Picnic tables are dangerous. I just need to let every one know that you should remove all picnic tables from your backyard, front yard or weekend plans. I'm talking about those tables where the bench seats and table top are one unit. Insidious danger lurks behind that benign exterior structure, but let me tell you from first hand experience as a 10 year old, they are dangerous! None can be trusted. Not one. Get rid of them all. I would recommend a public bonfire for everyone to eliminate this threat. A picnic table broke my left radius and ulna at Girl Scout camp, 41 years ago, while I was dancing on the top of it.
Too much? I suppose I could just suggest you don't dance on picnic tables at any age. Hair-on-fire stories and warnings are so much more interesting though, right? We love the drama in social media. We love the drama in our streaming media and cable programs. We love the drama because there's very little biological difference between tickling the pleasure centers of our brain and the fear center. Headlines on the news are always formatted toward the extreme interpretation for that very reason. PLANES ALMOST COLLIDE OVER AIRPORT. But in actuality, they were both landing at the same time under the direction of Air Traffic Control. Planes almost collide every day, but never do.
And so it goes for parrot catastrophes and chaos. POTENTIAL is everywhere at all times with companion parrots. Potential anything is everywhere all the time with humans. Eventually some birdy or some body is going to have an accident of sorts. It is inevitable. So how can we marry this truth and management of our flock at home? With balance and care. We just apply the same awareness to the whole as we do to the parrot parts. Honest awareness goes a long way.
We wouldn't trust our old Terrier, Turner, around our birds because he is toothless, old and grouchy. He growls and barks at nothing, so a something is not going to receive any better treatment. We won't trust Snickers around Bruiser, our Golden, because Snickers is a bossy territorial line enforcer. And yes, I DO believe that parrots can start problems way before the other companions would. Our parrots aren't necessarily innocent angels. But who would know that truth? Nobody knows your flock, your world, your house and your companions better than you. Nobody knows ours better than us.
Multiple companion safety is a big deal. But it's success lies in the truths only you know, not the gossip, or the hair-on-fire stories of the person that heard about a person that knew a person who's alligator swallowed the poodle who ate the parrot who swallowed the spider. This isn't a flippant statement, this is a simple reminder that in the end we are all responsible for our personal flock space. No one, and no group and no author (including me) knows you and yours better than you. That's a relief and a responsibility all in one. Fine tuning safety standards is each and every parent's responsibility and mandate. It isn't anyone else's.
We've chosen to let all our parrots be fully flighted. 100% winged clowns, the lot of them. We are fully aware of that responsibility and that weight of probability to issues. In our home it works. In others it would never work. I take responsibility for our standards, and I support the standards of choice for others. Wing clipping isn't a decision by committee. It's a decision by you and your flock, alone. And we won't be modifying our choice no matter how many videos, horror stories or nightmare scenarios are told to us. Because that is the committee adding chatter to a matter that was already decided.
We physically engage our parrots with the embraces, pets and feather ruffles they request without fear. I've seen the charts of "Don't touch a parrot here!" and the "Only parrots like their head petted". That's the committee sending me memos based on truths that do not apply inside our flock lifestyle. Our parrot species, their bedtime length, material provisions and food compensate for the extra loving. Balance! I avoid materials that reflect gathering and nesting all together, I avoid high fat baby making foods. They all get 11-12 hours of dark every night. Those practices leave room for our snuggling choices. We take responsibility without the committee.
Parrots are alot like dieting. You get so many calories to spend each day, to get the results you want. Spend them anyway you want, but stay inside that count and you'll end up right where you need to be. You want relaxed parrots, change the tone of the household. You want fun parrots that engage? You engage first and be prepared to give them the freedom of choice, because parrots will run with that, fast! You want quiet parrots? Learn the Art of the Flock Call. You want to snuggle with your parrot? (this last part doesn't apply to cockatoos, alas they are a parrot unto themselves!) send the right messages with food, sleep and materials.
Balance. Personal responsibility. Honest awareness. Simple facts not opinions, these are the elements that support a healthy and happy companion parrot lifestyle.
And for the record, I've successfully used a couple picnic tables since I was 10. I just felt I should make that clear. Also, I wasn't dancing any of those times, that really seemed to help.