Many of you have asked if we plan to socialize Rocko, our toco toucan, with our parrots (consisting of macaws and cockatoos and parakeets). Obviously, we won’t be letting Rocko get to know our parakeets. They are too small and toucans actually eat baby birds in the wild, along with lizards, small snakes, etc (in captivity they are given meal worms if they intend to breed and sometimes just as treats) so those little guys are out of the picture.
As for the macaws and medium sized parrots we have, here is a video that demonstrates what Rocko WOULD do if he got ahold of one of our parrots:
Toucans grab their prey in their large beak and shake it hard, sometimes smacking it against things, stepping on it with one foot and pulling it upwards apart, and really the mere shaking of their beak or jabbing can kill something small instantly.
Because a toucan can reach a parrot long before a parrot can reach a toucan, we just don’t feel the socializing of the two is safe, at least not for our parrots. Because Rocko can “reach” them before they can reach back, the only defense they have is flight and we’d hate to risk something going terribly wrong like broken wings, puncture jabs, poking or jabbing out of the eye… anything very serious can happen with the sort of force behind what a toucan has. And when it comes down to it, we just are not willing to risk that on our birds.
Right now we keep Rocko out with one or two, highly supervised. We always have food on hand or some sort of distraction and the birds are in a training mode so that we can get their attention away from each other if need be. We can’t ‘control’ everything our birds do so even keeping them out in the same space poses some threats but we don’t want to shelter them too much, we want them to know who each other is and be able to be out for say, a family photo in the near future?!
It doesn’t happen often, because it takes a lot of focus from Dave and I to be on top of body language.
But I wanted to share it nonetheless so everyone can have a “bird’s eye view”.