object and the parrot or cover his cage.
If it is something very threatening, move
him to another room before the situation
The wild parrot's habitat keeps him busy and
alert. For their emotional and physical health,
we need to provide companion parrots with
activity, exercise, attention and safe, gradual
introduction to new adventures.
Companion parrots learn through social interaction
with their human "flock". For example,
parrots learn to talk much more readily from
people conversing with them appropriately
than they do by listening to meaningless
repetitive phrases on recordings.
There are three basic levels of attention:
Attention: Your total
attention is focused on the parrot with no
Casual Attention: The parrot is with you but
you are also reading, watching TV, talking,
Ambient Attention: The parrot is on his playgym
or in his cage and you call back and forth.
Positive Personality Traits of A Successful
These include consistency, patience, predictability,
dependability, common sense, compassion, a
sense of personal responsibility, a calm demeanor,
and a dedication to learning. Parrots normally
respond well to people with these traits.
A Sense of Humor, Fun and Play
The more fun the person
has, the more fun the parrot has and the more
fun the parrot
has, the more fun the person has…
contented, playful parrot is one of the best
forms of entertainment for the parrot caregivers
and a silly human can be very entertaining
to the parrot.
This includes a spacious clean cage with multiple
perches, a fun activity-filled playgym, good
lighting, clean air, stimulating toys, a
nutritious varied diet and frequent bathing
Quality Physical and Health Care
Cause-and-effect prevention of accidents and
traumas, proper veterinary care, and medical
treatment are essential to a healthy, happy
We've Come a Long Way
The days of a parrot sitting all day on a wooden
dowel in a small cage with only a seed bowl,
a water bowl and one toy (if any) should
be long gone!!