Parrots are truly fascinating animals but unfortunately are much more complicated than most people are prepared for.
Parrots are “wild” animals – not domesticated like cats and dogs who are bred selectively for their breed and pet qualities.
Whether they are captured in the wild or bred in captivity, they are only a few generations removed from their wild cousins and still retain their “wild instincts” and social behaviors.
There are over 350 species of parrots – if you decide to adopt – you need to research in depth the particular needs of the particular parrot you are going to share your home/life with BEFORE you adopt and be prepared to adjust YOUR lifestyle to accommodate that of the parrot.
Parrots are highly intelligent and have been equated to that of a 3 – 5 year old child – some of the behaviors are also quoted as “this bird behaves like a 2 year old” in that their behaviors are that of a typical toddler – very needy/always wanting and will remain that way for the duration of their life – while they age in years, they never really “grow up” in personality or behaviors.
Smaller birds such as cockatiels, budgies, parakeets have a life span of up to 30 years while the larger breeds such as cockatoos and African Greys reach the age of 40 – 80 years old with macaws living upwards of 100 years..
While a cat or dog is with you for “their” lifetime, YOU are with a parrot for “their” lifetime – knowing the parrot will most likely outlive you, consideration must be taken in as to where the bird will go after you are gone.
Your lifestyle is also a key role in sharing your home with a parrot – if you work 12 hour days and will see the bird for a mere 1 hour a day, a parrot is NOT the right companion for you.
If you are a well traveled person and spend most of your time on the road, where will the parrot go and who will care for them in your absence.
Are you planning a move? Will the new landlord(if renting)allow pets? What if the bird is to noisy – will the neighbors complain? Are you planning any big life changes? A new baby, a move across the country? These are all serious questions to consider when adopting a parrot – and the main reasons that so many are re-homed.
The decision to share your home with a companion parrot should NOT be taken lightly.
Many times over we have heard the phrase “but I WANT a________” which is the #1 reason people buy a bird – they “want” it because its cute and cuddly and WOW if it talks even better – they make it quite clear it MUST be socialized, friendly and does NOT bite – well guess what – you are NOT guaranteed a “perfect” bird – there truly is no such thing whether its a brand new baby chick or a rescue or rehomed bird.
Birds DO and can change – they can love you one minute, and make you bleed the next – get a hormonal cockatoo and on certain days you could very likely be chased through the house by that same bird who loved you dearly the day before, and when he catches up to you, it won’t be for a cuddle – it will be for an attack you can’t ever imagine coming from your loving friend..
Your african grey can be charming/friendly and almost perfect – and one morning you wake up to find that same bird doesn’t like you – you are not their chosen mate – their love/affection is transferred to someone else in the home “flock” – what will you do, how will you react? this change could be short term, or it could be permanent – is your “entire” family prepared for the possible change?
You “think” you want a parrot, but can’t afford a high price – you think a rescue/sanctuary should charge “less” because they are abused/neglected – every parrot has a value and SHOULD be valued as an integral part of your family – and taking on a parrot should be researched diligently BEFORE looking to acquire one – if you think you are getting a better “deal” from a rescue/and or sanctuary or shopping online, your reasons for taking in a companion bird are less than ideal – they are not toys/playthings or something to keep you amused – those very reasons are why the rescues/sanctuaries throughout Canada are filling up at an alarming rate…what an enormous price that parrots pay for the sake of human desire….