"The difference between animals and people is by degree not kind." Charles Darwin
Looking after and caring for a parrot, especially one who has suffered abuse in some way, is far more difficult than most people imagine. Yet it is extremely rewarding for those who possess a dedicated, altruistic nature.
Contrary to popular belief and accepting that most parrot keepers will not welcome our opinion that parrots, in the main, do not make suitable house-companions. The primary reason is human nature, namely human imperfections vs. the inherent wild nature of parrots. The outstanding fact is that parrots are wild at heart and suffer by degree under captive conditions, and that most groups of parrots possess the emotional intelligence and sensitivity levels of a 4 to 5 year-old child, taking them beyond the ‘pet’ concept. In other words, they are the flying equivalence of dolphins and apes. Now, would you be cruel enough to keep such highly intelligent creatures confined to the mundane existence of a large swimming pool, cage and four walls?
I dare say you wouldn’t but there are many who deal in exotic birds and creatures who would try to convince you that it is ok to keep a highly intelligent, sentient creature confined behind bars in a room for all or most part of his or her daily life. We are a brainwashed, apathetic society and don’t like to stand above a crowd with an unpopular opinion in case we are called extremists. It has nothing to do with extremism but everything to do with what is morally right. It is those who confine, entrap and abuse creatures that are the extremists!
Most people believe that parrots have an innate ability to form a bonding relationship with the human. They don’t! To understand this, one must recognise “tricks of the trade”. Parrot breeders steal eggs and chicks from parent birds for artificial incubation and hand rearing because:
a) it reduces natural instinctive *fear response* toward humans and creates marketable tame, amenable young parrots which people find not only attractive but believe suitable for their emotional needs.
b) hand-reared parrots fetch a high price - enough for large breeders, dealers and all pet shop outlets from which to make an immoral living.
Have you ever wondered how the wild-caught parents feel about having their eggs and offspring stolen from them? Imagine this happening to you and yours! Some breeders treat parent birds like battery hens – Oh, those poor hens! Never mind which species. Some parents might be lucky enough to raise their chick(s) for approximately two-weeks and despite them doing an excellent job, suddenly have their offspring(s) snatched from them. Following this appalling theft, young birds who were cosy in their dark nest having the warmth of their parents bodies to feel safe and secure and provide them with their concoction of regurgitated food at the correct temperature, having learnt from the parental beak the natural technique/feeding method, suddenly finds him/herself in a strange, unnatural, brightly lit plastic container with an altered environmental temperature, fed alien food from an unfamiliar utensil. This is either a syringe or bent in teaspoon.
Note: Syringe feeding is a common method used amongst large breeders implementing conveyor-belt rearing, although small breeders and individuals also use this method for convenience. This gets the job done in half the time it takes to spoon-feed a baby parrot. These parrots seldom receive nurturing guidance, which ultimately causes the bird many psychological problems throughout his or her life.
Additional casualties are the stolen eggs and the emerging chicks breaking into a world of bright light and clear plastic, void of natural parental nurturing. The blatant disregard for ‘mother nature’ is cruel, exploitative and disgraceful. It also expresses lack of empathy and respect for ALL life and natural evolution.
Planted within these artificially reared parrots is the adverse emotional and psychological seed. It shoots through the juveniles and rears its ugly head when adolescence kicks in …. when their natural instincts fight against captive rearing and human negative responses. That painful bite on the finger would have been properly channelled had the parrot been reared by his or her natural parents, from whom it would have learned parrot behaviour and allowed him or her to identify between the bird and human species barrier. Most bites culminate from not understanding the behavioural repertoire of parrots. The continual screaming for attention would not have occurred had the parrot identified properly with its own species and had not received human over-indulgence. It is around this time when, metaphorically, the buyer kicks the parrot out the door! Although, sadly, some parrots are thrown literally through the open door or window. These unfortunate, unwanted parrots now join the thousands of captive bred parrots on the homeless treadmill, going from home to home.
Parrots are seen for sale on the Internet, in Exchange & Mart, parrot publications, newspapers etc. from keepers who say: “We love Polly but due to x, y, z reasons we can no longer keep him/her.” Rescue observationists know that on average young birds have known three or four homes by the time they are five-years old! If fortune is shining, he/she will arrive at a safe and secure parrot sanctuary that can provide quality care and environmental enrichment for life. Sanctuary re-homing does not guarantee a final home, as many birds bounce back or escape the sanctuary’s radar, depending on their level of monitoring.
People often go through a parrot rescue organisation to avoid paying market price and will offer up a list of what type of parrot they want, including "off-the-shelve" compliant behaviour that suit human needs and lifestyles. This clearly illustrates that most people do not have one ounce of understanding of the true, intrinsic wild nature of parrots, environmental enrichment and the parrots overall specialised requirements.
These wonderful birds pay this price to grace people’s homes. Why would we recycle highly intelligent, emotional creatures that are on par with dolphins and apes and that by their intrinsic nature are wild at heart? We wouldn’t - the damage is too great. We care for our birds unconditionally and not for our pleasure - we love and respect them for the wonderful wild creatures they are and believe in protecting them under the safety of NLPR's umbrella. We do not currently re-home our permanent residents to the public, only to past existing adoptees and well known associates. However, we offer a 'Re-homing via Referral' scheme, involving a very in-depth application procedure at our descretion. This scheme isn't for the basic or novice parrot enthusiast.
In a nutshell ……….
“Ironically, the same intelligence and sensitivity that attract people to parrots often ultimately drive them away. Left isolated and under-stimulated, sensitive, intelligent beings tend to lose their minds. This is the point at which a pet parrot's popularity tends to end.” Greg Glendell, “Bye-Bye Birdie” Washington Post August 2001.
"Like all intelligent thinking creatures, there would always be those that
wore out their welcome. Some would be too noisy, some would grow up to be nasty and some would be cast out when their owners grew tired of them or went through a life change." Quote from Howard Voren: One of the largest bird-mill breeders in the country speaking about parrots at a breeders’ conference...confirming the reality, but apathetically dismissing it!
PLEASE WATCH THIS YOUTUBE VIDEO http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-W97O6O9vA&feature=player_embedded
We thank you for taking the time to read this and hope you understand a little more about the parrots’ plight, but here are a few good educational links to view if we haven’t been able to convince you:
So you want to own a parrot
A Place to Land - Now available to buy on DVD, but click here to read the reviews.