Blue and Gold Macaw on playtop looking out window.

Companion Parrots Understand Humans

Companion Parrots Understand Humans

Parrots can Construct Context like Humans

What we do is a fascinating collection of things, movements, results, and actions.  Dad and his DIY thrilling.

African Grey looking out widow.

The bird room for our parrots has an asphalt roof. It doesn't reflect the sun, but rather helps bake those in the room during the summer months. Dad spent a weekend applying coats of bright white roof sealant to fix our reflection issues. His DIY became quite the game for Butters and Snickers. Hide and Seek and Guess What I'm Doing. Felix, on the other hand, knew none of dad's doings were his business.

A ladder leaning against the roof just outside their window is amazing and requires a good dressing down. Butters and Snickers growled, called out, and yelled at the ladder. They flew to the top of the macaw cage closest to the ladder window, warned said ladder they were watching it's every move and then burst into a flurry of jetted feathers around the house to land again in the same spot. There they leaned into the window and growled in sync. A menacing and ominous tone shared.


When dad hauled up the leaf blower to blow leaves off the roof, the dangling bright orange wire was just the thing to refine the rules of engagement for Butters and Snickers.

Saturday was catch dad coming down the ladder, catch dad going up the ladder, follow dad's footsteps on the roof and yell at the ceiling, yell at the ladder, threaten the orange snake, and fly in circles to yell at the ceiling some more, day.  

Sunday started slowly. This roof goop needs dry sun. It's winter in Florida, we start some days moist, dewy, and chilly. So, we all gathered in the bird room to share breakfast while the sun fought its way through the winter atmosphere. Butters and Snickers were nonplussed and inpatient for the game to start.

Where's the ladder? Where's the snake? What are you still doing in here? They pouted and sat on their cages waiting for the game while we waited for the sun. 11:30 am and the sun announces its arrival with illuminated palm trees and a brightened day. 

I have never seen these two birds so excited as I did Sunday at 11:38 am when dad walked around the backyard with the ladder.

Once context is set, parrots expect routines, too.

Right now, there are two macaws staring up and out windows looking for ladders and dad. They are scrambling from cage top to cage top for a better view. Snickers is again, nonplussed, twisting his head robotically with a loud and uncertain "HUH?". The roof work is finished. How boring.

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

Leave a comment

* Required fields