Nanday Conure Forum

Message #2117. This is a followup to #2112.

Date:Saturday September 25, 2004 1:11:43 pm MDT
Subject:Re: Fact/fiction
Message:<smile> I'll be happy to give you my opinion, Enyar...

Don't Let Your Parrot Walk Around On The Floor - The reasons behind this is purely for the safety of your parrot.  Here are a few of the reasons behind that advice...  If the bird is allowed to walk around on the floor (which is fine when you are supervising him), he will do this when you are not looking as well.  Most birds don't like spending time on the floor, but some do like to graze on the ground, explore on the floor and will do so if given the opportunity.  Some true stories...a quaker parrot used to run around on the floor and the owner was walking out onto her deck - the bird was following her and she didn't know it, she opened the sliding glass door, stepped through and then slammed the door shut - guess where the quaker was...<squished>.  Another bird, a cockatiel, used to be allowed to run around in a "bird safe" area.  The owner was cooking in the kitchen and walking back and forth between stove, sink and refrigerator.  Well this little bird was trying to get to her "Mommy" and the woman didn't notice the bird was in the kitchen and this bird was crushed to death under her foot.  Another bird became stuck behind the refrigerator and was lucky it didn't get crushed as the owner tried to move it so the bird could be safely removed.  Birds have hopped into slightly open cabinets and got "lost", got stuck in places under/inside sofas, chewed on toxic paint, the list of possible dangers seems almost endless.  So, not only can the bird be slammed into doors or accidentally injured/killed by being kicked or stepped on, the bird can also come into contact with electrical cords and other dangerous things on the floor.  This includes diseases even...think about all the places you go when you have your shoes on.  When you walk under some of those lighted signs, you know the ones where pigeons often roost and the ground is caked in droppings in a thick line across the entrance to that store?  Well, walking through contaminated droppings and then through your home, your bird who plays on the floor can come into contact with these germs and diseases.  Parking lots where people spit and oil drips, and who knows what else...

Don't Allow Your Parrots On Your Shoulder - Well, you've heard of the pirates (usually with a parrot on their shoulder) and the eyepatches, right?  Well, there is a good reason right there, but besides that...  Most parrots, except for the smaller ones, are at eye level or above when they are on your shoulder which put them in a superior position in their eyes.  Birds can also form a "bond" with your head - I know it seems strange, but a bird can absolutely love your head, but not realize that your hands are also part of you and therefore may be terrified of your hands while love your head - the bird might allow you to kiss him on the top of his head, yet will run like crazy to get away from a finger that only wants to scritch him ever so gently.  So anyhow, this "bond" with your head may end up with the bird seeing your head as his mate.  If a bird that is perched side by side with his mate recognizes something approaching as something dangerous or something he wants to keep his mate away from will attack his mate in an effort to make his mate fly off and find a safer spot to sit. As the bird would be with your head, sharing the same perching spot side by side, and say for example, the bird doesn't appreciate your spouse/child approaching you for attentions while he (the bird) is on your shoulder...the bird may attack your head/face to get it to leave and go to a safer spot (which of course, it can't!).  Likewise, birds can sit side by side all afternoon and then for whatever reason one of the birds decides he is done sharing this perch and this other bird just has to go now, when he goes to make the other one leave the perch - if this is your head/face - of course you can't leave your shoulders.  The same sort of trouble could ensue if you are sharing your shoulders with two birds whether there is one on each shoulder or not.  Not only that, but it can be difficult to remove a bird from your shoulder if they do not want to be removed.  They end up running down your back or over to your other shoulder.  The only way to remove them is to remove your clothes (gee, I hope that your company has left before then, if you are a lady like I am anyway - LOL!).

Here are some true stories of my own - and I haven't learned to keep my birds off my shoulders yet, well, at least not all of them yet.  I don't put the pionus parrots on my shoulder.  The conures, the barraband and the cockatiels do spend time on my shoulder.  We used to have a macaw and my husband used to let him on his shoulder as well.  One day with the macaw on his shoulder, my Mom came over and was "hugging everyone hello" when she didn't see this bird and nearly lost her eye.  My husband also went to hug me with my little maroon belly conure on my shoulder and he likewise almost lost an eye.  Both times there was missing flesh torn from below the eye on the person who approach the one with the bird on the shoulder for a hug.  You can't blame the bird, he is only doing what comes natural, to defend itself.  I fault the one with the bird on their shoulder.  Then another time I had my little maroon belly on my shoulder and I had the water mister in my hands.  I approached the pionus cages with the mister and proceeded to give them their baths.  Well, my little maroon belly did not like that at all and as a matter of fact, he hates me misting anything when he is on my shoulder.  It doesn't even have to be another bird, but even if I'm cleaning perches, he'll have a fit.  He started yelling "No!" and stabbing at me with his beak and then a quick bite to the side of the face - about an inch away from my eye, kind of between the upper part of my cheekbone and my temple...a nice upper and lower mandible imprint in bruised scab form on my face.  And, stupid me, I was dumb enough to give him the opportunity to do it to me again.  The second time I was just giving another bird "too much attention" with Cozzy (the maroon belly) on my shoulder.  Although my Nanday has never given me any reason NOT to trust him on my shoulder, it is definitely something that I will proceed with caution.  I would advise you to do the same with your bird.

I probably haven't touched on every reason "why not to" with both of your points in question, but I think I touched on most of the common ones.  That is the way I understand the thoughts behind those pieces of good advice to be.  How you decide to raise your bird and interact with your bird is your choice, just as long as you are aware of the dangers.

As opposed to allowing your bird playtime on the floor, perhaps you could just spread out a "play blanket" either on the floor or on the bed and only allow your bird to run around on top of the blanket.  When he goes off, say "Oops!" or "No,no, stay on the blanket" and promptly return him to the "allowed play area", you may be able to train your bird into understanding where it is OK to play while off the play stand or off/out of his cage.

The longer you have your bird, the better you will get to know your bird and the more likely you'll be able to gage the level of trust you can achieve with your bird.  That trust level may vary at different times....such as you may never be able to have your bird on your shoulder if you are interacting with another bird or human out of jealous or angry outbursts from your avian companion.  Some birds will sit happily on your shoulders as you vacuum while others may become rowdy or want to "help" you by biting at the vacuum handle or your moving hands.

May you and your bird remain safe and happy.  I hope some of this helps.

Enyar wrote:
> I would like to ask some general opinions of you all.
> I am currently reading a book and it says never to allow your parrot
> to sit on your shoulder or to let them walk around on the floor of
> your home. Articles on the Net seem to be of mixed opinion and I am
> unsure.  Apparently by allowing your parrot do these things it
> encourages bad behaviour.

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