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To Newer Members: One-Person Birds

Holiday

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Hello all,

I've noticed lately a few threads that ask questions about parrots that prefer one person to another and also some that ask about parrot mating behavior. Since these things are related, and since some of our members are new to birds and/or have baby birds, I thought I'd just post a little bit about these things.

Here are some things that all new bird owners should know:

1) Parrots, unlike dogs and cats, cannot be "neutered," so as they mature, they have strong sexual urges that affect their behavior. Parrots are wild animals, only a few generations from the jungle, and when we bring them into our homes, we have to be ready for what they bring with them when they reach adulthood. Baby birds are adorable. But they do grow up.
2) Many parrots, especially large ones, like cockatoos and macaws, with lifespans of up to 60 years or so, have a strong urge to mate for life (or for periods of many years). Since they live in our homes, most often without a bird mate, they will often choose a human companion, and they instinctively expect that companion to be loyal to them, just as their bird mate would be in nature, and to help them guard their territory against "intruders" (and yes, they can see family members as "intruders").
3) The "one-person" bird is really just a bird. It is natural for a bird to choose a special someone in a household, since this is what they would do in nature. If you are not the chosen one, this could mean that handling the bird could sometimes be difficult. If you are talking about a large cockatoo, macaw, or Amazon, it could even be dangerous, especially during hormonal phases. See here: Bird bite photos (Warning ~ Graphic)
***This is why we so often post warnings about owning these large parrots after the baby stage.***
4) If you buy a baby macaw, large 'too, or 'zon, you do not yet own that species. You will own that species when the bird hits age 4-6. Until then, what you own is a baby bird.
5) No matter what species you own, you need to know that the bird will grow up, and it will have hormones to one degree or another, and this will most likely change your relationship with the bird to one degree or another. It *could* mean drastic changes. Many large birds are rehomed after age 4-6 when the hormones set in, and the bewildered owners think their bird changed or got "mean." If you don't believe me, check the classified ads, where you will find ad after ad that says things like: "Rehoming my 5 year old B&G. She has taken a dislike to my wife. She prefers men," and on and on. Smaller birds are less likely to be rehomed, and may have less extreme tendencies, but we still get plenty of new members here asking questions about why a bird is biting them, a spouse, or other family member, or why the bird seems to prefer men or women, or why the bird has changed personality at a certain age.
6) Positive reinforcement training and good socialization can help (to one degree or another) to overcome these strong natural urges and make the bird friendly to the whole family, but since it is natural, hard-wired behavior for them to bond with one bird or person, it usually won't go away entirely. And hormonal phases will still likely produce behavior issues to one degree or another. How extreme the behavior is will depend on the individual bird.

If you have not yet read these articles, please do so: (articles updated)


https://companionparrotonline.com/columbo.html
https://companionparrotonline.com/sex_csaky.html

Please be informed, and please be ready. There is more information on this subject on Behavior Byway. Thanks.
 
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Archiesmom

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Thanks Holiday, I think there is really a lot of great information in there!
As a ray of hope: Hormonal times pass, and as your birds get a little older, they settle down. So It's not all doom and gloom once they grow up :)
 

ortegah

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Great post! Every bird owner should be fully prepared that eventually that bird you used to cuddle with may want to eat you for dinner :D
 

Holiday

Mac Mama
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As a ray of hope: Hormonal times pass, and as your birds get a little older, they settle down. So It's not all doom and gloom once they grow up :)
Yes, hormonal times do pass, and the birds will often settle down some after adolescence, but the baby to adult change is a permanent one, and hormones are a life-long reality.

But, yeah, I don't mean to be all doom and gloom. Being prepared means being able to enjoy your birds even after they grow up :)
 
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Archiesmom

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Yes, hormonal times do pass, and the birds will often settle down some after adolescence, but the baby to adult change is a permanent one, and hormones are a life-long reality.

But, yeah, I don't mean to be all doom and gloom. Being prepared means being able to enjoy your birds even after they grow up :)
:agreed: Can't keep them a baby forever, no matter how badly you want to!
 

Gen120

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Great info Holiday!
 

marian

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Great information holiday thanks for posting.
 

KimKimWilliamson

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Great Post! While I dont have large bird (too's, macaws) I DO have a baby, and do have to be prepared for her temperment to change in maturity.
Thanks for passing on all the info, Im sure it will be helpful for others!
 

Birdiemarie

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So do I and so it is. :)
 

JLcribber

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Great post!! :hug8:
 

kastelling

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The link to the article doesn't work for me?
 

luvsgreys

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Fabulous post Holiday! :hug8: And one of the reasons adopting an adult bird can be so rewarding...generally when meeting an adult bird (at or past age of maturity) "what you see is what you get." :)
 

Holiday

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jenwren59

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definitely a good post. glad to see this as a sticky.
 
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