Part 7 - How to Create a Great Parrot Lifestyle - Are Parrots Hard to Take Care Of?
Your life will change when you bring home a parrot. Some of those changes may give you pause. Others will cause your non parrot friends to scratch their heads. There will be times you scratch your own head. Your goals, focus, and loyalties will change. If you’re doing it right. A parrot is a lifestyle, not a pet.
Food will take on a life of its own.
I eat like a bird. I ate like a bird before I lived with birds. I did not have odd table habits while eating before birds, though. Now I guard my plate and pile all the condiments, cutlery, napkins, and loose items into a defensive corner. This gets awkward at restaurants. Children in the vicinity don’t bat an eye. But parents linger glances, trying to make sense of the fort while wondering where our kids are at.
While dining out, I order for parrot leftovers more than for my dinner. I read menus with a parrot brain. I consider what I can eat, so I can bring something home to them. I request things to have things on the side of things, so as not to mix things in an objectionable manner. Felix really doesn’t like his broccoli perverted by any other foods. So, I need mine served in a separate bowl. Servers love me, they need a serving platter stand, and 3 assistants to bring out my meals.
Grocery shopping has a whole new meaning since our flock emerged. I make three separate trips because I focus the first trip on their needs, while the second trip is me returning to the store because I forgot to get the human food. The third for replacing ideas the parrots hated from the first trip. Pro Tip: When buying real estate with parrots in the family, make sure all your shopping needs are within a mile. It helps.
If you can, try not to worry about what you look like. Self-awareness has melted away a little with each new parrot taken in. Park in the back acre of parking lots when shopping. Taking a walk to the store entrance gives you time to ponder what you may be forgetting. Like swapping fluffy orange slippers for street shoes.
In the produce section, when shopping groupings of greenery, remember the latest additions are at the back of the groupings. You’ll have to pull bunches out of the way, and there will be a shopper gawking at you for the mining you are doing in the fresh lettuces, but whatever. This is a parrot mission. A military level recon. Civilians won’t understand.
The more colorful the greens and fruits, the healthier they are for your parrots and you. Get in there and dig around those fruit and vegetable displays. Employees will gawk, annoyed with you messing up their complex geometric stacks of fruit. Whatever. They can’t understand strategic brilliance.
When your mission is complete, it’s good to be home.
“Where’d you go today, honey?” So sweet, to be interested in my adventures in public. Pulling full grocery bags from the truck.
“Oh, the usual." No need bragging on my peopling skills.
He opens the door for me to walk into the house first. He stops. I stop. We gaze into each other’s eyes, thankful for each other and our life of parrot songs and the chatter of happiness. Our private soundtrack.
“Baby.” He whispers reaching out to push some hair away from my face.
“Yeah?” I reply. It’s all so romantic.
“You have bird poop all over your head.” He heads back out to the truck.
“Ya, well, whatever!” I shout over my shoulder, “I’m not wearing slippers!”
Which brings up the other lifestyle changes
- Wardrobe. I can’t wear thin material around the house. I can’t wear clothes with patterns, baubles, glitter, sparkles, buttons, bows, bright graphics, or patches, either. My wardrobe is white and black T-shirts. Parrots churn, chew, and shred shoulder areas, collars, and seams. I suppose I could say no. But hey, they’re preening me, and that’s quite nice. A parrot preening you will purr and chitter, all the while clipping precise holes. Which could be shabby chic.
- Home décor. I paint murals on our walls. I am an artist, and it is to be expected. A parrot can’t throw a mural off a wall like a framed picture. Oh, sure, they can lick it, but I’m not Willy Wonka and that’s not Snozberry flavored. I’ve painted paintings of paintings on the wall. Butters, our blue and gold macaw, can’t get an edge to grab and pull on.
- Kitchen accessories. We have multiple sets of measuring cups and spoons in our kitchen. Actually, we have an eclectic collection of mismatched, chewed on, bent, and dented measuring cups. I don’t cook, so I don’t care. Parrots are fabulous assistants in the kitchen, if you lower your standards about dinner.
- Communication. Parrots are fully connected and aware of themselves, their world, and those they love. Parrots murder cell phones, controllers, buttony communication devices, and keyboards for one simple reason. It divides our attention. Why should they appreciate that? It removes the communication they thrive on. What the hell? They are more interesting than this thing they just murdered and threw on the floor. Which is why when your cell rings, your companion starts flock calling like mad. Fine. If you’re going to blabber into that thing, they want a piece of the action.
Humans get pulled in all directions. Some directions are out of our control, some because we just want that direction. We didn’t buy a pet; we made a lifestyle choice. And this lifestyle requires practicing undivided attention. It’s no different from a 3-year-old, who is superb at running and controlling their physical choices. You can’t successfully live with a fully mobile, choice driven toddler using divided attention. You can’t build a good relationship either.
Your life will change if you’re doing right by your parrot. Do or do not. There is no try. Parrots know this already.
Find yourself in the middle of this series? Sometimes you have to go backwards, to move forwards. Part 1 - How to Create a Great Parrot Lifestyle - And Create a Great Lifestyle