The holidays are a hectic time of year for everyone. Between work schedules, office parties and friends and family there is little time leftover to enjoy the company of your feathered kids. Parrots are people too, though, and it is important that we not exclude them from the festivities.
Christmas morning can be an especially fun time for your birds. Nothing inspires play in my birds quite like the sound of ripping paper. When the family goes about opening their presents, something that parrots happen to be very good at, by the way, out comes the leftover rolls of wrapping paper for the birds to enjoy. They can unroll, tug and tear to their hearts delight.
My umbrella cockatoo, Linus, will push the empty tube around the floor with his beak until he decides it has had too much fun and needs to be destroyed. Theo, my goffins cockatoo, peeks through the tube to see what’s on the other side. I have a friend with a dozen budgies who all line up to take turns running through the tube. He has told me that, without fail, three of his birds, always the same three, crawl into the tube and flatly refuse to come out.
Sometimes we build forts out of long sheets of paper by draping it over the chairs and furniture. And every now and again, a bird might find himself rolled up in a sheet of paper, which he has to claw and bite his way out of to regain his freedom.
Wrapping paper from the presents is wadded into balls and tossed into the air for a quick ball game. Empty boxes from the gifts are used as shreddable toy boxes for days and weeks to come.
It’s the simple things that seem to impress our birds the most, and there are just so many ways to impress your parrot on Christmas morning. I don’t even mind cleaning up afterward because making the mess was so much fun. I am usually still finding little reminders of the holidays under the furniture in May.
Author Patty Jourgensen specializes in avian health, behavior and nutrition and has been working with and caring for rescue birds since 1987.