Part 6 - How to Create a Great Parrot Lifestyle - Communication. Their way.
Like a human, every parrot is an individual. Each relationship and flock have their own abiding truth for themselves.
There are a few absolutes that must exist in all.
- Empathy. To empathize with a companion parrot is being aware of their perspective. It takes a bit of creative thinking, but just look at a moment from their perspective. Parrots are in a constant state of assessment. They must know who’s who and where’s who all the time. Parrots flock. Parrots are a group event creature. Parrots need assessment and communication constantly. How many of us shout across our house to locate a child or partner? (I know I do!) So why are we expecting our Companion Parrot to be quiet? Why aren’t you answering? How would you feel if your partner or child refused to answer your call? There’s your empathetic understanding of a companion parrot. Next time your parrot is making a ruckus, call out their name. Do it again. Listen to their call back. Soon it will be a game of Marco Polo.
- Active Patience is another thread running the length of a successful companion parrot relationship. Patience on our part must come first. Active Patience is empathy. Actively seek ways to give a moment to wait out our parrot’s efforts, with no expectations. The best conversationalists, listen. We chose a flying being, and we must include their perspective into the cycles of expectation building. This requires time. Lots of unconditional, free flowing, empathetic reasonable expectation, patient time.
- Talk with your Parrot. Notice I didn’t say talk to your parrot? A conversation is only as good as the listening that goes on. Give your bird a chance to respond, whether it be a ruffle, words, a head shake, or a toy toss. Listening is as important as talking with your parrot. Parrots communicate through body language, vocalization, and human speech. They take what they learn, and what you’ve learned from them to build a very personal language just for the two of you. This language building can only take place if you are sharing thoughts and opinions.
- Share with your parrot! Share a meal with your parrot. Why do we go out to dinner with friends? To share food and conversation. You laugh, share stories, try each other’s foods, reconfirm memories. Food is a powerful tool in building understanding. Let your parrot help with chores! Riding on a pile of laundry counts as helping. A parrot needs to be part of the daily dailies. Their way.
- Have a yell fest with your parrot! Or a whistle contest. Possibly a dance off. Are you outside doing lawn work? Are they in the house? Well, yell hello through the window! It doesn’t have to be open. Wave, sing, dance. Hide behind the bush and play peekaboo. Are you in the other room busy? Call out and let them know you are safe and near, and busy. Everybody appreciates updates. Being together for a parrot isn’t just proximity. Voice and calls are just as valid to a parrot as sitting on your shoulder. Of course, a close-knit companionship will create the preference to be with or on you rather than just hear from you. Some parrots can become quite attached. Which isn’t a bad thing if you’ve ever had a parrot purr in your ear.
- Always speak a word to your parrot when walking past their cage or in line of sight. Nobody enjoys being ignored. Say hello and goodbye during your day’s ins and outs. Nobody enjoys being forgotten. Acknowledging change of flock formation is imperative. They know you are coming or going. By creating a routine of hello and goodbyes, parrots are far more relaxed knowing you are coming back, because you always do. You promise it through action and prove it through completion. Parrots keep track of all you say and do and compile those experiences as part of your communication report card.
- Say their names, often. Parrots LOVE hearing their names.
- If they love snuggling, snuggle. If they love scratches, scritch. If they love rolling around and wing rubs, do it. Every bird, lifestyle, relationship is unique. Do not fear or push away a physically welcoming parrot. Enjoy your parrot in that snuggle and petting sense that works for you both because it brings joy and calm. Balance, as with all things, is the answer.
Treat your parrot no less than you would treat a child or friend. Listen first.
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