When you go to the BirdTricks Facebook page you see a whole lotta cute going on! Everyone posts adorable pictures of their birds and shares stories of their antics and accomplishments. It’s hard to not have a big grin on your face as you roam from post to post.
Then there’s BirdTrick’s YouTube where the Womach’s upload their videos of their own birds. Two big favorites are Bandit and Bondi, their rosebrested cockatoos, or galahs, as they are called in some parts of the world.
Bandit is a video star with his high energy personality and his sweet voice – blowing kisses and hiding under the sofa pillows. Bondi is not as much one to take advantage of photo ops, but she is one of the sweetest natured birds I have ever met. In person, she will charm you right into submission. People tend to get starry-eyed in her presence.
It could be said that both are ambassadors for their species as the Womachs use them to demonstrate how wonderful life with your birds could and should be. I worry, though, how many people have felt inspired to search out a breeder to get their own Bandit or Bondi to love.
I worry because I know that when they find one, they will not get Bandit or Bondi. The bird they bring home will have its own personality, its own preferences and its own quirks. It may talk, or it may not. It will be who it is, no matter how much you try to mold it into what you are looking for in a bird. This is true of ALL species.
Bandit and Bondi’s personalities are the culmination of two factors: 1) they are individuals (first and foremost), and 2) they are shaped by the Womach’s great work with them, the environment they provide and their lifestyle.
I firmly believe that you get out of a bird what you put into it. The more time and effort you expend on your bird, the more confidently it will interact with you and the brighter it’s natural personality will shine through. You must remember, though, that YOUR bird may be shy and reserved and less interactive by nature and not outgoing like Bandit or a people loving bird like Bondi. It will be exactly who it is – nothing more, nothing less.
It is true that we can look to the textbooks for information on what behaviors are typical for the species of bird we are considering bringing into our homes. We absolutely SHOULD do that. However, while behavioral propensities can be projected to a degree, personalities cannot. Don’t have the unfair expectation that your baby senegal will grow up to be like your friend’s senegal. It can lead to disappointment and cause problems in the relationship. Your bird can ony be what it is and it is unreasonable for us to expect anything more.
Author Patty Jourgensen specializes in avian health, behavior and nutrition and has been working with and caring for rescue birds since 1987.