Baby scarlet macaw playing on a blanket on a floor with a person.

Naturally Parrots Don't Have Boundaries

Naturally Parrots Don't Have Boundaries

Instincts in our companions dictate they have no boundaries. Parrots aren't testing your patience, they are testing location, materials, or food for a reason to stay, or leave. There are no boundaries in a parrot brain. Which is why we tend to have one or two locations, materials, or foods that are a never-ending battle with our birds. We are denying access to ascertain the value of said location, material, or food. They can't leave it alone, because they have no boundaries, and you are getting in the way of that instinctive rule. If you could fly, you would know this.

There are boundaries we humans do not consider boundaries, but our companions see them as nothing but brick walls. A wild parrot goes where they want. Period. No exceptions generally. They just go, to at least attempt what they want or where they want to be.

But what of our companions? All is well until one person goes to work, leaving behind another person or no one at all. An insurmountable boundary is up. They can't chase after their missing human. They cannot get a flock call back from them. This is a dynamic that in the wild signals loss, death, or rejection. 

My husband is gone to work. For me there is no boundary. I can call him to talk, text to communicate, or travel to him at will. Our parrots do not have this luxury. The frustration or adamancy we might witness is a parrot experiencing our world through their filter. Boundaries that we do not see, but they feel very much as boundaries.

The most difficult part of companion parrots is the time you will sacrifice. It's not the feeding. It's not the cleaning. It's not the care. It's the emotional investment. You cannot short cut that part. Oh, you'll run out of apples, but you can use pears. You may run out of newspapers for the bottom of the cage, but you can use towels for now.

There is no swap or trade or replacement for the time needed to understand a companion's point of view, and the effort to act on that understanding. There's nothing to trade for time with their missing human. Nothing. All we can do is create a process that lowers the stress of it, and over time prove the fact that they always come back. 

Routines and schedules are the bridge to the promised returns.

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


  • This hit me like a punch in my face. The realization that we can NEVER be enough. I can’t take my flock with me when I leave the house.
    One tiny hope posed at the end: routines and schedules.

    Carol Buess on

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