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Keeping Parrots as "Pets"
Moluccan Cockatoo - Photo by Dee
Once a parrot has bonded to humans it usually prefers to be with humans and shows no interest in other parrots. Humans create this bonding by hand feeding babies. It can create neurotic birds.
If a parrot is truly comfortable in a human flock it will select one person to pair with (parrots are
monogamous) and it will attempt to start a family (a male will burrow to create a nest, a female will lay unfertilized eggs). When no family is created it can be very frustrating for the parrot and lead to feather picking and other signs of nervousness and depression. I don't believe feather-picking ever occurs with parrots in the wild.
There are few captive parrots that get the constant stimulation from human flocks that their intelligent minds require, or that they would get in the wild.
Of course, it would be nice to have a law passed that required parrot owners to spend at least 4 hours per day interacting with their parrot, but it's not likely to happen.
Whether captured in the wild or born in captivity, parrots
are not domesticated animals like cats and dogs. They are still wild
animals. Their natural curiosity, sensitivity, intellect, playfulness, and
ability to form bonds with humans can tempt people to keep them in
captivity. Unfortunately, the traits that make parrots so intriguing are
the same ones that make them extremely difficult to live with as companion
animals. Many parrots find themselves displaced as their natural behaviors
and needs clash with human expectations. Before you buy or adopt a parrot,
consider the following facts:
• Parrots bite and chew — you and your home!
• Parrots are messy and active!
• Parrots scream, but many do not talk!
• Most parrots won't learn cute tricks!
• Parrots are social and need daily attention!
• Some parrots never bond with humans!
• Parrots need to be served a varied diet!
• Parrots are sensitive to household
• Parrot cages, toys, and vet visits are
• Large parrots can live up to 80 years — will
Educating yourself about parrots
one into your life is crucial to solving the displaced parrot problem!
Only people who thoroughly understand that parrots are wild animals and
who can commit to meeting their demanding needs should consider providing
a home for one. Only then will all parrots kept in captivity be properly
cared for and appreciated for the wild animals they are, the pet market's
demand for "impulse purchased" baby parrots will decrease, and the
displaced bird epidemic will become a thing of the past.
The facts about keeping PARROTS AS PETS
Issues: An Overview by Denise Kelly, Eileen McCarthy, Krista Menzel &
as Pets: What You Should Know by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)
Bye Bye Birdie: Parrots’ Demands Often Prompt Owners to Take
Flight By Laura Lafay
Are Not Pets, Really by Morgan Henderson, originally published in
a Bird? by Dr. Lorin Lindner & the Animal Protection Institute
More Beautiful Wild: Captive Birds by the Animal Protection Institute (API)
and People…A Relationship of Conflict by Tami Myers and Mary Margison, The Beak Retreat
Should Wild Animals
Be Kept As Pets? by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)
You Need to Know Before Adopting a Bird by Monica Engebretson, Animal Protection Institute
The Top 10 Reasons Birds Are Surrendered to MAARS by Midwest Avian Adoption & Rescue Services (MAARS)
Parrots As Birds, Not Mammals by Greg Glendell
Nature of Parrots by Denise Kelly, Joan Rae & Krista Menzel
Why People Give Up
Birds by The True Parrot