Parrots are beautiful birds known for their bright, colorful plumage and ability to imitate human speech. Due to this exotic nature and strange talent, many people desire them as pets. However, owning a parrot is a really bad idea for many reasons, ranging from the mild convenient to downright cruel. Before rushing off to buy one, please read the following article. Doing so could save the parrot and yourself from immense grief.
Need For Attention
Like most humans, parrots are monogamous. In the wild, they find a partner and bond for life. Without another bird to mate with, the chances of your parrot forming a strong connection with you is high. Yes, this could be seen as cute if it was the same sort of loving bond we share with cats and dogs, but it is not.
A parrot needs constant affection from their partner, a level of attentiveness the average human is unwilling to give. Without this interaction, the bird could grow distressed and lash out. This aggressive and sometimes violent behavior could potentially put yourself or your family in harm’s way.
Believe it or not, parrots have feelings. This need for attention—and whether or not it gets it—impacts what it feels: love, happiness, sadness, frustration, anger. This is quite remarkable, but be aware that a parrot’s emotional maturity is that of a two-year-old human. Toddlers are prone to intense mood swings—laughing one minute, having a temper tantrum the next. This sort of drastic emotional pendulum affects parrots as well.
Most parrots have the intelligence of a four-year-old human, with some species having that of a six-year-old. This intelligence can be seen in the way it copies language and uses certain tools.
For animals you want to keep in your house, however, this number is quite high. In the wild, parrots fly around and forage for food. In a domestic setting where this is not possible, parrots are likely to get bored, and with an emotional maturity of a two-year-old, this boredom can manifest itself in frustration and aggressive behavior.
For comparison, a parrot’s intelligence is roughly on par with apes and dolphins, whereas dogs have the intelligence of a two-year-old.
While not intentional, parrots can be incredibly messy creatures. They constantly let food drop to the floor when eating—a habit they exhibit in the wild—and spend hours everyday preening, shedding feathers and the dust they create. This dust can coat everything in your home, so be prepared to clean not only the bird’s cage, but your house as well.
Parrots are known to be extremely disruptive. They are loud creatures who squawk, screech, whistle, and even bark. This level of noise is likely to disrupt your day-to-day activities such as family dinners, watching television, or sleep. Such constant commotion and lack of long-lasting peace has been noted to make people miserable and regret their choice in pet.
Every pet owner needs to have a vet. Most clinics employ canine and feline experts—they are the most common pets, after all—but finding a qualified avian vet familiar specifically with parrots may prove to be a difficult task. There are only approximately 200 board-certified avian vets in the United States. Parrots are tricky birds though and can hide their illnesses very well. By the time you recognize certain symptoms, it might already be too late to seek professional help.
Outlive Owners And End Up In Dispair
Parrots have incredibly long lifespans, with some species living as long as 75 years. As a general rule, the larger the bird, the longer they live; however, parrots will live longer in captivity where they are not as vulnerable to predators.
Because of this advanced age, parrots may be with someone their entire lives. They might even outlive their owners. In this case, a relative might become burdened with the responsibility of its welfare. But if the parrot had bonded with its owner with whom they lived together for years, decades even, and then are suddenly ripped away from them, this could result in very aggressive behavior. The same goes for if a child grows up and moves away, or any other number of scenarios.
Owning a parrot is a lifelong commitment, one you or your family might not be able to make.
Parrots have been tamed, but they are not fully domesticated animals. Unlike dogs who scientists generally agree were domesticated around 15,000 years ago, most parrots are only one or two generations removed from the wild. Because of this, their instincts have not yet adapted to life in human environments, but rather are still programmed for their original habitat. These wild instincts are the root cause for their unpredictable behavior.
There is outrage among many animal activists who argue that birds are not meant to be locked in cages. While this article will not address this general argument, it is important to note that this is indeed the case for parrots. Because of their wild instincts, they still want to fly and search for food. Such an activity could take them miles away from their home. Flying also helps release their pent-up energy, which in a domestic space, they may choose to release in some other destructive way.
Illegal Pet Trade
The Wild Bird Population Act was designed to combat the illegal pet trade and protect birds from being snatched from their natural habitats; however, parrots and other birds are still being taken from the wild, smuggled into the country—very cruelly as to avoid detection—and brought to breeding facilities not unlike puppy mills. The offspring of these captured birds are then sold in stores as pets. In fact, birds now represent the largest group of captive wild animals living in homes across the United States.
Unfortunately, there is still a high demand for pet birds, so suppliers resort to these bird mills to meet this demand. By purchasing a parrot, you may be indirectly supporting the illegal pet trade.
Those that are not bought are likely to become abandoned. They are unable to return to the wild, and so have nowhere to go.