Golden conures playing freely without interference.

A Parrot is Naturally Out of Control

A Parrot is Naturally Out of Control

We share our world with eight fully flighted parrots who are free to roam and do their thing. Four of our flock are cockatiels. I refer to them as the horde for a clear understanding of their impact. Stella and Winston are bonded and sweet. They are my little shoulder riders. A year and some ago they created a family. We let them to be parents and didn't interfere.  I didn't put demands on the babies. I watched their nature and instincts play out with full intent of welcoming our new family members into our flock permanently. As the hatchlings started fledging, I thought I would take advantage of the scenario and see what would be the emotional choice of a parrot if I never mandated human interaction. Feral kids if you will. Crazy teens running amok. Leave it to mom and dad to raise them up. A parrot behavior experiment. 

I let our little hippies learn all the trade secrets of living in our home through mom and dad. They blended with ease and with fearlessness. They followed mom and dad down to our dinner plates at night. They learned how to forage out of all the other food bowls in the house. They learned how to negotiate with the macaws, Kirby, and Felix. They were assimilated into the very heartbeat of our main flock with ease and joy and no stress at all. I think, if I had interceded with my demands, things would have been far more confusing and stressful. Stella and Winston are great teachers and parents. Our horde put themselves to bed every night at 7:30 pm on the nose.

Louie and Benny, twin normal grey parrot kids, were independent and found the humans of the flock irrelevant outside of the dinner plates. Where Stella and Winston went, the kids followed. All day long. Mom and dad would land on me and preen me, and I would pet them, but the kids would just watch. For over a year they just watched. I never attempted any physical move toward them either. I talked to them using their name whenever possible, though.

Without notice Louie landed on my shoulder with a little thump and chirped into my ear and pulled my hair. During an afternoon like any other. Just like that. Benny followed on my other shoulder. Stella and Winston showed up and there were cockatiel arguments in my ears and cockatiels hanging on my shirt flapping with demands and shouts. I stopped typing and put one hand up to each shoulder and waited to see who would step up. It was Benny on my left and Louie on my right. They stepped up! I didn't get one more word typed that day.

Louie and Benny allow pets and snuggles and head feather floofing, now. They step up on request and hitch a ride. They steal my food, jump on my hand, land on my head and hide in my hair. Louie and Benny now do all that Stella and Winston do, and a little more. We are defining our own relationships based on that foundation.

Relying on your relationship with your bird, slowing down and considering things as a whole and in parts, lets our bird figure things out on their own. Human nature, we just love to control everything. Not everything is broken, sometimes it's just naturally out of our control. Most times enjoying your parrot's chaos is the fastest route to that relationship you're looking for in the first place.

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


  • Reading your insightful comments has been great. More please.

    Peg on

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