Yes, but have you thought about it?
There are many reasons why we want to buy a parrot. As far as I am concerned, when I decided to adopt a parrot, the reasons which justified my decision were guided by purely human emotions that I had not analyzed before going to seek my casserole of love.
I’m not proud to admit it, but I believe it is a normal stage that affects the majority of people who choose to have a parrot or a pet. We want a bird that will love us, that will depend on us and for which we will be the center of the universe. It is this state of mind that inhabited me during the first month when I lived with Misha, my female blue and gold macaw who was 4 months old at the time. Then little by little, over the course of my reading, but especially after a telephone conversation with Johanne Vaillancourt, I learned that parrots were beings free to choose. It is not because a human realizes his dream of having a parrot that the bird in question will be devoted to him.
Since then, I have been watching the time that has passed and I can see with pride and amazement how far I have come for almost 3 years. I adopted other parrots later, but my motivations were different. Those who came to join the group did not have to fill an emotional need or specific expectations on my part. They arrive as full members of the group with things to contribute, but also with limits and a past of their own. They have to develop themselves and to be happy as much as possible and not to contribute in any way to my personal development. So much the better if their presence and the life I share with them allows me to surpass myself and take up certain challenges, but they are not responsible for it.
Also the fact that my birds are not the “one pet” living in a group of humans takes a lot of weight off their shoulders. They are more accepted for what they are and not according to the hopes that are placed in them. In any case, it is not a service to be rendered to the bird to make it completely depend on us. It is in a way to infantilize him and take away his dignity as a savage creature. Making him “free” in captivity, that is our goal!
A second reason that motivates the acquisition of a parrot and that I often hear around me: “I want a talking parrot”. Oh! La, la! So many disappointments in sight! Barely out of the egg and he must express himself better than us. When the bird arrives at the age of one year and it does not know what to say “hello”, people are then disappointed and that, the parrot feels it very well thanks to its great capacity for empathy. When expectations are not met, interest in the bird often wanes. Having a parrot is more than owning an animal with the ability to speak. He is a being who has much more to offer than that, we must take the time to discover it.
When people come to the house they are often surprised to see my birds roaming freely in the house ( under supervision) and see them share our meals and activities. Often times, those who wish to adopt a parrot lack information and have no idea of the intellectual abilities and emotions that inhabit a parrot. They have of course all met someone in their circle with a budgie. Most of the time, the latter was solitary, locked 24 hours a day in a cage too small, eating only seeds. The expression “having a bird’s brain” is still very much in the popular imagination. A bird is made to be kept in a cage and observed. After all, it’s just a bird! We choose a bird for its beauty and magnificent colors. Shame, because the potential of the bird is stifled and we open the door to a panoply of behavioral problems. These problems then result from the ill-being of the bird whose basic needs are ignored; which sooner or later leads to the abandonment of the bird that we can no longer bear.
Those who choose a bird to fill an emotional gap or to get out of a state of depression are doing neither the bird nor themselves. Here we must take into account the great capacity for empathy that parrots have. Arriving to get in tune with us, our emotions they feel. A person who has a temperament or who has a need to subdue those around him should think twice before adopting a parrot. She would then avoid living in perpetual confrontation with her pet.
The parrot is not an animal that we buy for children. Their physical, emotional and intellectual needs are too complex for this. A child of about ten may very well have a budgie or a cockatiel as a companion. He will be able to offer him adequate care ( under the supervision of an adult ), but he will not be able to take care of a parrot with more temperament. When you have young children of 2 – 3 years old, this is not the right time to acquire species that require a lot of attention and energy such as the macaw or the cockatoo. It is better to postpone your project until later to have more time to devote to the bird.
There is also the habit of consuming easily and quickly which is fashionable in our human society today, which influences us when it comes time to choose an animal as a companion. Unfortunately, it is the latter who are the main victims. With the advent of credit cards, they have become easily accessible for most of us. The parrot has become a consumer good that we use and throw away when we want. The surfaces in animal shops devoted to birds are immense. The demand for hand-fed parrot babies is as strong as ever and the pet market is booming.
But where will all these poor birds go when their humans tire of them? We live in a world where concessions and the giving of either are out of fashion. People want a lot of fun with as little fuss as possible. I am pessimistic you might think? No, I think I am a realist. You only have to look at the number of dogs and cats abandoned in shelters to understand the problem, not to mention the thousands of them who are euthanized each year. Is this what awaits these wild and free beings that are the parrots? I just tremble thinking about it. In my house, I have twenty birds and 12 of them come from people who had misjudged their needs. We must awaken consciousness. Animals are not consumer goods, but full members of our families. Do not choose the easy way, and that to remain united.
So, take the time to analyze yourself before going to find a feathered friend ( or any other animal); assess our family and personal situation and really find what motivates our choice. Having a parrot is a lot of fun and stimulating, but it’s also like having human children. You have to show a great capacity for empathy and show a great gift of yourself in order to meet the needs of your bird as adequately as possible. It is an investment of time, energy and also money. Parrots are animals that have specific needs. You have to be able to fill them and that comes at a cost. These are animals that require diversity in terms of food, but also in terms of activities and toys. They have a long life expectancy and they will need to be managed throughout. It’s like adopting a human baby, except it can never go out and stand on its own. You have to love them enough to know how to forget yourself.
If you have thought about this for a long time and are ready to take the leap to make such a commitment, I wish you a beautiful and long life with your little feathered love. A life that, you will see, will never be mundane or boring; a life full of challenges and joys. With ups and downs of course, but from which you will undoubtedly emerge grown up in contact with this unique and wild being that is the parrot.