Photo by David Location: Coney Island, NY Baby bird: Blue and gold macaw "Coco"
For my friend Gary, I am bird sitting a baby blue and gold macaw named Coco for a couple months. Coco is super sweet, as all baby birds are, and watching her for my friend is making me really realize where people can go wrong with their own baby birds.
For whatever reason, we often "tip toe" around baby-anything whether they're human babies or animals. I was rehearsing inside the tent with my friend Bobby (a new mom) and her baby boy Yanni was nearby in his strolled sleeping. I came out all excited and hugged Bobby and was talking loudly and being super excited. Then I realized Yanni was sleeping and I covered my mouth quickly and whispered, "Sorry... I didn't realize..." Bobby spoke normally and said, "No, no, don't worry... he's fine. We don't quiet down for him so he knows how to sleep through noise."
It made me think a bit... if you DID quiet down and that was the only way your baby could sleep, you'd be in big trouble! Coco has been living outside most of the time (weather permitting) and she was bred outside on a freeflight based breeding program in Florida so it was nothing shocking to her. My views on keeping parrots outside is very strong but we won't tap into that for now...
Anyway, the circus people around us have been walking up calmly to Coco and talking to her gently. When she vocalizes back they say, "Oh no, are you upset?" when really she's just experimenting with her voice and talking to us like we're talking to her. She also began getting pretty loud whenever I would come around and mostly when I would leave. I'm recognizing how most owners would try to sneak away, or cover the bird and then leave, or come back to make sure everything is alright. Teaching the bird at a SUPER young age that screaming is the answer for everything.
So it's not always good to baby your baby bird. You want them to grow as much as possible, and avoid teaching bad behaviors (such as screaming for attention) as much as you can. Realize where you might be doing these things and put an end to it if you can.
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.