Parrot Care & FAQ
These links will provide you with plenty of reading material to start you on your way to a higher level of education so you can better care for your avian companion. I've visited many of these links over the years and have always learned new things. I hope these links prove to be as useful to you as they have been to all of us. Happy reading!
To learn more about Moluccan Cockatoos, CLICK HERE
To learn more about Greenwing Macaws, CLICK HERE
Teflon Toxicity (PTFE Toxicosis) in Birds: Signs and Prevention
Gillian's Help Desk
Regarding Flight & Wing Clipping
While our bird is unclipped, we have set our household up expressly with our bird's safety in mind. He is kept in a travel carrier when he's outdoors and traveling, and don't get taken out unless he's in an environment we've decided is safe for him. There is helpful information about flighted, freeflight parrots and wingclipping below.
Wing clipping is an important and controversial issue, so we feel it's important to provide more information about it. Ultimately it is the individual owner's decision to make. Here are some links for you to visit explaining the Pros & Cons of flight, free-flight, and some wing-clipping methods:
Project Bird Watch Library
Air Travel, Avian Style
REGARDING PARROTS IN CAPTIVITY
There are a couple of questions we get asked most often regarding parrots. "Does it talk?" All animals seem capable of getting their point across. Whether vocally or otherwise, they do indeed communicate. Parrots have the capability to learn what human words mean, and can often cognitively use those words to make us humans understand what they need. Each bird being an individual, the amount of human words they choose to use (or are capable of using) varies greatly. Humans seem to put value on others learning THEIR language. Humans like to think that any creature incapable of communicating in THEIR language are of lesser value. This is why we see the "common" birds flying freely in our communities, while the parrots are thrust into a life encaged. To be honest, a better question for people to ask when they see a parrot may be, "Can it fly?"
After spending so much time living with these birds in our home, it has made me understand how WRONG it is that these WILD creatures are FORCED into a life of captivity. Having said that, I know many like to attack such a statement that comes from someone sharing their home with parrot/s. They may call me a hypocrite. BUT... the fact is that we brought our two birds into our household before we realized how wrong their captivity is. With the first bird (Baby) we believed the fairy tale we were told by the breeder. With the second (Sammy) we saw an unfortunate soul who had been through FIVE or SIX homes in his first 1&1/2 years of life. I will have to write more about their individual stories over time.
Before anyone goes on calling us hypocrites, there are many factors to bring up. I would love nothing more for our two birds than to see them living naturally. If I thought for one moment they could do so, I would raise the money to make the trip to their native lands with them and set them free. Unfortunately, there are a number of reasons why this would not work. First, the natural habitats for these birds in the wild are disappearing at an alarming rate. Second, because they have a price upon their heads (human desire to keep them captive), they are trapped and forced into captivity. Some countries have outlawed the sale of wild caught parrots, some have not. Keeping track and prosecuting trappers and sellers is difficult as well. The profits may often outweigh any punishment (IF they get caught).
Birds that are bred in captivity do not possess the natural instincts they need to survive in their natural habitats. When they are bred in captivity, they are ripped away from their parents - as the parents SCREAM and try to attack the breeder to defend their offspring - and they never get the opportunity to do things naturally. Instead of being fed by their parents, they are put into plastic buckets and fed with syringes by the breeders. Instead of being able to fledge (learn how to fly), their wings are clipped. They are never taught how to survive in the wild because breeders have found that doing things un-naturally makes for a better survival rate for their PRODUCT they will MAKE MONEY off of. Some breeders even try to pass off what they do in the name of CONSERVATION of the species. However, anyone who is involved with the conservation of wildlife knows that a major key is NOT having human interaction, and seeing to it that the WILD animal learns the proper skills to survive in the wild. What I am saying is that breeders who are selling their birds for profit are simply FULL OF IT when they try to make this excuse.
The bottom line is that human DESIRE outweighs the RIGHTS of these wild animals to live as Nature intended. Because we humans WANT a cute/cool bird in our house, they are stripped of everything that makes them so spectacular in the real world. I believe the biggest thing they are robbed of is FLIGHT, which is the most special gift birds are given. True, it may be safer for them to live flightless due to the fact that they are confined to our human dwellings. However, how FAIR is that to the bird? Because of selfish human desire, they are forced to live in our homes. There is a price assigned to them and they are considered "possessions". Doesn't it seem preposterous to call another living creature a "possession"?
Because they lack the skills to survive in their natural habitats, if we returned our birds to their wild places, they would not survive... even if there were enough natural habitats left to accommodate them. Because there is a price set upon their being, even if they could survive, how long would it take for them to be trapped and put back into a cage? As it stands now, our two birds - and millions upon millions of other birds - must cope with the echoes of their wild instincts within our homes because we humans forced them into this position. Now the parrot overpopulation problem is fast-growing and beginning to catch up to the HUGE pet overpopulation problem we have with the domestic animals, such as cats and dogs. While millions of those animals are euthanized each year because there aren't enough homes for them, the breeders are still making great profits by breeding them.
People just HAVE to have a purebred dog, rather than the one that can love them just as well who sits in a shelter while their time runs out. Being that those selfish humans are not the ones who must inject the poison into those animals and have them die in THEIR arms, it's no big deal to them. The problem doesn't exist if they aren't dealing with it directly. This is the direction these highly intelligent birds are heading for... as bird rescues are overflowing and have a difficult time getting funding, and there just aren't enough homes to support all these birds and their long life spans. It defies my logical thought process that such wonderful creatures would be murdered simply because the humans who are responsible for creating the demand for them (as products to buy) are not up to the task of caring for them.
These humans buy them and throw them away... often wanting a different bird to take its place because they believe it is the BIRD'S fault things did not work out. The bird didn't talk or do tricks like they wanted. It didn't snuggle up to them wholeheartedly. It didn't match their interior decorating anymore. Indeed, it is that the HUMAN is not up to the task of caring for a WILD animal that does not belong in their household in the first place. They simply do not understand. The only reason why these birds are in our households is because they generally cannot kill a human by attacking like a lion, ape, or an elephant can. They lack the sheer size to do so, but they can still give plenty of damage. Bites from birds can result in scars, nerve damage, and removal of appendages. Bites from the large wild animals bring larger damage. It is the threat of death that keeps those larger wild animals from being in our homes, and subject to proper licensing. It is the lack of that threat which makes people think living with birds is no big deal.
The most common question or comment we hear regarding our birds is about HOW MUCH THEY COST. Well, with us that is a loaded question. I know the inquiring humans are talking about the monetary cost, but what is more important to us is the cost of a wild creature in captivity. That is what they SHOULD be thinking of, and it is what many who share their lives with these birds think of when they hear those relative words. One answer is that these birds are more precious than money can relate to. If our birds were stolen, we would feel like we lost family. Worse than that, we would worry about where they ended up - like someone would worry about a child. The thought of someone ripping them from what they know as HOME, hacking off their wing feathers so they can no longer fly, and them enduring a flightless life in a cage with poor nutrition and possibly neglect and abuse due to being misunderstood is more than I can describe.
Delving further into the cost issue, I would like to provide a number of links to visit. Some will be videos and some other web site pages. As you view these pages or videos, I want you to remind yourself of the base question... What is the COST? (Think deeper than the monetary connotation!) These bird's stories are only a drop in the bucket. There are SO many more birds out there that never made it to safety and have been neglected and abused for the entirety of their long lives.
This is a special little section about those who like to breed birds, but try to justify it as "saving the species from extinction". The fact is, that's a cop-out, and you can read about WHY by clicking HERE.
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