Two amazon parrots lunging.

Overstaying Your Parrot's Welcome

Overstaying Your Parrot's Welcome

There are two solid options when it comes to parrot's biting.

  1. Knowing when to disengage.
  2. Never take a bite personal.

Our human emotional drive tends to get in the way of parrot logic, and somebody gets bit. This is not the bird's fault, nor does is signify the bird is bad. It does mean the human did not slow down and pay attention to all the visual and vocal signals expressed by the parrot.

Allow my bite to be our example.

Bedtime consists of my husband, Snickers, Butters and I going upstairs and spending about 15 minutes in a darkened bedroom on the bed together. A little baby talk, and few snuggles. Then we tuck each into their own bedroom cage. Before that there is shared dinner, shared warm drinks, and group playtime on the big Java Tree. The whole process for bed takes about one and half hours. This is a lifestyle choice. This is expected. It has never been deviated from, but it has been expanded. 

An evening happened where we took delivery of new furniture. Two visits were required since the delivery guys forgot one piece. That's two doorbells, two times the barking dogs, two times the strange loud stuff coming in. These deliveries took place at 6:30 pm and 7:30 pm. The exact time frame our bedtime ritual happens. Rituals downstairs, did not happen.

Bottomline; I tried to jump Butters to the last phase of bedtime. She was giving me body language and vocalization to let me know she wasn't happy, she was stressed from weird sounds, big new things coming in the house, disrupted routines, and Snicker's elevated energy. She just wanted to go to bed. But I had to push it, because I felt bad about the missed rituals and wanted to "say I'm sorry" with extra time snuggling. She wanted to roost in her bedroom cage and just call it a day. Butters bit me. Hard. My bad.

What should I have done? Had I slowed down and thought like a parrot, I would have chosen differently. I should have given her and Snickers time to transition between a house full of strangers and strange things, to a house that is normal again. Fifteen minutes would have done the trick. We could have lowered the lights in the bird room (a signal for bedtime). I could have spent five minutes with her on my forearm feeling safe again in the darkened bird room, proclaim "time for bed!" and then go right upstairs to her bedroom roost cage. All that is called communication. Communicating with Butters is what I did not do.

Humans want quick results to finish a needful exercise. We need to get to bed (or move furniture). We need to get to work. We then break our communication routines, and the agreement we made with our parrots towards a lifestyle choice. And then things go wrong. We stop communicating and we stop thinking like a parrot.

Target training, behavior training, positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement are all interesting titles to ideas. What you are trying to do is communicate. And you don't need a bag of tricks to listen. You need patience, love, and empathy. And you need to understand there will be compromise.

Being a human is challenging, and it can drive a human up a tree. We brought a new companion and a lifestyle choice home, not a pet.

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 Amazon.com.

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