The Different Ways Parrots Play

I believe firmly (and from personal experience with MANY birds) that every bird is different and there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to keeping them. Which also makes it fun!   My military macaw plays HARD. And that is why he plays with Dave, and not me! Here is a video of Cash actually playing…  

Cash also loves playing hard with his toys. He goes through (I kid you not) about 20 toys per month. Luckily, the $50 toys that are about 3x the size of him last a couple days longer than the rest and are hilariously fun to watch him in (if you can find him!)   See if you can see him right away in this video of him playing in his cage at home in Orlando, Florida:  

Other than Cash, who is our hardest player, I have my newest baby addition named Bandit who is a young rose breasted cockatoo (galah) and probably the most fun to play with. He loves to roll! He rolls in the sheets or any type of cover and flips out squawking and having a grand ‘ol time! Sometimes he even gets so carried away he rolls himself right off the bed…  

I have watched that video a hundred times over, laughing hysterically each time at how cute he is and that was not the first, nor the last time, he did that either! Here is a picture of Bandit rolling, too. It's a little blurry because he never stops rolling!  

 Photo by Jamieleigh Location: Holland America Cruise Ship Stateroom Rolling Around in the Sheets: Galah "Bandit" 

Bondi, my older cockatoo will do something similar but not as playful or over the top as Bandit does it. Cressi, my African Grey parrot, loves to flip! She will be perching on my hand or Dave’s and will suddenly just flip herself forward and hang there talking and playing! She just loves it and when she really wants to do it, there is no getting her upright! She even began doing it on other surfaces such as at the batting cage on the net she was hanging upside down picture-perfectly for my photo…  

 Photo by Jamieleigh Location: Orlando, Florida Hanging Upside Down: Congo African Grey "Cressi"

My toucan, Fiji, loves playing tug-a-war with pretty much anything that belongs to you.   Every bird is different so finding out what your bird likes is essential to your bird’s mental stimulation so play around and figure it out. It is usually discovered by accident! I remember we were shocked the first time Cressi flipped upside down and we immediately thought she was mad at us for it or that we somehow caused it. With Bondi, she one day just rolled over on her back and then walked over to me and did it again. And Cash was a real shocker! We didn’t know he really liked playing rough until he kept coming back for more! They will tell you either way if you give them a chance and really get down and speak their language.

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.

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