A Balanced Companion Parrot Lifestyle. That is my mantra. I've found a prevalent tendency on social media forums that is fighting this idea. It's a tendency that can be very thick and immovable and absolutely counterintuitive to a successful companion parrot lifestyle. I like to call it the Mama Bear Complex.
The longer we have our bird, and the more we spend time online reading articles and gathering information, it tends to build this complex. We read an article about a certain food, and then become passionate about banning it in any form from our house and hearth. We read about a certain plant and ban it from land and home and hearth. We read an article about an incident involving some parrot somewhere and some material and ban any type of material bearing any resemblance to that material.
We then put on the armor of "I heard about" or "I read about" and run throughout our social networks online and locally repeating the stories. These stories are taken in and shared again and modified. Before long, the story is so large and foreboding the only answer for the safety of our parrots lies in hermetically sealing our house, wearing hazmat clothing and never letting them out of their cage for fear of all threats. Imagine being a first time parrot parent and trying to demystify all the adamant claims out there online?
I've seen, read, and unfortunately been in a room where heated arguments have taken place over the most benign of subjects. As though not agreeing about a certain thing between two parrot parents was a personal threat to the parent or their bird! At that very moment, the conversation is no longer about the parrot's needs, but about the parent's being right. And that is a shame.
The final stage of Mama Bear Complex involves pride and a closed mind. A parrot parent becomes so certain of their opinion, so sure that only they can know the correct answer, so absolutely convinced their parrot's life and health depends solely on them, they are immovable to new data, new ideas or a balanced approach. Why? Because if it were simple, and if it were a non-threatening situation in general, their self-worth in the relationship would be less. Call it dependency.
This is not a general blanket statement applied to all parrot care-givers. I am saying there is a tendency that grows in some parrot relationships that creates animosity among us. It is the same tendency parents of children have in human parenting. Mama Bear Complex (or Papa Bear) is what keeps our children safe, secure and cared for, the drive to parent and nurture. Nurturing the young is instinctive, in our parrots as well as ourselves. The difference between us is that humans apply human emotion and pride to logic, while parrots do not.
And therein lies the crux of the matter; Human emotion. Emotion built on expectation, pride, and experience through first person or third party. All this being said; I think it needs to stop. Immediately. Not for us, but for our birds.
This prevalent attitude has found it's way into rescue, veterinarian conversations, sanctuary practices and conservation. I have found myself a target, a quiet unwitting participant, and a witness to too many angry diatribe driven discussions that, in the end, have nothing to do with the subject matter at hand; Companion Parrots.
It's time to stop this arrogant nonsense. IF you have a parrot, if you love, appreciate or care about parrots, if you breed, conserve or sell parrots, if you rescue parrots, if you rehab parrots, if you offer sanctuary or foster to parrots, if you sell supplies for parrots, if you make toys for parrots, if you just walk by a parrot exhibit and appreciate the nature of them; then we MUST agree to stop this nonsense of emotional, stubborn or arrogant belief that is grounded in pride and not logic.
There is one fact not in dispute. Companion parrots are not domesticated. Companion Parrots are exotic. So, if we know this and agree to this, then we must also agree that solutions, products, ideas, care, food, shelter, husbandry, nurturing and companionship of these animals is exotic as well.
Additionally, the natural history and albeit small amount of observational studies on companion parrots can not in general be wholly applied to the care and nurture of Captive Companion Parrots. I say captive, because they are here and not in the wild. Bred for this, or born into it, is irrelevant. They are creatures based on wild instinct meant for the wild, and not in human homes, apartments, barns, condominiums, townhouses and flats.
For example; observational studies in the wild, although helpful and insightful to a degree, are shedding light on subjects in the wild not in a human environment. It may be helpful to apply hormonal activities of wild parrots to cypher our companion parrots, BUT we must then consider the fact that cellphones, TVs, WiFi and the like are certainly playing havoc with our bird's nature. I can say this, because there is already data and a considered truth that WiFi and radio signals affect flocking birds. Why would it not affect our companion parrots? There is data that WiFi and cellphone signals affect humans. That being said, having our birds sleep 10-12 hours (they don't really sleep in their covered cages that full length, by the way), but having a dark place for them for 10-12 hours can help soften hormonal pitches. I would also ask, where is your WiFi router in relationship to your parrot's cage? That is an example of exotic critical thinking. And an interesting question to consider amongst us.
But that is new data, not subject to study directly to companion parrots and that is a new idea. I've never read it myself as it pertains to companion parrots. And yet, I volley the question, because I think it has merit. And the question made a difference to one client with a parrotlet. I volley the question without fear of debate or discussion because I am not worried about being right, I am concerned for what is right for our parrots. Which could make me wrong on that matter.
So, you see, FlockCall on Facebook, Felix on Facebook and FlockCall.com will always be dedicated to THIS idea. ALL actions and efforts will be based on THIS idea. That discourse about, for, or of companion parrots has nothing to do with any of us being right or wrong for our own benefit or value, but solely being right for the benefit of all companion parrots.
I am a Companion Parrot Advocate dedicated to improving and edifying the daily Companion Parrot Lifestyle for all parrots and their owners. FlockCall.com is OUR way of joining to do the same as well as educate, share, support and assist in the work of companion parrot rescues and sanctuaries around the world.