Two macaws sharing a raw squash on top of their cage.

Creating Balance at Home

Creating Balance at Home

My first day of kindergarten was terrifying. Because it was all new and undefined. New rules and one adult in charge of everything. I didn't know if she was nice or would talk to me. I didn't know if the other kids would talk to me. I didn't know anything except my mother's last words.

"It's going to be fun! You will make new friends!" Which was irrelevant. I was the oldest of three girls. I had two friends already. I knew their expectations. I knew where to go to play and get toys and I already knew the rules in that place. Every other kid in that kindergarten room was thinking the same thing.

Where do I belong in all this now?

That is the question that gets asked every day by our companions. Parrots are simple. They have just a few drives. Food, water, flock, location, and materials. The result of all these parts is a flock family and knowing where to belong.

Humans are chaos to parrots. Careers, finance, status, envy, doubt, fear, rationalization, suspicion, and a bit of delusion. We like to feed our additives with streaming content, social media, and television programming. Just in case things weren't confusing enough. We like creating unreasonable expectations and calling them goals. We like wrapping our goals with the confused messages of the consumer world driven by envy and fear of loss. Our brains are so full of chatter it's a miracle we can think straight and walk without tripping. Finding honest friendship with your parrot is easy for the parrot. It's the human that complicates the friendship and changes the rules without notice. Which confuses the parrot who thought everything was going great yesterday.

Problems arise when we bring the world's chatter into the friendship. Parrots feel stress, or they feel no stress. You can't go into a room after a hard day at work emotionally charged without first reclaiming your space in the world, and remembering you are now at home with your parrot, not at work. Your bird has no clue why you are tense, because when you left you were not tense. They do not rationalize, and they do not create excuses in their heads for your behavior. They either feel stress or do not.

I work from home. I like quiet, balance, and have created simple routines inside a timed schedule. Inside this dynamic I have 8 very quiet parrots all day long. When dad gets home, they all go bananas. Dogs, birds, rabbit, guinea pig. Dad comes in after a day of stress and humans, greets everyone with their names and a few minutes of interaction. They feel his elevated energy and continue to go bananas. And then dad goes upstairs to reclaim his world. We all do some form of routine after work. A change of clothes, a few minutes of putting things away, using the physical world to reboot our mental world.

The birds know this and wait downstairs. They wait for the light in the hallway to go on. That light says, "Okay! Dad's back! Come upstairs!" Butters and Snickers drop their toys and food and go rambling and scrambling upstairs like two kindergartners. Kirby positioned himself upstairs an hour before dad's arrival. He's smart like that.

Kindergartners are like parrots. Or maybe parrots are like kindergartners. Their concerns are simple; Where do I belong in all this now? It's up to us to clear the room of unnecessary emotions and words to give our companions the simple space they need to communicate with us. And that simple space we've created allows us to communicate better with them.

An honest friendship only needs the simple truth, necessary elements of patience, a smile and the appropriate emotional materials to build from, no more; no less. Companion Parrots are not complicated. We must always apply this truth whenever possible. Humans are complicated beyond measure. And parrots can never assimilate our complications. To expect them to react properly to our irrational human drive is unreasonable, and unfair.

Balance you, so everyone, and every companion, knows where they belong.

Kathy LaFollett is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

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