YES! But they need good owners.
We have an African Grey named Rosie. She has a good vocabulary and will pick up obscure phrases from the T.V. Recently she has taken to asking “Are you OK?” repeatedly.
She calls the cat (by her name Samantha), sings her own name, and tells Kodi to “shut up.” Now that I think about it I don’t think she has every said “Buddy.”
On the, “Why do I have this bird?” side of the bird experience, are the times she gets stuck on a sound, ALWAYS an annoying sound — the beeping of a truck backing up, and what can only be compared to a hammering sound. This cacophony ususally occurs when I am on the phone or trying to meet a deadline.
Rosie has a nice big cage, but I still would like to expand it in the future. Letting her out unattended is not an option; with a corgi, a Jack Russel and a cat. It isn’t that any of them have shown any interest in hurting her (cat included, though she is a cat after all), but they like to play and that could have dire consequences.
I personally would not leave any bird out on its own in the house. If someone needs to come into your house, firefighter, paramedic, or heaven forbid someone breaks in, your bird may indeed—fly the coop.
Birds get bored. Birds like African grays who are very interactive with humans, need mental and physical exercise, or they will find their own.
Birds are often purchased, or in Rosie’s case adopted, put in pretty cages and forgotten. Birds, like most of us, need quality interaction.
As I write this I realize I could go for pages and pages, so I will break it down over the next couple entries.
5 things you should be doing with your parrot
1. Physically play with them. Start small, take your index finger and gently rub the top of the beak. If they start to bite slowly RAISE your finger away, do not jerk back. In time you will become more comfortable, the bird will relax and you can move onto scratching her head. You may find your bird “soft bites.” If the pressure increases say a firm (not loud) “no” and remove your finger.
2. Toys – We all like toys, especially new toys. Rotate the toys in their flight a couple at a time. Don’t redecorate the whole cage at once, too much newness!
3. Music – Rosie likes the Moving Art Series on Netflix. Background noise, nothing blaring.
4. A room with a view – When Rosie starts acting up I roll her flight over to the sliding glass door. This gives her more light and a different view. I always move her back to the same stop at the end of the day when it’s time for bed.
5. Food routine – I am the one that feeds Rosie, twice a day – 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. A straight seed diet is not healthy for them. Rosie is not a fan of pellets (I have tried introducing them) What she does absolutely love is scrambled eggs sprinkled on her seed in the morning. Other favorites are French cut green beans and fruit. My husband has a banana every morning for breakfast and some always makes it into Rosie’s talon and bowl.
About.com has a good list of easy to make bird treats http://abt.cm/2kwKM81
Not all food is good for birds. Check with your vet, a local bird group or petmd.com.
Introduce new food in small quantities to the existing diet, even if your bird is on a straight seed diet right now. Birds do not usually like new things in their bowls and may stop eating entirely. If they eat around the new food or drop it to the floor of their cage keep trying. You can also try letting the bird take new food from you hand.
WASH vegetables—even food labeled organic should be rinsed thoroughly with water and patted dry. I do not use any vegetable wash on food that will be going into Rosie’s bowl.
Tomorrow we can explore ways to keep your bird occupied and happy.