Blue and Gold Macaw perched on a woman's hand laughing. Original Photo by Los Muertos Crew from

Choose a Parrot, you Chose a Lifestyle

Choose a Parrot, you Chose a Lifestyle

The difference between soup and roux is time and heat. Which we seem to be calling COVID. Two years in, Covid Roux with our parrots at home. Our overlords stepped up their mind control games and enjoyed all the heat and time together. Our parrot lifestyle truths boiled down to the tasty facts that is living with parrots. All of it, hilarious. If you don’t look at it like a human.

None of us walked into a parrot rescue or store and asked, “Pardon me, do you have any overlords? The little ones. Not the big ones. No? How about talkative tyrants? The big ones, not the small ones. All out of those? Well, how about apoplectic screamers? Any color will do. Still, no? Maybe just a stalker? Gender doesn’t matter.”

Blue and gold macaw with pumpkin seeds all over her beak looking at a scarlet macaw to say she isn't sharing that pumpkin.

Living with parrots is a lifestyle, not a pet choice. To do this well, to have a healthy happy parrot at home, we’re going to change our lifestyle to accommodate all those hilarious adjectives. There are no tyrant goldfish. (Pet Factoid) Although there was a scientist a decade ago who had a goldfish on his desk, in his lab. A friendly pet to keep him company during long hours at work. He felt bad that his fish couldn’t choose where he wanted to go, so the robot scientist used his science and made an ATV for his fish’s bowl. Sensors were installed to detect the direction his fish swam. The detectors made the ATV move in that direction. It took the fish less than an hour to realize he was going places. By choice. The fish followed him all over the lab after that. The other robot scientists wanted to win the attention of the goldfish. They brought in goldfish food for treats as the goldfish instructed.

Last month six scientists decided to try that as an experiment and brought six different goldfish. They treated the goldfish as a pet project, rather than a companion needing choices. All six goldfish agreed they would not cooperate. Why bother?

Goldfish are catching up with parrots. We choose a new way to live when we choose a parrot. Hopefully we accept what the parrot brings to the table. I’d suggest the same route if you find you an ATV driving goldfish. Our roux is not fully flavored until we allow our choice rich companion parrot to add their spice. Overlord. Tyrant. Stalker. ATV Motocrosser.

You’ll need an air traffic control tower in your home for the parrot lifestyle. Towers are built in many ways. If you feel compelled to build a real one in your living room, I support you. The simpler assembly includes perch and cage location. Flight patterns offered via food and treat bowl placement. Window and viewing platform setups. Doors. Child gates. Curtains. And understanding all that will become moot eventually.

In our home a dining table with four legs and chairs that fit under it sits in the bird room. It’s made out of thick rattan, cushioned in exotic Florida patterns. The tabletop is round featuring a mosaic of stones. Our first furniture purchase after moving to Florida. So islandy. We have forks, spoons, and plates, and cups, and all the human wonderment that is lunch. We used to eat at the table. Using utensils. Then we chose the parrot lifestyle. Eight times. A new normal landed.
A blue and gold macaw with her beak covered in pumpkin seeds staring at a scarlet macaw in excitement. She is not sharing that pumpkin.

“Oh, look! Plates!” Eight parrots take to the air vying for position, tastes and preferences. Two humans at the table spend their first fifteen lunch minutes portioning food to the incoming air assault. I put some in Butters’ bowl. Our big blue chicken of a macaw. Diva. She loves me. Cali serves Snickers. Our big red devil of a male scarlet macaw who has no use for anyone but dad. Snickers wants to murder me. He’s been planning a hit for years. Felix is a gentleman. An African grey curmudgeon waiting at his tree stand. Face pointed down looking into an empty white bowl. In case we are lost for clues. Then the Horde of Cockatiels. We move to a different dining table in a different room for posterity's sake once in a while.

This particular table is in the dining room itself that can be cordoned by a pocket door. Our dining room and kitchen are an open space concoction. The pass through over the sink into the bird room is blocked by a child gate. So classy. It’s solid wood. Minimalist in décor. It screams lifestyle choices. Four pounds of macaws are hanging on the opposite side of the child gate miserable and whiny. Felix is a gentleman on his tree tent eating next to me. The Horde watches from their aviary. Hanging from the front wall of bars chanting, “ATTICA! ATTICA!! ATTICA!!!” There could be an uprising. We eat first. Gambling insurrection. We share bits of saved savories for the inmates. We successfully eat without the air traffic near misses, we still hear a chorus of prisoner complaints and offended overlords.

A red scarlet macaw climbing a child gate blocking a kitchen pass-through.

A few months into this lifestyle addition, we decide plates were triggering things. The refrigerator door was triggering things. Standing up off the couch was triggering expectations. Cali talking about cooking was triggering food reviewers. Feeding dogs was triggering barbarians at the pass-through gate. Our overlords were looking forward into the future, preparing to eat our lunch. Well, we fixed that!

Now we both randomly, quietly, with hand signals like SWAT clearing a building, grab a handful of something from the pantry. No time for looking at what we grabbed. We run to the bathroom to consume whatever we successfully snatched undetected. Like a rabid meerkat we keep lookout when we think we hear feathers rustling. You have to eat quick. Talons and beaks can fit under bathroom doors. That sight is disturbing in the dark.

We now live with two lizards, seven parrots, two dogs, a guinea pig, rabbit and 47 barbarian Muscovy ducks at the back gate. I don’t count the empirical murder of crow because Jack has always kept them in line for me. I don’t count the ibis because they are just goofy kazoos looking to join the ducks. Each of these were lifestyle decisions. Just like a husband who suggests, facilitates, and enables these glorious ideas of lifestyle. The parrots though. They are the personalities that push back. They question, negotiate, decline, reject, accept, finally changing their minds. They are the lifestyle choice that requires renewed reviews every morning.

Mind controls and overlording are only two of their ingredients. There are some fabulous balancing ingredients to go with those. It’s important to remember a roux requires complimenting flavors. Savory, heat, sweet, a touch of sour. Each of our rue or soups will come from a different pot. It’s all very personal. No matter what pot you got, you’ll need to find the ingredients that make the best flavor for your flock.

Our job is to make an ATV of choices. Parrots are always pushing and pulling for balance and communication. Allow them freedom of choice. A no is as good as a yes. This is a conversation. Without choices, a parrot becomes a sad goldfish in a bowl on a desk. With choices we meet their true selves. You’ll love the ingredients. You’ll look forward to the mind control. You’ll need an air traffic control tower.

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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