Macaw in a tree stand eating a treat.

Every Parrot is Different

Every Parrot is Different

Say hello to my big blue chicken.

  • Butters, our blue and gold macaw, grows talons of needles. Snickers, our scarlet macaw, does not. Not because he can't grow needles, but because he takes care of his grooming.
  • Butters doesn't chew wood toys to her full potential. Snickers would like a crack at the second-floor walls.
  • Butters preens with no urgency. Snickers fusses twice a day starting at his neck and ending with the snap of his longest tail feather. One good shake and all is in place.
  • Butters watches him from the corner of her eye, with disdain. As if his self-care is a personal insult. It may be, he could be embarrassed by her lack of parrot principles.

Our chicken requires assistance with her grooming.

Her disinterests require talon trimming via burrito toweling and dad's gentle, immovable cradle. I snip the ends with a great nail clipper. Careful to give a bit of length for the nail quick. Then I file the sharp edges smooth with a glass nail file. Glass because it leaves a healthy smooth edge.

She's resigned to this position and situation. We've explained to her how if she just sat on the dildo perches none of this would have to happen. "Look at Snickers!" I admonish with pride. "He sits on his dildo perches."

When a talon gets away from Snickers' attention, he sits on dad's knee while dad holds his foot and uses the glass nail file. They talk about the news and movies. 

But no, Butters prefers being a burrito, honking, and fidgeting in a towel.
We call the grooming perches, dildos. They aren't literal dildo, but rather dildo-ish. With sandpapery sides that exist exactly where large parrot talons end when a parrot perches. They exist in front of food bowls, and in favored napping spots. All Butters has to do is perch. Just perch. She pauses on them only. I see her doing it. She sees me seeing her doing it. She hisses disdain for such tricks, scrambles up on the cage door and eats what she paused to grab.

We can lock her in her cage for a day, giving her less choices for disdainful expressions. She'll choose to hang on the front of the cage, scramble to the left, scramble to the right, then back to the center. An arch traveled while whining, moaning, and clicking.

Lock Snickers in a cage and he turns into a wood chipping, dildo perching, master eating, bell clanging, window watching, talking to himself, and laughing at his own jokes, TwoHandsFull. Then he preens. The Parrot is strong with Snickers. Butters is more Jabba the Hutt.

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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