Trust and Parrots

Our companion parrots approach trust and relationships in much the same way we as humans approach them. They require respect, patience and empathy just as much as we do.

Trust and Parrots

I've two younger sisters.  When we were single digit age, we were inseperable.  As the oldest, I felt compelled to be with and protect and love them both. When we all got into double digit ages things changed a bit.  I didn't like barbies, they did.  I didn't play with them.  They didn't like music yet, I did.  They didn't listen to records with me. When we got into the the 5th - 7th grade time frame things got ugly.  We fought.  We didn't talk for days.  We tried plying one with the other's partnership.  It was politics and skirmishes for a few years.  In high school, that pretty much ended the "three sisters" act.  I won't go into details, but I can not understand why our parents didn't kick us all out into the garage.

As humans, our friendships, family ships, co-worker relationships, and general neighborly feel at home changes over time.  Generally we change opinions, get irritated, fight, forgive, love, lust, jocky for positions, grumble and then find new ground.  It's our nature, after all we live a LONG time and many things change around us, and inside of us mentally and physically.

That being said and assumed; why do we not allow companion parrots the same breadth and width of understanding in their lifetime with us?  Bringing a companion parrot into your life without the supreme clarity in mind that there will come a day when THAT bird, the one you love so very much and loves you right back, may just wake up one morning and decide, "Nope.  I'm done with you."  It's not about hate.  It's not about anger.  It's not about judgement as we know it.  It is, strictly speaking, a parrot's mind finding no reason to deal with you. 

Conversely, you rescue a parrot and are told it bites.  The very next morning that bird is on your shoulder snuggling and affectionate.  This is a parrot mind finding very good reason to deal with you. What about a companion parrot brought home with the goal of it bonding with everyone in the house?  It's possible, even probable, for a time.  But these birds, these highly evolved exotic animals with thought and cognitive abilities of a 2-4 year old, will decide their own path to bonding and trust.

But then, so did my 2 sisters and I over these last 47 years.  That trust between us was strong and deep at times, and others...we didn't speak for years.

Butters is 4 years old.  She is completely committed to me as her mom. She likes dad well enough, and will obey and love on him, but I'm the one that gets the good B&G stuff.  I fully accept the idea that one day she just may not. And I will be okay with that.  I have to be okay with that, as I respect her and trust her enough to know it's not personal, it just is a parrot's mind finding no reason to deal with me. 

Snickers is 2 years old. He is completely committed to dad. He likes me well enough, and will step up, share and even allow me some snuggle moments.  But dad is the one who gets the good Scarlet Macaw stuff.  I fully expect Snickers to turn to me one day as much as I expect Butters to turn away.  

When a bird stops being "that" bird you've known all this time (barring illness or stress of course) does that make a bird mean or bad? No. It makes that bird normal.  It is expecting your feather baby to always be the same and never change, over years of change around her and inside her mentally and physically, that's not normal.

It takes a high degree of empathetic unconditional love to care for and nurture a companion parrot.  I've raised two children, I believe parrots are harder simply because a child can tell you their problems, and you can tell them your's.  A feather baby completely relies on YOU to interpret their actions and non actions.  And then you must run the gambit of testing your theories to that interpretation.  And sometimes you don't get the feedback you need right away.  Possibly for years.  But your feather baby remembers.  They remember the day you DID wait and you DID forgive and understand and accept.  For an instinct driven creature context and experience memory is all they have to stay well and alive. If there were grumpy violent monkeys in a tree, they will never trust that tree again, not for a while anyway, and not without new and slower investigation of said tree.  But they WILL remember those monkeys, and they won't reevaluate them.

IT IS ALL ABOUT TRUST.  They trust you to lead their flock.  Break the leadership because you are tired, or rushed or just don't feel like dealing with something, they will remember that moment.  Like I remember the moment my sister stole (borrowed?) my favorite sweater, only to put it in the washer to conceal her perfume smell. ONLY TO DRY IT AND SHRINK IT TO A BARBIE SIZE...and then lie to my face about it....

Wait.  I'm good.  I let that go a long time ago.  Heck I don't even REMEMBER that.

I've come to realize as of late, the reason my parents didn't kick we three girls into the garage for our high school career is simple.  They forgave us, they remembered us as the three little kids with Barbies and giggles and they trusted us enough to know sooner or later, we would be our core selves again.  And so it is today.

If you are struggling with your feather baby, if you have ANY issues that cause you to frustration or doubt please leave a comment here on or reach out through my contact page.  This isn't always easy or easy to understand.  So, let's be real with ourselves and our birds and each other.  I bet if we all do this, help each other, and honestly share our struggles there will be much less rehoming going on and happier flocking taking place.

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