Sara, (a long time friend of Garuda Aviary) had this question for the Parrot Whisperer…
Hello Garuda 😉
How do parrots like mine who are used to people and lots of human touch, interaction and affection, adapt to a sanctuary?
My parrot is used to lots of petting and is very well socialized. I take her almost everywhere with me, in the car, etc. She lets my friend pet her and loves human interaction. She is almost NEVER aggressive because she’s been well nurtured as a baby.
I take her to be around other birds. She’s cool with it, but does not really engage with them. I don’t think she sees herself as a bird, but as a human with feathers.
How do you transition a parrot to be with other parrots? How do domesticated birds transition to your sanctuary?
Thank you! (Many blessings)
I always love to hear about parrots with loving owners. Your bird is truly blessed.
First I must correct you on one misconception; there is no such thing as a domesticated parrot. Domestication takes much longer to occur then humans have been keeping parrots as pets. However, they can seem tame because they are intelligent and can learn how to live around humans. But make no mistake. They are wild captive prey.
That being said…
When a parrot bonds with a human, (like you and your bird) that is possible because they are animals that gather in groups like we are. In this kind of situation, the parrot considers the owner as a parent or flock leader. Parrots are generally loyal to their flock and to their flock leaders. They do not leave their flock to go and hang out with another flock. The other flock wouldn’t want them around anyway because it’s another mouth to feed.
This is essentially why when you bring your bird around other parrots, he’s not interested in engaging with them. He has a flock; You (and your other pets, friends, and family, etc). It’s not in a parrot’s nature to leave their flock and seek out another.
So as long as you’re truly there for him, then he has all he wants. Your parrot would think that hanging out with another established flock would only cause trouble.
Now… your question about socializing a parrot with another flock (like when a new bird arrives at a sanctuary) can be a difficult one.
When we rescue a parrot from a cruel situation, they almost never had a flock there… or good food, toys, lots of room to play, full spectrum lighting, etc.… So those poor birds are fairly easy to make happy. They want to join our flock because they feel naked without one. They tend to LOVE everything we do for them.
However, when a parrot that comes from a good home is relocated to a sanctuary, they are usually very unhappy about it for some time. They miss their flock and they want to go back to them. The memory of their previous flock, (and their desire to rejoin them) keeps them from engaging with the new flock.
A parrot does not choose to engage with another flock. But when it’s re-homed to a sanctuary, it is forced to do so. If it longs to return to its previous flock, then the transition may be long and unhappy.
If your parrot isn’t crazy about socializing with other parrots, that’s ok. Trust me, there are worse parrot problems than that. Just be happy that he adores you and wouldn’t want to be with anyone else.
Good question, Sara