It's a lifestyle

First flock, then the other things.

It's a lifestyle

Raider perched at the top of a massive, round, domed cage. A cage I have never seen in a residential setting. Eight feet tall. Vertical bars, square, and one half inch thick. The radius, four feet. The cage itself held my thoughts as Raider, a green winged macaw, called out trying to snare it.
 The apartment he found himself in had vaulted ceilings, his television above the fireplace. His cage loomed over the sliding glass doors, to the patio outside holding vigil over the pine trees and running trails one floor below. The ceiling height did not help the oppressive feelings thick in the air. This was the in-home consult that ended my in-home consulting. This is the in-home consult that birthed a book. Because I had no where else to go with my thoughts.
 Raider's cage had one perch attached to the curve closest to the glass doors. No toys. One water bowl. A food bowl. One six foot knotted rope from the tip of the dome hanging centered. His adopter asked me to sit on the couch directly behind Raider's cage. So much directly that one full cushion of the couch was unusable. Raider's round world forced itself on a square footage that depended on the ceiling to feel large. It was not.
 We sat together, cozy. She didn't want to sit too near his cage, as he's try to bite her through the bars. We examine a coffee table piled high with an array of foods. She was prepared to hear me, show me, and find an answer. "This is all the foods we feed him. I have to work alot, but my son is here. So he's not really alone. But, he's always screaming. The neighbors tell me. And I adopted him and do not want to give up on him. I just need to find out a way to get him to quit screaming."
 I had two choices. Tell her the simple answer, and leave all the other problems I see fast tracking her way for another day. Or give her the long answers that cover the coming apocalypse of parrot lifestyle failures. Because Raider was on the way to being back at a rescue, not of his own fault.
 "What's the relationship like with your son?" I cast wide and shallow on first questions, leaving an opening to interpret things. Because humans forget that human things affect their parrots.
 "Well, right now, we aren't doing well at all. He's supposed to leave for the military. Right now he's angry. He just comes out to feed Raider, and then goes back into his room."
 "What happens while you're here after work?"
 "Just what he's doing now."
 Which is Raider frustrated and bored at the top of a domed cage that, no matter how big, is situated in a dark, sad, human angst filled apartment. Where to start? Toys? This seems feeble at best. Human stress and disdain is palpable to a parrot. This stress can not be overcome with toys.
 "He eats healthy? See?" We go over all his foods. She's got that handled.
 Her son comes out of his bedroom. He's not interested in anything we are doing on the couch. A friend knocks and enters. He isn't interested. Both boys ignore her invitation to meet me. Both ignore her completely as they raid the refrigerator for foods. The kitchen is part of this small living room space. Cooking happens here, arguments happen here.
 "Are you going out?" She asks her son, trying to break ice that has become a glacier. I watch Raider. He's scrambled to the spot that is furthest up and away from these two.
 They disappeared into his room. She apologized. I changed the subject to Raider. We talked for an hour about all things lifestyle. Raider was here to the best of her ability. The cage was a gift, a happenstance. Good for Raider. Foods came as examples and suggestions to continue to feed him the same. Good for Raider. We discussed all things lifestyle. We touched upon relationships, and stress, and Raider's view of same. I left that day knowing damn well she got it, but couldn't get it. Her heart was looking for something to love her unconditionally. She saw her son leaving soon, and felt Raider could be his replacement. What to say? We had talked more. I gave her all my parrot knowledge as far as toys, foods, timing, reasonable expectations, and the like. On the way to my car I ripped up her payment, by check, for my consultation. I didn't want this money, I wanted Raider to have what could come from it.
 At home I thought. Raider didn't know me. What was the point of me being in that house? I was one more stressor unexplained. There was nowhere to go for him. All the work laid at the feet of the humans. I wrote the book that sold five thousand copies, gave away two thousand, and republished last year for easier access in ebook and print.
 It was my plan to write a second edition with more information. What more could I say, though? Parrots are fine. It's the human dynamic that needs work. I am certain The Art of the FlockCall says everything I want to say about the parrot lifestyle. Start here. Parrots are not complicated. Parrots are hard for humans. First flock, then all the rest of it.



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