Living in a household with multiple species of companion parrots is very much like living in the midst of an active daycare center filled with rambunctious two to five year children. The constant demands for time, attention and refereeing between individuals is a non-stop adventure of patience and energy. The greater the number of diverse species in the group, the more demanding the task becomes. I often look back with amazement that I have managed to achieve any notable level of success.
Sitting back for a five minute reprieve from answering unending calls for my one on one attention, I am able to observe the hierarchy present within my own personal flock. It is not necessarily the largest species that is top-bird. One needs to take the time to observe the interactions among the flock, even if the members never make direct contact with one another. Each member of our flock is kept on their own cage or playstand. However even from these positions they continue to challenge one another through posturing, eye pinning and flock calls. I can see those who are high up within the flock. They use physical shows of strength and display to affirm their position. Our rescue Green Wing Macaw, a 12 year old male, is the definite leader of the group. His presence maintains a level of control and order within the household. He is able to quiet the others with his call. When possible I re-enforce his leadership by caring for him first and replying to his calls for me quickly. This has proven to keep more control within the flock. When a flock member is removed from the group through re-homing for instance, there is a definite, notable tension, as all members attempt to take over the missing members position within the group.
Parrots are not like dogs. They do not look naturally to their human parents for direction nor do they follow them as leader in the same way a domestic dog does. Our parrots are non domesticated companions still operating on levels of instincts alive and well in their heads and hearts. When we acknowledge this, and allow the flock to build its own leadership under our guidance we will find that living within a large, mixed flock of various species is not as much of a challenge as it is a wondrous opportunity to observe parrots being just that, parrots