Photo by Jamieleigh Location: Savannah, GA Try reading this body language of: Congo African Grey Parrot "Cressi"
Look at the above photo of my parrot, Cressi. What do you see? What mood do you think she's in? Do you think she looks approachable? Really think about what you see here. It seems like it would be easy but this one may not be all you're thinking it is...
Cressi is actually, for lack of a better term, hot and bothered in this picture. She's super sexual. But a lot of her basic signs show signs that would signify being tired (droopy wings) or signs of being mellow (raised head feathers to indicate content) but this isn't the case at all. At this time, if I got closer to Cressi, she would puff up even more of her head and body feathers and droop the wings even lower and just mumbling, breathing heavier, and go into much more progressed signs of being a horny parrot. Because I really didn't want to take this mood of hers further, I didn't get those type of shots. Once you take the chance of getting your bird into that super charged hormonal state, you risk being not being able to get it back out for a while... (which I found much harder when working with Storm, the blue fronted amazon parrot than I did with Cressi.)
Photo by Dave Location: Fayetteville, NC Eyes pinned: Congo African Grey "Cressi"
Eye pinning is HUGE in the bird world. It can say so much. In this case with Cressi, she was merely curious about the camera and Dave, and in a playful/curious mood. But sometimes eye pinning can mean other things, especially in Amazon parrots. Be very aware when you see a bird's eyes pin... when Jinx does this type of thing, it means he's super excited and aware of his surroundings, and something can easily change when it comes to the bird's mood. It's also a great time to teach a bird a new word as they are definitely paying attention and are highly stimulated.
Photo by Dave Location: Fayetteville, NC Playing: Galah "Bondi"
Bondi has this almost naturally happy look about her. And I think every bird has a "natural" look. Suzy, an elephant I work with currently, has a naturally sad look about her even if she's happy and I find it so endearing. Luckily, Bondi is just adorable and this her norm. She is very happy in this picture though, and is enjoying the sunshine, being outside and playing. I know I've got nothing to worry about when I see her like this, and that she's just happy to be there. What's your bird's "natural" look? Does he/she smile like Bondi?
Photo by Dave Location: Fayetteville, NC Lookin' atcha: Blue throated macaw "Jinx"
What do you think Jinx looks like he's up to in this picture?
Well I can tell you right now it's nothing good. Seriously. This is not a good look. This is a look Dave sees from Jinx more than I do... it means he's gonna grab whatever he can and he's gonna hang onto it, and he's gonna be a brat about just about everything because he wants his way. This is a super playful look from Jinx, but it's not a good playful, it's a gonna-be-way-too-rough-with-you playful. How can I tell? It's all in the eyes and feathers. It's hard to explain looks in the eyes... but when the top part starts to frown down a bit, it's no good-a in my book! Also, the feathers on his head are flat and if they were lifted a bit, I would know he was going to be nice and be worried about applying a bit too much pressure during playing with me. But no feathers are raised to indicate this at all. Flat feathers don't make me happy.
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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.