Photo by Dave Location: Spokane, WA Pictured: African Grey "Cressi", Galah "Bandit" & Macaw "Jinx"
Remember my "Bathing = Bonding" post about how I used the act of showering/bathing my birds to get them to be OK next to one another, even though outside of that environment they hated one another? Well, I decided to try that AGAIN... and it worked, again! This time, I did it with 3 birds; my galah Bandit (as seen in my other post), a blue throated macaw named Jinx and a Congo African Grey parrot named Cressi. And yes, I literally showered with three birds at a time... that was a feat of it's own! I was staying at a friend's house (her name is Barb) and luckily her shower had two places you could choose to sit. The spaces were rather large and accomodating - making it easy for me to hold one bird and place the other two opposite of one another. Again, like before, all the birds were calm and focusing on enjoying their misty showers. I brought them out together in the space in the photo which was a granite top bar with stools.
Photo by Jamieleigh Location: Spokane, WA Pictured: Congo African Grey "Cressi" & Blue Throat Macaw "Jinx"
Cressi and Jinx are very much "shoulder birds" while Bandit never stops moving and going, going, going. So, I allowed Cressi on my shoulder first as I knew she would be the "less dominant" bird (meaning, she wouldn't care if another bird were to share my back/other shoulder with her). I kept Bandit by my arms and on/near the bar and eventually after a few minutes, allowed Jinx up on my shoulder. He was a little nervous about sharing the space with Cressi but once he realized she didn't care, he decided he didn't care either. It's good to have a mellow bird around a high strung one so it can mellow the tense one out - vibes are felt by both people and animals. Just like when training cheetahs (who are naturally skittish) they use a golden retriever (a breed who is normally naturally calm). This is a form of "observational learning". I successfully was able to hang out there for a long time chatting away with friends and just hanging out alone with the birds as well - and everyone was getting along great! There was no fighting whatsoever, and no flying either (ya know that fight or flight stuff) but since it was too much effort to fly wet and everyone was mellow from getting along in the shower anyway, it worked out wonderfully.
Photo by Dave Location: Page, AZ Freeflying parrots: Galah "Bandit" & Macaw "Jinx"
I can now have all three parrots out at once no matter what environment I'm in, including them all flying outside together! My goal was not to have them share a cage as I'd never dream of putting a small cockatoo or African Grey with a macaw (of any size) but was to just be able to have them all out at once without worrying about tempers flaring. The more and more I practice this type of behavior with my birds, the better they will get with one another. You can use things like the shower to calm down your own bird just on its own or even quiet him down.
Article by Jamieleigh Womach. She has been working with parrots and toucans since the age of 17. She isn’t homeless but is home less than she prefers to be. She travels the world with her husband, daughter, and a flockful of parrots whom she shares the stage with.