Parrots communicate in multidimensions; Sight, touch, sound, spatial recognition, temperature, light, atmosphere, flock member metrix, and irregular feedbacks to name a few. Humans, thanks to social evolution, generally communicate in 2; Sight and sound.
Communication between parrots and their human flock occur on uneven ground. And that's where most problems start. Expanding our communication between the flock goes a long way in helping issues improve and keeping issues from starting all together. I will use the Grey Parrot as an example, but for all intents and purposes these ideas and suggestions are applicable across the whole companion parrot spectrum.
Greys are thinkers. They are not neurotic. I find the word neurotic difficult to hear and would really love to see it removed from Grey conversation. It's a human word. It's not a parrot word. Greys are thinkers and tinkerers. They are communicators in 4D and prioritize their judgments toward us and their items and their surroundings in that manner. Greys can be slow to no to accept things. This is not neurotic. This is a Grey. It's time to change the message.
Immersive Communication and layered messaging for our parrots sounds overwhelming, but it's no more difficult than planning a party. And you can plan this party for any parrot, and every parrot will benefit.
Creating a Successful Companion Parrot Lifestyle starts with retooling assumptions. When we find a companion our first goal is to parrot proof our home. Which is advisable, no doubt. There are things that need to physically change for their safety. I would like to also suggest the NEXT step needs to be parrot promoting your home as well. When we learn we'll have guests coming over, or inlaws what's the first thing we do besides clean the bathroom? Pretty much set the house up for people to enjoy. We get the rooms and backyard ready to show off and show fun for our visitors. Why? Because everything they see, hear, smell, touch, taste and feel will affect their visit. So, we already have an instinctive understanding about parrot promoting through our entertaining instinct, we just need to tune in to the parrot mindset as well as our goals for a lifestyle with our companion parrot. Because everything we bring to and around our bird WILL send a message. And those messages need to be synergistic with our words and requests.
After you've made your lifestyle choices, create your immersive communications around that decision. If you are not a cook and you do not enjoy cooking, then don't kid yourself that you'll be making birdie bread every saturday. If you are particular about your home, don't assume a fully flighted macaw will be a great answer to that decision. Let's apply immersive communication and lifestyle decisions to the touch stones of parrot/human communication:
Food and parrot nutrition is a personal, passion filled, and at times confusing subject. Stay too long on the internet researching and you'll be chasing your tail with so much conflicting opinion. But it is as simple as choosing foods that deliver nutritients via a vehicle that supports your lifestyle and meets your bird's needs. Will you be sharing your meals with your parrot? If yes, then this lifestyle choice allows you to control the foods directly while sharing those foods thereby communicating safe harbor, abundance and joy. Foods that offer employment are an excellent addition to their calorie requirements. African Greys are from the primary and secondary rainforests in west and central Africa. Their native diet is palm nuts, seeds, fruits, and leafy matter, and snails. These are the derivative foods that lay clear the nutritional needs of a Grey. Fats from the higher valued nuts and seeds, pulpous fruits, dark greens and protein. Snails eat the green matter and seeds delivering a secondary line of that same nutrition. Greys can show signs of calcium deficiency, so always stay true to delivering that which delivers calcium successfully. Find the foods that are dense in these requirements in a product that meets your lifestyle demands and you all be happier for it while opening a clear Immersive Message of abundance.
Location settings offer communication. In their natural settings, African Greys are drawn to forest lines and gallery forests which have an open area for foraging, but trees nearby for safety. In their natural settings including the coastal gulf they prefer roosting in trees over water. In their natural settings Greys have actually been noted to migrate away from the drier regions into more moist and green regions. During harder dry spells they have been observed migrating away and into the darker green of their forest regions to escape that drought. Why? Because Greys are notated as a species that can become easily dehydrated. Dehydration is one of their normal health concerns. consider your lifestyle needs and your grey needs with these new perspectives. This is a bird that migrates to feel comfortable. Consider your controled environment at home. If the air becomes dryer due to heaters running or air conditioning cooling your Grey may show signs of discomfort through misbehaving or unusual vocalization. Try turning your shower into that tree line on the water. Turn on the shower, allow the moisture to build up, and spend 15 minutes or so with your bird in that atmosphere. Offer a moment of immersive messaging of comfort.
Materials and toys are another tool for communication. Greys are large flock split to smaller foraging flock driven. They are partial ground feeders and foragers. The natural setting requires a grey to learn how to manipulate, separate, identify, prepare and eat foods throughout the day. They are literally instinctively driven to separate their foods out for identification. Now you know what they throw half their bowl of food out. Consider placing foods in separate areas for hunting and foraging. Consider offering food hide and seek at different times of the day. consider turning food into foraging and entertainment. In their natural settings it is. Create materials and toys that are a replacement for their natural foraging tendencies. Distruction, reconstruction and shredding and partitioning. By offering toys and materials for natural manipulation, you are sending a clear Immersive Message of Opportunity, employment and purpose.
Provide clear access to the whole flock membership. Greys are completely aware of themselves, their surrounding and their flock members. They are cognitive. They are naturally driven to seek and keep the flock within site. A grey left alone, is a Grey in an unnatural state. What can your lifestyle provide for companionship and access so that your grey can migrate to your location, or you can go about your business in sight? A TV, radio or music is NOT a replacement for YOU. Greys are not naturally drawn to "background noise" or background sights. They are drawn to their flock only, and gain MUCH of their inner happiness and contentment from that state. Flock access and inclusion is a clear Immersive Message of family and community.
Views and vistas for stimulation of your Grey brain are another avenue of communication. Greys being thinkers and ponderers really appreciate the best views. They know what they are looking at and they will find humor and interest in interesting surroundings. Sticking a Grey in a cage in the corner with no view will cause problems of boredom and frustration. Can your lifestyle include a room with a view? Consider that view outside, could you create an inviting area for squirrels and nature to show up and entertain your grey? What about plants that attract butterflies? Greys have been observed in natural settings following and watching other creatures going about their business. A grey is very dependant on vision for entertainment and stimulation. Send an Immersive Message of stimulation and thoughtful sights with a room with a view.
Transitions and routines are the bedrock of a stable Grey mind. In natural settings greys are time keepers. Their major and minor flock activities are not random and hold true to time. A Grey is happiest in small or big routines. If you have a chaotic house you can still create routines inside that atmosphere that trigger your Grey's acknowledgement of an event about to happen. In the wild greys literally regroup, flock call and reset their flocks before changing activities. There are very identifiable routines that take place before and after activities of migration, foraging, and roosting. What can your lifestyle provide in the way of opening and closing routines to help communicate goings on throughout the day. A Grey in the know of whats going to happen is a VERY stable grey. This particular point is, to me, THE most important of Grey lifestyle and immersive communication. A Grey that is given clear signals and understands the simple changes coming of food, bedtime, trips and family members coming and going is a solid and happy grey. You can stop many problems from even starting with this Immersive Communication technique.
A fully engaged flock is the background to a fully engaged Immersive Communication effort. In their natural settings Greys take heavy cues from each other in their major and minor flock assemblies. Communication is thick between these groupings and it has been observed greys will cordone off a flock member acting inappropriately. Because this is natural. Grey's literally turn their backs to such things as this is what happens in the wild. Immersive communication extends to every person in your household. Their attitudes, their manarisims and their voice all come to play with a grey. Consider your lifestyle and how you can change access, walkbys, views and interactions with flock members to communicate the appropriate level of information to achieve the desired reaction.
When we slow down, and take the time to reconsider all the avenues and actions that happen throughout a day with our birds, we'll see many opportunities to communicate without saying a word. After all, they are depending on us to understand. They are exotic and not domesticated. We chose them and the lifestyle that goes along with Creating a Successful Companion Parrot Lifestyle.