Wednesday, August 9, 2017


A good friend shared the following excellent article by Dr. Karen Becker with me a few days ago.   I highly recommend that you read it:

One of my upcoming  Get Creative2 Avian Workshops,"Step Up to Parrothood" at,  addresses just this - some of the vital thought processes that must go into getting a parrot, large OR small, as a pet.  It cannot be overstated the importance of having basic avian knowledge under your belt before embarking on this wonderful adventure of avian companionship.

After giving this article and the contents of the "Step Up to Parrothood" workshop a great deal of thought, it solidified my belief that bringing a parrot into your home involves a great deal more mental gymnastics. It's not enough to just consider the beginning processes of doing everything as best we can to ensure long-lasting good mental and physical health.  We have to look way down the road.  Let me explain.

My flock consists of five large parrots and two lovebirds.   Over the years I have been oh, so tempted to bring another bird (or birds!)  into our home to amplify the existing cacophony.  Who can resist?  With volunteering in the parrot rescue business for many years, there have been so many birds that  have tugged at my heart strings.  And I have passed on some of the most incredible birds I've ever met.  It has been challenging, but I have forced my heart to step aside for some sound reason and logic. 

Enough is enough.   I know what my limits are with the flock numbers.  I know the space that I have available.  I know the amount of time that I have to give to them.  I know that with the size of my flock being static, everyone is going to get consistent attention, love, enrichment, nutrition, etc. I know what I can physically do for them.  I know where "parrots" fit into the monthly budget (and believe me, that's a huge chunk of change!). I remain as passionate about my birds as I did 27 years ago when we brought our first (and now oldest) Amazon into our home.   

That's just me.   I have a friend who has over twenty parrots in her home and she treats each one as if it's an only child. They are all social and spoiled rotten.   She works 40+ hours a week solely to support her parrot habit;  to make sure they have the best food, toys, cages, everything.  She constantly reads of new avian research, always looking to make her flock's lives better.  That's her. And I applaud her for it.   She lives for her birds...and has created a life-style that accommodates that dedication.  She knows her own personal limits and handles them well.

My commitment to my birds is for as long as I am capable of giving all of them 100% of what they need.    I will soon be entering what our society considers "old age."  It is necessary for me to say, "Enough is enough," because I realize that, as I get older, caring for my animals, furred and feathered, will become more challenging.  To bring more birds into our home would be foolish and unfair at this juncture in our lives, for so many reasons.  And so this will remain a five big bird, two small bird home until I can no longer do, not just a good job, but a great job of caring for all of them. And when the time comes when I cannot be that "best" caretaker for my flock, I will meticulously make appropriate arrangements for them to move on ... to the next phases of their lives, as we will in our own old age.

Enough is enough. There are people who desperately love parrots.  They start out with one bird with good intentions, it turns to two, and then it becomes a newspaper headline of hoarding.    Or, parrot owners become too old, mentally or physically disabled to tend their birds. Too many, too hard. Again,  dire situations where many times rescue is necessary.  Some people are totally capable of bringing more birds into their care, some are not; and we all need to know when to say, "No, that's it for me." 

Knowing when to stop with what you have and do the best you can do until you are unable to continue necessitates a reality check.  As parrot owners and considering their longevity, we owe the birds in our care that commitment. Yes, it's wonderful and fun when birds are young, when we are young...but the clock ticks, and making good avian decisions at the right times in our lives, and in their lives, is probably one of the wisest steps we can take as we walk this wonderful feathered journey.

1 comment:

  1. Thoughtful, well written article as always. Totally agree with the sentiments expressed here. I, too, have had the opportunity to adopt literally hundreds of delightful and special parrots. I have to give some credit to my husband for setting limits because my heart wanted to take each and every one of them. (He still says my limit is 2. I'm at 6 but that's become my personal limit. I think.). Thanks Gaye for the honest information that we all need to consider. I like your coment that you are "forced by your heart to step aside and use sound logic". Difficult for many of us to do when we see a parrot in need but it really is the best thing we can do for our current flock members and ourselves. Patti Christie