Photo by Jamieleigh Location: Sandpoint, Idaho Holding: Baby Camelot Macaws "Tusa" and "Comet"
For the holidays I went to my parents' house. Now... my parents aren't really bird people. My mom had birds as a kid (lovebird, parakeet and cockatiel) and my dad had none. He's pretty intimidated by parrots in general, actually (more-so macaws).
So, since my Camelot Macaws are still young babies... it's very important to start socializing them now! And if your bird is scared of people, you need to still socialize them but at a much slower pace! For a timid bird, they need confidence building (which can be done through food finding toys) as well as slow progression. Just seeing other people is a good step for a timid bird or being in another room to hear the socialization of a party of people but not being thrown into the midst of them is good too because it's not so threatening.
Here are some tips for getting your bird to like other people:
- Introduce new people early on when your bird is still young (under one year is best)
- Use your parrot's favorite treat to get him to step up on new people
- Have friends, family, co-workers and kids feed your bird it's favorite treat
- If your bird is hand feeding, make sure more than one person is doing the hand feeding
- Let your parrot hear other people in the room and get used to voices and noises (laughing, coughing, sneezing, etc)
- Put your parrot's cage in a space that people use a lot or walk by often so it gets used to numerous people in the household
- Have other people cue your parrot to do certain tricks he loves
- Target train your bird to step up on new people
Those should at least give you some idea of where to start and maybe some of your own ideas of what will work best for your bird specifically. Some parrots, such as cockatoos, will be very excited by parties and groups of people while African Grey's might be more timid around many people (at least this has been my own personal experience).
My Camelot Macaws did really well being introduced to my mom and dad - my dad was more reluctant so most of my work was with my mom who was fearless of my cute babies! They actually got to the point where they were flying to her and willingly stepping up very easily after I put them on her maybe 2-3 times. That's all it took and that's why you want to start early on! Baby birds are much more imprintable than older birds with already developed phobias and habits.
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.