Parrots’ Bill of Rights (Adapted & Updated by Squawk and Howl)
I am not a domesticated pet like a dog or cat- I still have the spirit of the jungle in me. I have special needs, which you may find HARD to fill. Please don’t learn these too late for my well-being. Continuing education about me is also important. Avian medicine and nutrition advances are happening all the time. Get me from a reputable breeder, store, or rescue- Do NOT acquire me or one of my cousins from a bird mill, irresponsible chain store, or wild from the jungle - it will jeopardize our survival and well-being - and that won’t be a party for you either! For a list of educational bird books, search this blog’s tags for recommended books.
I am used to flying through rainforests or savannas. I have given up this great gift for your pleasure. I need room to flap my wings and exercise. I need a places to be other than my cage- get me a playgym or two! Eat & bathe with me- I need to roam from room to room with you and our flock doing the things flocks do! I need toys for my amusement and wood to chew - otherwise, I might confuse your home with the forest and its trees. For information on cages and playgyms, search this blog’s tags for for those words.
3. GIVE ME A NUTRITIOUS DIET
I need a wide variety of fresh and nutritious foods, even if they take time to prepare. I cannot survive on seeds alone. Take time to learn what my needs, and preferences are. Food, for parrots, is more than nutrition. Shared meals are a social activity that bonds a flock together. Be sure & share mealtimes with me! For proper avian diet, and pellet information, search this blog’s tags for recommendations.
I am a gregarious flock animal - but I am not one of you. I need lots of socialization to learn how to act with you, and with my siblings. I also need to have adequate quality time with you every day - no matter what your schedule or other needs are. I am a living, feeling creature. Above all, I need to be able to have complete trust in you, and count on your predictability in looking after me - EVERY day. I am feathered child of yours now- treat me like you would your own child.
5. LET ME BE CLEAN
I may like to drop food or even throw it, but I need meticulous cleanliness to be healthy. My skin itches without frequent showers, the barbs of my feathers won’t seal if they become oily and, worst of all, I may become ill if my food or water is not always sanitary. I am used to living high in the trees, away from my own droppings (and the bacteria that breeds in them). I have not built up the kind of immunity that land-dwelling mammals have. More info on cleanliness, search this blog’s tags for recommendations.
6. I NEED MY OWN DOCTOR & SPECIAL CARE
You may not understand my physiology and therefore you may not recognize it early on when I get sick. And it may be too late when you do, because I hide my illnesses (remember what I said about my being an animal of the jungle, where there are lots of predators). And I need an board certified avian vet - a specialist (no HMOs for me please), annual checkups and emergency visits when needed. If you can’t afford one, perhaps you shouldn’t have taken me home. When you are not around, please be sure to get a qualified, experienced person to spend time with me, out of my cage, and care for me properly. To find a proper avian vet, search this blog’s tags for recommendations and search databases.
Just as I don’t always understand your peculiarities, you may not understand mine. I don’t TRY to get in trouble - remember, a house is not the jungle. If I do screw up, don’t yell at me and never hit me. I have sensitive ears and I may never trust you again if you strike me. Hands are sometimes scary things to us (why in the world would you not be zygodactylous like us?). Even more importantly, we don’t learn by punishment. We are gentle creatures who only strike back to protect ourselves; we learn through patience and love. Learn LOTS about parrot behavior from the experts- click here.
8. SPEAK MY LANGUAGE
I know you get upset with me when I knock over my water bowl, throw food, scream or pluck my feathers. I don’t do these to annoy you - I am probably trying to tell you something (perhaps that I am hurting, lonely, or sad). Learn to speak MY (body) language. Remember that I alone, of all creatures on this planet, learn to speak yours! Learn LOTS about parrot behavior from the experts- click here.
9. SEE ME AS AN INDIVIDUAL
I am a unique and feeling being. No two of us are alike. Please don’t be disappointed in me if I don’t talk like you wanted, or can’t do the tricks that your friend’s parrot can do. But if you pay close attention to me (and I always empathize with you, whether you know it or not), I will show you a unique being who will give you so much more than talking and playing. Give me a chance to show you who I am; I think you’ll find the effort worth it.
And remember - I am not an ornament; I do not enhance ANY living room decor. And I am not a status symbol - if you use me as such, I might nip at your up-turned nose (and you would deserve it)!
Above all, please remember that you are my Special Person. I put all my trust and faith in you. We parrots are used to being monogamous (no bar-hopping for us!). So please don’t go away for long periods or give me away - that would be a sadness from which I may never recover. If that seems to be asking a lot, remember - you could have learned about my needs before bringing me home.
Even having a baby or taking a new job isn’t a fair reason - you made a commitment to me FIRST. And if you think that you must leave me because you might die, provide for me forever after you leave. I may live to a ripe old age but I can’t provide for myself. Remember I’m in a small cage amongst people who are not of my blood.
And I know it may be difficult for you, but I need you there at the end of my life (should I go before you). I need to feel your love as the last thing that I experience. And should you go before me, please provide for me so that I can live out my life in comfort and happiness.
11. YOUR RIGHTS
You have lots of rights, but I can only assure one. That is, if you treat me the way I described above, I will reward you with unwavering love, humor, knowledge, beauty, dedication - and a sense of wonder and awe you haven’t felt since you were a child. When you took me home, you became my Flock Leader, indeed, my entire universe - for life. I would hang the moon and stars for you if I could. We are one in Heart and Soul.
Now through Sept 13, enter code "parrotsarepeopletoo" IN THE COMMENTS BOX (NOT THE COUPON BOX) and get a free bag of birdie bread with the purchase of two foraging toys.