Intro, and need some advice

Botsari

Member
Nov 1, 2022
17
38
Parrots
African Greys
Hi, I'm Marko. New member of the site as of today. I’m a Grey Parrot veteran of something like 54 bird-years.

I recently lost my going on 27 year old CAG. When I got him he was still only half weened, and needed some formula for several weeks. My other grey is a male TAG, 28, that I've also had since he was a baby. I have always bragged about how healthy my birds have been over all these years. But my congo started suffering from a mysterious problem a few month ago that got worse fast, and that none of the vets as I moved up the chain could ever definitively diagnose or effectively treat until a CT-scan finally revealed some growing lesions on his lungs and into his spine. It was very hard to let him go - he was really a once in a lifetime bird, very gentle and gregarious.

I wanted to do an intro here, but I also have been struggling with some issues and had two questions I wanted to ask people that may have some related experiences. I will say that I'm strongly in the camp that believes that birds have a birthright to be as much an actual *bird* as we can allow given personal resources, space and so on. It is wonderful that they respond to us so well socially, but I don't think I could bear to have one that did not also get to socialize with another bird ... let alone leave my other bird who just spent the last 27 years with a deep bond to his friend go without true avian social interaction. Now that a little of the extreme grief has passed I'm dealing with the obvious issue - I feel like I have obligation to my remaining bird to offer him some avian companionship, and not just me all the time. He is well brought up and quite gregarious, so even though he is mature I feel he will likely adjust well to a new bird. So I want to get another parrot - for him especially. That is the working plan, at least.

The two question I have relating to this quandary are, (1) Does anybody have experience with this type of situation, and do they have any advice? and (2) What is the deal with all these fraudulent websites, and can anyone recommend a legitimate breeder? Let me elaborate a bit below.

(1) At first I was thinking I should get a shorter-lived species that he might enjoy interacting with. Also I felt like it was impossible to replace my lost bird. But being realistic, short of another tragedy, I'm still just as likely to need to make arrangements in my will for my current bird 28 year old bird - next year I will turn 60. So presently the idea that there is even an option of getting out of a lifetime commitment really seems fundamentally out. So my thinking has evolved to the point that the idea of getting the (most likely) BEST bird for my situation and going all in now seems like the correct thing. I was especially wondering if there are people on the site that have had similar experiences. How did you deal with the issue? How did you patch of the hole in the social fabric left by a lot bird? Do you have any advice to share on the matter?

I have sort of come to the conclusion that the "best" would probably be another Grey. I like the idea of adoption since there are a lot of birds out there that need a new home. But I'm very worried about the challenges of getting two older birds to adapt to each other. I feel like another hand fed baby might be best. Since it really IS going to be a lifetime commitment shouldn't I just maximize the likelihood all around net happiness of the birds? But honestly my thoughts on the matter are still careening with my still raw emotions. Any thoughts?

(2) I've tried looking in the past few weeks online (where else does one start these days) but my heart still aches a bit doing this, so it has been in fits and starts. At the time I got my oldest grey a long time ago I was an very early adopter of using the web with "Mosaic" (precursor to google) at the national lab where I worked, but there really was no web as we know it today. But many or most of the hits I am getting now are very fishy seeming - so much for the big "improvement" to our lives. Even the top ones on the list seem like elaborate frauds - they carefully never mention what area they are in, often have pictures of "baby" greys with piercing yellow eyes, talk about how they are already talking at 4-6 months, and in some cases have cut and pasted the same description of each bird's "personality". In short, pure BS in many cases. I have many decades of experience with my birds, but haven't any idea where to start looking. Of course I would prefer to do a pickup. I live near Santa Cruz, California so the entire US West Coast and a good bit inland would be "easy" for me. Does anyone have advice or prior experiences they could offer on this?

In addition to the specific stuff. I really AM interested in hearing how other people have dealt with similar issues, and if they have any advice, or if there were any mistakes you learned from. It is a first time for me, loosing such a long time companion, and in addition to working through my feelings I'm having a really hard time figuring out the "best" thing to do. Anyway, already TMI for this round. Probably may need to move to a more specific sub-forum next time. Anyway, thanks for listening.
 

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LeeC

Supporting Member
Jun 5, 2019
323
Media
3
369
Harrisburg, PA
Parrots
Timneh: Grady;
Senegal: Charlie;
Sun Conure: Peaches (deceased)
Senegal: Georgia
Peach-fronted Conure: Milton (foster)
Brown-throated Conure: Pumpkin (foster)
Senegal: Fletcher
Senegal: Ivy
Hello, Marko. I appreciate you sharing your story. I am so sorry for your loss of your CAG companion of 27 years. I have a TAG that I adopted 3 1/2 years ago, from my local rescue, while he had an ongoing health issue. I was immediately taking him to avian vets far and wide. Quite an intro to life with my first parrot. (I was 47 at the time.) It took me over a year to find an avian vet with a CT machine. Avian vet care is challenging. Oh, it was that same vet that finally gave us a diagnosis. Around that time, my Sun Conure, who I had for a year, died. Even after just a year of companionship, it was rough. Plus, I had the Sun Conure's housemate, a Senegal (both were relinquished together). They had a close bond. My heart hurt for the parrot left without a pal.

I got the Senegal a Senegal. Most of my posts here mention same-species. I have seen so much magic with same-species being brought together, all adult parrots of varying ages. It can have a slow start, or a few challenges, but overall it is likely to go well. I would encourage you to get your TAG a TAG. I am still trying to find a TAG for my TAG. I am on board with "adopt don't shop", because there are so many relinquished parrots that need a home, or even those being sold as adults to be rehomed.

PetFinder.com is decent. There are a lot of rescues that list there. They have difficult requirements, such as living within an hour or two, so they can inspect your home, but some are doing video-call inspections now. Some will not let you adopt same-species, opposite-sex, because they have extreme views on the risk of breeding. I want a female TAG for my male TAG. I will not breed, period. That is not good enough for most rescues. So, I have a saved search on BirdsNow.com, too. I got a Senegal from Craigslist, but I have seen a lot of African Grey scammers on there. You have to be hyper-vigilant on all those sites.

You might want to look into a "Pet Trust". In a will, a parrot is property just like your TV or your toothbrush.

Playing parrot match-maker, even for same-sex "pals", can have some challenges, but it is actually a rewarding experience. It will teach you more about your current TAG, and yourself. :]

Oh, I appreciate your stance on letting a parrot be a parrot, as much as possible. I try to get all of mine (forever-homed here and fosters) a same-species companion (at least one), and my parrots all have large-room liberty or the-rest-of-the-house liberty, with lots of long, bark-on branches, whole, fresh foods, etc. I am not trying to be their best friend. I am trying to give them each other, safely.

Good luck with your search! Keep us posted, please.

Edit: I meant to mention that your photo is fantastic! :]
 

SailBoat

Supporting Member
Jul 10, 2015
16,428
6,753
Western, Michigan
Parrots
DYH Amazon
A heartfelt welcome to Parrot Forum. Very sorry for your loss. Have been there too many times and fully understand.

From your last time looking to now, the Parrot World has changes vastly and as you can see, not very safe for Humans or Parrots.

IMHO, you are not ready and need more time to grieve your loss. Remember that there are two of you grieving and assure that you are sharing with you grey.

NOTE: The common belief is that one should never get a Parrot for your Parrot as there are no assurances (regardless of age) that they will get along. Point being you could create even more pain.

Having a well developed Will is a reality and available now! We have a strongly developed Will designed to reward the excellent care of our Amazon. 99% of this is selecting the correct Human and providing financial support than supports that care. Remember that this is a specialized segment of the Law and one needs to search for an Attorney with the knowledge.

I hope that this helps.
Sending a Huge, Warm Amazon Feather Hug..
 

LeeC

Supporting Member
Jun 5, 2019
323
Media
3
369
Harrisburg, PA
Parrots
Timneh: Grady;
Senegal: Charlie;
Sun Conure: Peaches (deceased)
Senegal: Georgia
Peach-fronted Conure: Milton (foster)
Brown-throated Conure: Pumpkin (foster)
Senegal: Fletcher
Senegal: Ivy
NOTE: The common belief is that one should never get a Parrot for your Parrot as there are no assurances (regardless of age) that they will get along. Point being you could create even more pain.
We should strive to make that uncommon. Parrots' minds are designed to pair-bond, with same-species, opposite-sex at a young age, and stay bonded for life—while living their entire lives amongst many other same-species parrots. The real pain is being a lone parrot of the species. The joys I see all throughout the day with my four Senegals is quite convincing of the fact that they do so very much better in a group.

Weirdly, it is common for Budgies and Cockatiels to be kept in micro-flock or pairs. Why would it make sense to keep other parrot species isolated? Isolation prevents "even more pain"? How?

Having a well developed Will is a reality and available now! We have a strongly developed Will designed to reward the excellent care of our Amazon. 99% of this is selecting the correct Human and providing financial support than supports that care. Remember that this is a specialized segment of the Law and one needs to search for an Attorney with the knowledge.

I am no lawyer, but I have researched this. I have also read:

PETRIARCH(TM): The Complete Guide to Financial and Legal Planning for a Pet's Continued Care

and

Paw & Order: You Love Your Pet? Keep the Good Life Going with a Pet Trust

A will simply cannot provide for continuing care of a pet, by design of the nature of the legal document. A will transfers property from the deceased, executed on a particular day, well after the person died. What happens to the pet until the will is executed? When it is executed, the person named does not have to accept the pet, as it may not suit them at the time. If they accept the pet, they can do anything they wish with it. You have no say on how the pet is cared for in the will. Wills are not meant to accommodate that. Trusts are. If you leave money for the care of the animal in a will, the recipient gets a lump sum, and they can do with it as they please, with no legal obligation to spend it on the animal. Then, what if something happens to them, the person? Again, with a will, you have no say where your pet goes next or how it is cared for, or that the money transfers for its care. With a trust you can have a say.

Edit: As @SailBoat said, selecting your successor is a really big element. If you trust them enough with your precious companion parrots, after you are gone, do you really need legal documents at all? It is weirdly complex in that way. :]
 
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LeeC

Supporting Member
Jun 5, 2019
323
Media
3
369
Harrisburg, PA
Parrots
Timneh: Grady;
Senegal: Charlie;
Sun Conure: Peaches (deceased)
Senegal: Georgia
Peach-fronted Conure: Milton (foster)
Brown-throated Conure: Pumpkin (foster)
Senegal: Fletcher
Senegal: Ivy
Here is a good overview of a pet trust versus a will. (Both vay a bit by state.)

 

HeatherG

Well-known member
Apr 25, 2020
3,191
5,697
That’s a great photo!

I am sorry for your loss. I wonder if it would be good to give your remaining Grey a chance to be the ONLY BIRD. Maybe he would like that?
 

Cottonoid

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Parrot of the Month 🏆
Feb 20, 2022
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7,545
Welcome to ParrotForums, @Botsari 💚 and my condolences on the loss of your family member.

I volunteer at a parrot sanctuary where many of the birds who lose long time mates want absolutely nothing to do with the other same species parrots "available" to them. My favorite pair to visit are an Amazon and a Sun Conure BFFs :) The Amazon lives in the conure room instead of the Amazon room so he and his buddy can be together.

I've only known parrots through working in veterinary medicine until very recently, but so far what I've experienced myself is that every time I think I know what I should be doing for my parrot based on (xyz) he makes sure I take a step back and just listen to him.

I hope you know you have found a place here on the forum where the grieving process is honored and where we all understand the depth of emotion that happens for both human and parrot when we lose our family member. 💚
 
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ravvlet

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Jun 25, 2019
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Kirby - OWA, 33yrs old (2019-)
Sammy - YNA, 45 yrs old (2022-)
RIP Cricket - Cockatiel (2019-2022)
Welcome to the forums! I am so sorry it’s in such tough circumstances. Much love to you and your TAG, they’re lovely, wonderful and unique birds. It must be so hard for both of you right now.

Introducing a new bird to an established bird in your home is always a gamble. I have had success with a larger bird (OWA) & a smaller species (in our case, a cockatiel). They were best friends until unfortunately our ‘tiel passed away. We waited a few months before we tried to introduce him to another amazon (OWA are a bit few and far between here so we adopted a YNA who was in a tough spot) but both of them are in their 30s-40s and acclimated to being only birds, and have made it very clear that they prefer it that way; although they do enjoy calling to each other sometimes in the evenings.

If you do decide to adopt a second bird I would advise that you be prepared for the “worst case” - that they do not get along and you need to manage separately their interaction with you.

I have only had parrots again recently for the last 3 years and my experience is entirely with rehomed amazons and, once over 10 years ago, with a rehomed TAG I fostered in college. That TAG (named Jonah!) was an only bird and had grown up that way, so I can’t say wether or not your current parrot would prefer it.
 

LeeC

Supporting Member
Jun 5, 2019
323
Media
3
369
Harrisburg, PA
Parrots
Timneh: Grady;
Senegal: Charlie;
Sun Conure: Peaches (deceased)
Senegal: Georgia
Peach-fronted Conure: Milton (foster)
Brown-throated Conure: Pumpkin (foster)
Senegal: Fletcher
Senegal: Ivy
Wow—I am surprised, and very disheartened to hear people on this forum advocating a life of isolation for a captive parrot—no less a parrot who has known the joy of having a same-genus companion. The logic seems to be that match-making may not work out, or that's what most parrots want in their opinion. Captive parrots need to be coached on what to want sometimes, because captivity has done them a great disservice in many regards.

To the former, match-making can take time and effort; all of my parrots are worth the time and effort. Matchmaking is not complete black-or-white hit or miss. If you bring a lifelong-only-parrot to join yours, you already have an advantage with one parrot who knows how to interact with another parrot. They learn quickly from one another, as I'm sure you know. I have had this scenario as well as introducing two lifelong-only-parrots more than a few times. It is all about managing and supervising; that is what makes up parrot "keepers". It is not entirely up the two parrots, just like they don't get to choose to eat seeds for every meal. We bear responsibility and there are creative ways to get them acquainted. Any lifelong-clipped parrot can learn to fly. Any lifelong-lone parrot can learn to interact with another parrot. (My one Senegal wanted to kill all other parrots in my home and her prior home. She now adores two other Senegals.) Captive-bred parrots are still wild "at heart" (deep in their minds), meaning they are "wired" for companionship, same-species, and we can tap into that for them. I commend anyone who is willing to provide that for a captive parrot. I know the challenges well. I have also gotten off quite easy with some instant pals. Nothing is more enriching for a parrot than a same-species companion. Nothing even comes close.

Can you believe that Henry Ford, of all people, spoke of pairing same species parrot?! :]

Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.
— Henry Ford​
 

ravvlet

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Jun 25, 2019
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Seattle WA
Parrots
Kirby - OWA, 33yrs old (2019-)
Sammy - YNA, 45 yrs old (2022-)
RIP Cricket - Cockatiel (2019-2022)
I’m very glad that you’ve had success with your parrots! The wonderful thing about a community forum space is that we can all agree to disagree. I think it has become clear we need to do that here and let the OP decide what works best for them.

My opinions are based on personal experience and the advice of my vet, who has been board certified since 2003 & has been working with parrots since the early 90s, as well as conversations with local parrot rescue groups.

I’d offer caution also about stating that any parrot who has lost the ability to fly can regain it - in geriatric parrots who have pre-existing heart conditions, it is extremely important to ease them into exercising, as overstraining an already compromised cardiovascular system can end in heartache and disaster. Again, this is the group I have almost all of my experience with - elderly parrots who were formerly clipped or cage bound.

It’s certainly worthwhile to work with your veterinarian to encourage your bird to fly or be more active if that’s possible for them, but is something I would urge to do with supervision, especially in the case of a rescue or older bird. Kirby for example has tachycardia and atherosclerosis and came to us with a very brutal clip. He’s grown his feathers back out since, and will make short hops or glides around the room, but it’s obvious that it’s extremely taxing for him - a lot of the damage is irreversible at this point and is managed by medication and diet.

If OP does decide to adopt an older parrot, the I Love Amazons! Thread has a great section on re-fledging an adult parrot that considers these factors!


OP, I hope you’re finding this information informative and useful, and we look forward to seeing you and your TAG around.
 
OP
B

Botsari

Member
Nov 1, 2022
17
38
Parrots
African Greys
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  • #11
Hello, Marko. I appreciate you sharing your story. I am so sorry for your loss of your CAG companion of 27 years. I have a TAG that I adopted 3 1/2 years ago, from my local rescue, while he had an ongoing health issue. I was immediately taking him to avian vets far and wide. Quite an intro to life with my first parrot. (I was 47 at the time.) It took me over a year to find an avian vet with a CT machine. Avian vet care is challenging. Oh, it was that same vet that finally gave us a diagnosis. Around that time, my Sun Conure, who I had for a year, died. Even after just a year of companionship, it was rough. Plus, I had the Sun Conure's housemate, a Senegal (both were relinquished together). They had a close bond. My heart hurt for the parrot left without a pal.

I got the Senegal a Senegal. Most of my posts here mention same-species. I have seen so much magic with same-species being brought together, all adult parrots of varying ages. It can have a slow start, or a few challenges, but overall it is likely to go well. I would encourage you to get your TAG a TAG. I am still trying to find a TAG for my TAG. I am on board with "adopt don't shop", because there are so many relinquished parrots that need a home, or even those being sold as adults to be rehomed.

PetFinder.com is decent. There are a lot of rescues that list there. They have difficult requirements, such as living within an hour or two, so they can inspect your home, but some are doing video-call inspections now. Some will not let you adopt same-species, opposite-sex, because they have extreme views on the risk of breeding. I want a female TAG for my male TAG. I will not breed, period. That is not good enough for most rescues. So, I have a saved search on BirdsNow.com, too. I got a Senegal from Craigslist, but I have seen a lot of African Grey scammers on there. You have to be hyper-vigilant on all those sites.

You might want to look into a "Pet Trust". In a will, a parrot is property just like your TV or your toothbrush.

Playing parrot match-maker, even for same-sex "pals", can have some challenges, but it is actually a rewarding experience. It will teach you more about your current TAG, and yourself. :]

Oh, I appreciate your stance on letting a parrot be a parrot, as much as possible. I try to get all of mine (forever-homed here and fosters) a same-species companion (at least one), and my parrots all have large-room liberty or the-rest-of-the-house liberty, with lots of long, bark-on branches, whole, fresh foods, etc. I am not trying to be their best friend. I am trying to give them each other, safely.

Good luck with your search! Keep us posted, please.

Edit: I meant to mention that your photo is fantastic! :

Yes, I wish the photo had been in better focus. They liked to climb up on the empty bookshelves, which although open are about the size of breeding boxes. They were both males but did spend a awful lot of time shredding the telephone books I left up there into very neat, consistent confetti.
 
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OP
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Botsari

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Nov 1, 2022
17
38
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African Greys
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That’s a great photo!

I am sorry for your loss. I wonder if it would be good to give your remaining Grey a chance to be the ONLY BIRD. Maybe he would like that?

Possibly, but he is not acting particularly happy about it. He is definitely not getting in as much "trouble" without a friend, and he always seemed to be the bold one. But I think being the "only bird" is likely one of the main reasons for so many maladjusted - sometimes bordering on psycho - older birds.

Like I said above, I'm in the school of "birds need to be allowed to be birds, first and foremost". It is bad enough in my view for domesticated animals like dogs that have had tens of thousands of years genetic adaptation to life with humans to be treated like they are little humans. But Parrots are essentially wild animals that just happened to be intelligent and adaptable enough to interface with us on some meaningful level. Satisfying bird instincts comes first in my book. Even if this means, as another poster stated, my personal relationship with any particular bird suffers. In my case a few years after my lost bird came into the picture he decided that his main squeeze was him, and he lost some "cuddliness" towards me. I was fine with it because he was just being a bird. This included the love triangle dynamics that he loved the other grey, who acted most of the time like he loved ME best, and he would be especially un-cuddly when he was a little bit jealous. So it goes.

I will say that after more than a month of being alone he offered me his head to scratch for the first time in 15 years, but this made me feel NOT happy for myself, but sad for him! I don't think anything about the situation screams "good" at the moment.
 
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OP
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Botsari

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Nov 1, 2022
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38
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African Greys
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Welcome to ParrotForums, @Botsari 💚 and my condolences on the loss of your family member.

I volunteer at a parrot sanctuary where many of the birds who lose long time mates want absolutely nothing to do with the other same species parrots "available" to them. My favorite pair to visit are an Amazon and a Sun Conure BFFs :) The Amazon lives in the conure room instead of the Amazon room so he and his buddy can be together.

I've only known parrots through working in veterinary medicine until very recently, but so far what I've experienced myself is that every time I think I know what I should be doing for my parrot based on (xyz) he makes sure I take a step back and just listen to him.

I hope you know you have found a place here on the forum where the grieving process is honored and where we all understand the depth of emotion that happens for both human and parrot when we lose our family member. 💚


I could see that. But mine were both males, so perhaps the extra bit of sexual pair bonding is not present. I would probably prefer another male CAG. But this is exactly why, in spite of my other inclinations, I'm inclined to get a baby or very young bird. It is bad enough to have one old, set-in-his-ways bird in the bargain. It was (and still is) one of the options to get him a smaller/younger/different type of companion thinking he might be happier with that than a "fake" copy of his old friend.

Too bad you can't rent birds for a trial road test, because I'd try out a conure with him in an instant.
 
OP
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Botsari

Member
Nov 1, 2022
17
38
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African Greys
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Welcome to the forums! I am so sorry it’s in such tough circumstances. Much love to you and your TAG, they’re lovely, wonderful and unique birds. It must be so hard for both of you right now.

Introducing a new bird to an established bird in your home is always a gamble. I have had success with a larger bird (OWA) & a smaller species (in our case, a cockatiel). They were best friends until unfortunately our ‘tiel passed away. We waited a few months before we tried to introduce him to another amazon (OWA are a bit few and far between here so we adopted a YNA who was in a tough spot) but both of them are in their 30s-40s and acclimated to being only birds, and have made it very clear that they prefer it that way; although they do enjoy calling to each other sometimes in the evenings.

If you do decide to adopt a second bird I would advise that you be prepared for the “worst case” - that they do not get along and you need to manage separately their interaction with you.

I have only had parrots again recently for the last 3 years and my experience is entirely with rehomed amazons and, once over 10 years ago, with a rehomed TAG I fostered in college. That TAG (named Jonah!) was an only bird and had grown up that way, so I can’t say wether or not your current parrot would prefer it.

I feel like (or maybe I just hope) that after 27+ years of his 28+ year life he may be highly adapted to being in a flock of two birds. So the flip side of the coin to what you mention is what has me concerned for him.
 
OP
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Botsari

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Nov 1, 2022
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38
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African Greys
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Wow—I am surprised, and very disheartened to hear people on this forum advocating a life of isolation for a captive parrot—no less a parrot who has known the joy of having a same-genus companion. The logic seems to be that match-making may not work out, or that's what most parrots want in their opinion. Captive parrots need to be coached on what to want sometimes, because captivity has done them a great disservice in many regards.

To the former, match-making can take time and effort; all of my parrots are worth the time and effort. Matchmaking is not complete black-or-white hit or miss. If you bring a lifelong-only-parrot to join yours, you already have an advantage with one parrot who knows how to interact with another parrot. They learn quickly from one another, as I'm sure you know. I have had this scenario as well as introducing two lifelong-only-parrots more than a few times. It is all about managing and supervising; that is what makes up parrot "keepers". It is not entirely up the two parrots, just like they don't get to choose to eat seeds for every meal. We bear responsibility and there are creative ways to get them acquainted. Any lifelong-clipped parrot can learn to fly. Any lifelong-lone parrot can learn to interact with another parrot. (My one Senegal wanted to kill all other parrots in my home and her prior home. She now adores two other Senegals.) Captive-bred parrots are still wild "at heart" (deep in their minds), meaning they are "wired" for companionship, same-species, and we can tap into that for them. I commend anyone who is willing to provide that for a captive parrot. I know the challenges well. I have also gotten off quite easy with some instant pals. Nothing is more enriching for a parrot than a same-species companion. Nothing even comes close.

Can you believe that Henry Ford, of all people, spoke of pairing same species parrot?! :]


— Henry Ford​

Yes, I think I agree. See my semi-scientific screed above. Animals can not WANT what they want. Ultimately, neither can we. Even domesticated animals with millennia of social selection by humans, I believe, still have needs that can not be fully met as a designated human substitute. Think about why, for example, many of us feel some kind of yearning when we see an open savanna type landscape. Still there after 10,000+ years of "self-domestication"! Birds in most cases have not even been domesticated for long enough for any significant genetic adaptation to life with humans. Our friends mostly go back to wild birds a very few generations back.

It is part of my nature I think to yearn, as Tolkien put it very well in an essay, for fellowship with the animals - but for the animals AS animals, not as human stand-ins. But I will admit the scientific arguments I bring to bear are mostly in service to a non-scientific feeling. I tend to be repulsed by the idea some people seem to have about this, as if it were not imaginable that an entirely different species would not have needs and desires not really fathomable by mere humans. But I tend to be less repulsed by the lap dog than the one who owns the lap. I feel the same as you implied in an earlier post - I'd rather figure out how to make them as happy as possible, when I have a choice, than figure out how to make them *settle* for just me. Ultimately the worry about not being able to provide this wars with the desire for animal fellowship.
 
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LeeC

Supporting Member
Jun 5, 2019
323
Media
3
369
Harrisburg, PA
Parrots
Timneh: Grady;
Senegal: Charlie;
Sun Conure: Peaches (deceased)
Senegal: Georgia
Peach-fronted Conure: Milton (foster)
Brown-throated Conure: Pumpkin (foster)
Senegal: Fletcher
Senegal: Ivy
I stumbled upon this just after my last post here. I kept meaning to come back and share it.

For those outside the U.S., the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) is one of the biggest pet-focused animal-rights groups in the U.S. I discovered that they have a "position statement" on keeping parrots as pets.

...with complex care requirements that include the opportunity to fly, climb and exercise; social and mental stimulation; at least one bird companion, ...

Position Statement on Birds as Pets

So, I think they are saying it is cruel to keep a lone parrot. That is an interesting position.
 
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Botsari

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I stumbled upon this just after my last post here. I kept meaning to come back and share it.

For those outside the U.S., the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) is one of the biggest pet-focused animal-rights groups in the U.S. I discovered that they have a "position statement" on keeping parrots as pets.



Position Statement on Birds as Pets

So, I think they are saying it is cruel to keep a lone parrot. That is an interesting position.

Yes. I personally feel even the IDEA that a parrot could be completely satisfied with ONLY a human as a companion is anthropomorphism gone a step too far. I'm not saying that they are in every case suffering, I just don't know why anyone would assume humans could ever completely fulfill all their (hardcoded) social needs. Also, I'm not saying everyone can or should go out and find a companion for their bird, just that at the very least if your bird has not interacted with another bird in years (or ever) then it should occur to you that that has been at a minimum a deprivation, if not a possible potential source of psychological issues.

Of course the same can be said of keeping them in captivity - there is no purist position.
 
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LeeC

Supporting Member
Jun 5, 2019
323
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Parrots
Timneh: Grady;
Senegal: Charlie;
Sun Conure: Peaches (deceased)
Senegal: Georgia
Peach-fronted Conure: Milton (foster)
Brown-throated Conure: Pumpkin (foster)
Senegal: Fletcher
Senegal: Ivy
I personally feel even the IDEA that a parrot could be completely satisfied with ONLY a human as a companion is anthropomorphism gone a step too far. I
Wow, that is a fascinating, and helpful, way of looking at it, @Botsari. You have impacted my thinking, and I thank you.

I never had a pet, until I got my first parrot. I already wanted a same-species, opposite-sex companion for him the day I adopted him. It just seemed "right". The rescue owner was certain that was a bad idea. Soon after, I got this book:
1668529787534.png

In it, Dr. Perry asserts that a same-species, opposite-sex companion is a right. I agree; I also understand that most parrot keepers haven't thought about it that way. It's bad enough we have them in captivity, but to force them to be alone (at lease species wise) and celibate is quite radical, yet normal.

Rather than debating whether it is cruel to keep a lone parrot, I prefer to think of it as being loving to keep them in at least same-species pairs. Sure, it has challenges, but so does keeping them alone. They need more attention and interaction than I could ever give them, so, I give a parrot a parrot—or two, okay three. :] Four Senegals is not as bad as it may sound.

I had the pleasure of corresponding with Dr. Perry before he passed away. He has some very interesting content on YouTube, too. His "Poop" book is a must-have.
 

LeeC

Supporting Member
Jun 5, 2019
323
Media
3
369
Harrisburg, PA
Parrots
Timneh: Grady;
Senegal: Charlie;
Sun Conure: Peaches (deceased)
Senegal: Georgia
Peach-fronted Conure: Milton (foster)
Brown-throated Conure: Pumpkin (foster)
Senegal: Fletcher
Senegal: Ivy
Yes, I think I agree. See my semi-scientific screed above. Animals can not WANT what they want. Ultimately, neither can we. Even domesticated animals with millennia of social selection by humans, I believe, still have needs that can not be fully met as a designated human substitute. Think about why, for example, many of us feel some kind of yearning when we see an open savanna type landscape. Still there after 10,000+ years of "self-domestication"! Birds in most cases have not even been domesticated for long enough for any significant genetic adaptation to life with humans. Our friends mostly go back to wild birds a very few generations back.

It is part of my nature I think to yearn, as Tolkien put it very well in an essay, for fellowship with the animals - but for the animals AS animals, not as human stand-ins. But I will admit the scientific arguments I bring to bear are mostly in service to a non-scientific feeling. I tend to be repulsed by the idea some people seem to have about this, as if it were not imaginable that an entirely different species would not have needs and desires not really fathomable by mere humans. But I tend to be less repulsed by the lap dog than the one who owns the lap. I feel the same as you implied in an earlier post - I'd rather figure out how to make them as happy as possible, when I have a choice, than figure out how to make them *settle* for just me. Ultimately the worry about not being able to provide this wars with the desire for animal fellowship.
Great insights.

I quickly fell into "I'll keep you safe, feed you, and clean up after you" while you "be a bird" as much as possible in my house. Of course, they all still want my attention, because they were well into adulthood, having been kept as "pets" before I got them. My challenge is often weaning them "off" of me, and getting them to interact more with each other. I've learned that time takes care of both pretty well, and the time varies widely with each parrot.

I am okay with them wanting to land on me or step up when I come by. I just want to be secondary to the parrot I got for each. :]
 

LeeC

Supporting Member
Jun 5, 2019
323
Media
3
369
Harrisburg, PA
Parrots
Timneh: Grady;
Senegal: Charlie;
Sun Conure: Peaches (deceased)
Senegal: Georgia
Peach-fronted Conure: Milton (foster)
Brown-throated Conure: Pumpkin (foster)
Senegal: Fletcher
Senegal: Ivy
But this is exactly why, in spite of my other inclinations, I'm inclined to get a baby or very young bird. It is bad enough to have one old, set-in-his-ways bird in the bargain. It was (and still is) one of the options to get him a smaller/younger/different type of companion thinking he might be happier with that than a "fake" copy of his old friend.
They do sometimes lose their bonded mate in Nature. What happens next? Does that Timneh go get a Conure? Does he go befriend a same-species baby? I would think they go make a new, adult friend, which is not thought of as a fake copy of the mate they lost. It is a new beginning, forced upon them. Presumably all this happens within the flock, which is quite a head start.
 

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