Butters, our B&G, is considered my companion parrot. Of course I personally consider myself her companion. Until I'm not. Butters has been part of our flock for 4 years or so now. She stole my heart as a baby in a tub, and we brought her all the way home in my arms. I abundance weaned her, fledged her, love her, share my food, pillow, throw blanket and hair twisties with her. That last part is impressive. I share them off my head and out of my hair. It's very personal.
At night we all go upstairs to lay on the bed and snuggle before going into roost cages. My husband with Snickers, and I with Butters. The four of us share about 30 minutes of whispering and pets and scritches. Butters and I have done this all her life. Snickers all his as well. We have a fabulous double date bedtime every night. And so you can see how I am hers mind and heart. Until I'm not. Which started last week. Butters has changed her mind about me. She's not that into me right now.
Oh but is she into dad! There are two story lines out of this change. One is my temporary loss of stature in her life, and the second is my husband's new found challenge with two very in love and needy macaws. Because they are both so into him. I find that last part hilarious to watch play out. I have learned you can juggle parrots.
During the day, Butters used to request a good preening event while standing in front of her favorite window on my forearm. She would purr, preen, clean her toes and purr some more while I preened those feathers she couldn't reach. This usually lasted about an hour. She would sit with me on my shoulder while I worked at the computer. So long and so quietly, just purring into my ear. She would stay near, even when in the bird room. She would call out to make sure I was still here. We would share dinner, she would play with dad when he got home and my participation was mandatory.
Ah, alas, not so much on these things right now. She's just not into me. My presence is mandatory. She visits me once or twice during the day with a bit of a beak bump and kiss. She'll purr, check on my status and fly off to a favorite window or perch. My presence is mandatory for bedtime as well. BUT, I am not invited to participate in anyway. I am needed as a group, but not as a participant. I am the fourth wheel in their love fest. I'm all in as an observer only. Only Dad can put her to bed now. when it's time to break up the love fest and settle into roost cages, she waits patiently on the edge of the bed, purring and quietly calling him with a cute and sweet "huh?", while he puts Snickers to bed. When he turns around to take her to bed she is so excited at having her turn she literally jumps off the bed into his arms. Yup, she is so into him.
I fully expect all our birds to ebb and flow with their emotional attachments. Kirby rejected me for months last year. Now, I can't get him off my shoulder. He is my Kirby Corsage.
Felix of course has always favored his dad. But if I walk out of the room, or take the dogs out for one last bathroom break at night, I can hear him all the way back in the field behind our house, calling me back home. I am important, just not in "that way".
Like our human families every member is very important. Irreplaceable in fact. And members will favor each other and fall out of favor over the years. We all grow into and out of people, it is accepted and normal. And it is so for companion parrots.
My husband offered to not take the birds to bed, and "get them" to favor me. I refused the offer. Mostly based on the memory of trying to "get" a boy to like me in 3rd grade with the help of a girlfriend. That didn't work out very well at all. But also because when it comes to emotional bonding, "getting" the result you want rather than allowing the result to be a natural choice doesn't yield that long term trust or relationship. It just gets you a false response, not true love. It's imperative, for a companion parrot to be able to choose, and have that choice honored and respected. A parrot remembers every thing. And while we sit in our new secondary, yet important spot inside their needs and the flock, they will remember the respect and commitment to the change. And when they change back, and they will, they bring back with them an even deeper level of trust to your relationship. Because you allowed them to be, and choose.
Do not get me wrong, I miss my Butterbean and our moments right now. I'm thoroughly taking out my needy inclinations on Kirby. He's getting all that extra love. And I continue to talk with Butters, and treat her with adoration and all the love I can in the ways she is currently comfortable with at this moment in time. It's okay. She's happy with me and her choice.
Every night, I wait for dad to leave the bedroom. And every night I tell Snickers, Kirby and Butters I love them. I tell Butters I love her twice. She answers back every night with a purr and sweet soft "hi!".
And that is okay, because I am so into her.