Four lovebirds perched closely on a tree branch.

Sometimes There is No Human Reason

Sometimes There is No Human Reason

The moon was close to full. In the fall it's early evening alignment shows straight down the tidal canal behind our house. They call the channel Tinney Creek. It can get 12 feet deep during the moon phases, and storm surges. Tinney Creek is fed by Tampa Bay waters and brings in all sorts of fish, some very large. It supports turtles, frogs, otters, shore birds, ducks, marsh hens, possum, predator birds, songbirds, raccoons and when luck would have it pink spoonbills, storks, and pelicans. If our house fell down tomorrow, I would just pitch a tent here. Tinney Creek, and the lake across the street bring in Florida nature in its vast selection.

Under that almost full moon, in the dark, I escorted our dogs around for one last outside walk before bed. The moon revealed a heron in Tinney Creek. He was literally knee deep in the center of the creek. Which puts the depth around a foot or so with an outgoing tide. Silent, motionless, and striking in silhouette he stood there ignoring the dogs and my location.

What would make a large heron choose a creek in a residential neighborhood, rather than the acres of protected areas just a stone's throw away? The answer is irrelevant really. He was still. He was confidently snoozing in our Tinney Creek. The dogs and I gave leave so he could continue his rest. The following morning, I saw him still there, quietly wading in the creek. Still confident during breakfast. He chose wisely for his concerns.

There will be many times our companion parrots will do things we can't explain. They are making a choice as a parrot and that choice is baffling to a human. Which stands to reason. We can let it stand as acceptable. If their actions do not reflect injury or illness, we don't always need to see the inexplicable as a problem that needs fixing or explaining. It's okay. They will act as exotic as they are, in a human environment. You can saddle a zebra, but he still has stripes.

Snickers, as of late, has decided running around on the floor is a good idea. I haven't a clue as to why. Outside of the fact he chooses to do it and nothing bad is coming of it. Snickers started barbering his downy feathers during preening at age one. It's a mess. He can't just leave a big fluff to float off. Nope. He has to grab it and turn it into snow. I haven't a clue as to why, but he does. I'm not worried he'll go into plucking or over preening. Because that is envisioning something in the future that doesn't exist in the present.

A new behavior can trigger immediate concern, and desire for immediate answers. And we seek them out from groups and friends. The bigger the group, the more stories you'll get that go "Oh yes! My Bopper did that AND THEN HE STARTED PLUCKING!" Of course, that person leaves out the information about a child moving back in, or a house remodel, or maybe even parrot illness. Those are important ideas to integrate into opinions. But alas, online and on forums we tend to find short answers with big drama.

Let's break these parrot behaviors down to simple equations.

  1. If something's changed in your parrot, what changed around your parrot?
  2. If your parrot has successful yearly vet exams with blood tests, most likely your parrot is not sick.
  3. Unusual isn't a bad thing, it's just unusual.

Snickers has added an unusual step to his walk-a-bouts. A big blue cup. He must take that everywhere. Pushing it on the floor, banging it on the floor, climbing up the side of the cage with it in his beak. Yes, walk-a-bouts require luggage it seems. I make sure there is a blue cup in his day cage, and on top of Butter's play top day cage at all times. That blue cup makes him happy in a most unusual way.

Part of a successful companion lifestyle is embracing and celebrating those unusual moments when our exotic companion decides to be exotic. Flock calling new sounds, throwing foods not thrown before, and general oddball behaviors can also be interpreted as a thinking parrot reinventing their day. That's fair, and it's not that unusual.

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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