Adjusting to Parrot Behavior

When you bring a parrot into your family, some adjustments have to be made on both sides of the relationship. Parrots bred for pets are usually socialized by the breeders until sold to the permanent owner or to a pet store.

When the parrot is removed from its familiar surroundings, placed in a strange cage, brought to a strange home and surrounded by large strangers, the resulting parrot behavior is very logical even when it's hard to enjoy. Depending on the personality of the breed and of the individual parrot, the bird may become phobic, aggressive or just shy. It's the duty of the bird's new owner to help the bird correct its natural parrot behavior.

Who is the Pet?

Once the parrot understands that the new situation is at least somewhat permanent, it may try to adjust the surroundings to suits its own idea of normal. At the same time, the owner will be attempting to make the parrot conform to the household. Just as a human might cajole, punish or reward to change the behavior of a pet, a parrot can resort to the same type of behavior to get its new human pet trained.

Don't force yourself on the new parrot. If you frighten it, the normal parrot behavior is to bite. Biting isn't a normal behavior in the wild. When a parrot resorts to it, it usually is a message. Provide the parrot with its food, water and toys and it may learn to tolerate you. Talk to it and it will learn to like you. Before too long, you'll see affectionate parrot behavior because that is the natural way for a parrot to behave.

To make a parrot feel secure, place its cage in a corner or drape half the cage with a cloth so that it doesn't feel exposed on all four sides. Let it get used to the household by keeping the room containing the cage relatively quiet. Once it becomes used to you, you can bring the bird around to show it the objects in the house.

If approaching a strange object results in the parrot behavior of tensing or fluttering, stop approaching and back off if necessary to calm the bird. Return to a more familiar part of the room and try again the next day until the bird is comfortable with all the objects in the home. Making the parrot approach something it finds frightening will result in a parrot behavior that you won't enjoy.

Remember that it's just the parrot trying to train you to listen better. Once the two of you learn to work together, you won't have to decide which of you is the pet and which the master.