"Tell me and I forget, Show me and I remember, Involve me and I learn"
The question I am most often asked: "Why do you walk around with a parrot on your shoulder?"
The answer is that I am a sociophobe, I have hyper-vigilance and an extremely active perception of surroundings that produces a heightened startle response, all these things come from and generate fear. That is what anthropophobia / scopophobia are all about, fear of people/society and social situations in general, some days are I can almost feel 'normal', that's when you see me out with my companion. Some days I really do not want to leave the house and face all those people and social situations, but some days I have to, I quickly found taking my companion with me makes a huge difference. I feel less stressed/intimidated. The reason..? I enjoy the 'engagement' with my companion, reassuring her and 'instructing' her as necessary rather than to be fearful of my surroundings, she is after all a prey animal, hunted by predators and so constantly looking for danger. I get comfort out of knowing that she is 'watching' our surroundings far more accurately and intently than I could without walking into something or someone and being responsible for her safety and well being gives me something to focus on,
It works for me that is really all I need to know.
It is that simple, my companion 'enables' me to do that which I could not ordinarily do.
Another question I am often asked is if she is so well trained why do I have her on a lead?
Well, if while we are out and she were to become startled she might well fly off... There is then, the potential for her to come down on a road and in traffic. The lead is to prevent that for her own safety, last thing I want is a squashed and very dead companion parrot. It then is a question of the time and energy expended in training and educating my companion rather than the cost of a replacement, although 'cheap' is not something generally associated with parrots (after a time they do become irreplaceable in respect of the patience (and pain), and indeed the bond that has been forged between us).
If I had to say what are parrots really good at... Imagine you spent an hour cleaning cage, tray, toys and food/water bowls. You put polly back in it's cage and you are rewarded for your labours with something like either spectacular indifference or haughty disdain, attitudes that parrots have a unique mastery of above all other animals bar man himself. Next comes making it's owner look like a fool and they become very, very good at that.
Actually, I am a very bad example. You should not have a bird on your shoulder, the potential for injury is very high, believe me the danger is very real, I have seen some extremely horrific facial injuries where people have had something like a macaw or a cockatoo on their shoulder and the bird has become startled causing it to rip off half their face. So, be advised, it is not a good idea to allow a bird on your shoulder... Unless you have a bond and trust that runs BOTH WAYS, particularly something the size of a macaw, most often with a singular determination that can turn a six foot piece of 2 x 4 into match sticks in about five minutes!
There are some basic ground rules that I have learned sometimes the hard way when interacting with parrots, if they don't want you to do something or they just plain don't like you, you ARE going to get bitten... Why you get bitten is only resolved using your own observations of the events leading up to that, there is a whole world of information available to help you understand animal behaviour and a good start would be here: The ABC's of Behaviour.
A very important thing to bear in mind when using your own initiative in finding the information you require to accomplish your goal, especially involving information on the internet (and this site is not excluded), please bear the following in mind and in particular with reference to the class of animals called 'Aves':
You should always seek professional advice from your own veterinary practice or vet before making any changes to your birds diet, freedoms, treatment or environment and you should never, never ever take your bird outside unharnessed without first seeking the advice of an experienced bird trainer and at the very least an outdoor flighted parrot owner.
The information contained in these pages is based on my own observations and extensive research. Statements are credited where possible and almost always have extrenal links leading to the relevant resources associated with a particular subject. This site is a personal study of behaviour based on my own observations and experience of living with psittacines (parrots), and including a wide variety of other birds ranging from raptors (birds of prey) to fowl, game and UK wild birds, therefore it is both fact AND opinion based observation and knowledge.
This site is dedicated to all animals not just birds. All pets should have at least the right to as much freedom as is manageable from their owners perspective whatever the species. They may be just pets to many people but they are nonetheless living and breathing, even the wild ones that sometimes need our help...
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