What Makes Parrots So Anxious?

(Question #4 from our new FAQ page)..

Parrots are prey (animals hunted for food by carnivorous animals). Parrots recognize humans as predators (animals that hunt and eat other animals) because we can look at them with two eyes at the same time. When a predator hunts prey, they focus their eyes on the prey to determine how far away it is and what they will have to do to catch it. When a predator stares at prey squarely with both eyes, an instinctive fear response is triggered in the prey. This ancient instinct is telling the prey to get away from the predator.

Not only are parrots prey, they are wild prey. There is no such thing as a domesticated parrot. Domestication takes a long time over many generations. Humans had completely domesticated dogs and cats a few thousand years ago. Parrots, however, gained their popularity as pets only within the last 150 years. Any parrot you find in a domestic setting is identical to its counterpart in the wild. Parrots as pets are not “domesticated animals,” rather they are “captive wild prey.” And parrots bred by people are not “domestic bred animals,” they are “wild animals bred in captivity.”

Also, parrots live in flocks. Being prey, gathering in large groups offers safety, as there are many eyes to look out for predators. A parrot’s whole sense of security and even their personal identity revolves around their flock. But we humans don’t buy flocks of parrots. We buy one parrot. We bring that parrot home, put it in a cage that is often too small, and stare at it with our predator eyes. As a result, most parrots in a domestic environment develop anxiety disorders.

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