Researching parrots is such a whirlwind of different PoVs

MoonToon

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TL;DR version is " There's a whole lot of info swirling around about bird species. Would love to hear from people about the behavior of IRN/ GCC/ Cockatiels/ Amazons/ Sun Conures. What have been your experiences with breeders/ rehomes/ adoptions?

Just came across this forum recently in my search for researching info on this lil dinos for both my mother and I in the future. And BOY is there a lot of different stances and conflicting views out there. Amazes me that smart people take on this journey now that we have the web and I see so many different takes.

For example, just trying to figure out with species you want your feathered family member to be is MASSIVE. Unlike dogs, they're not "breeds" in the way that you could have a bird that takes the appearance of this and mixes it with the general disposition of that. But much like dog breeds, they all are known for certain behaviors, even if every member is an individual who has their own personality. And on top of that, they're heckin SMART and emotionally complex beings.
And on top of THAT, it's confusing on how you could have 2 at the same time. Some are ok with being with a different species of bird, but that seems to be generally not recommended. So if you pick a species, unless you have a huge home, you maaay want to stick to that species for any future 2nd from what I hear. Then you have to make sure they're sexed right if you want to avoid the problems of becoming a back-alley breeder and wrecking your bond and progress in taming either when they bond to each other as mates.

Watching vids about XZY parrots can be all types of confusing because of this. Like Tuber A can have 12+ birds in her flock (as she lives in a mansion) and say "Don't let the tik toks and youtube vids fool you, those are the exception to the rule. IRN is NOT cuddly. At best, they're a hands off bird ... nastiest one I have in my flock is the female IRN" followed by many comments in the comment section combating that by saying how sweet theirs are. I'd expect the people with tons of different birds to have the best knowledge on how each type is different, as they have the most experience with different birds to compare them to, so I was confused.
But then I watched a vid of a woman with tons of birds unfortunately getting a nasty bite to her face because she was being too reckless with an Amazon Parrot play date. Her commenting on that bite opened my eyes a bit on why there seems to be such a difference in opinion on SOME birds compared to "Bird Reviewers" with 22 birds or who just barrow a bird for a vid. She said something along the lines of "the more birds you have, the less tame they will be and the less they will bond with you. There's only so much of you that you can give, most will just bond with the other birds more".
Makes a ton of sense to me in that contest, whereas someone with 10 breeds of dogs can have a good understanding of how different they each of them are.

Then there's the question of how you get them. Rescue/ Rehome/ Breeders. I've had dogs from each of these paths.
Rescued pup that was a Black Lab ... she was sweet before we took her home. Right away was a nasty biter, only listened to my dad and died of some kinda illness 2-3 months post adoption. Dad went to give them a piece of his mind and apparently the other 4 pups from the litter she was in also died in that time with the same symptoms. Told a friend this a year ago, and she protested my decision to not trust adoption agencies again. Told her I understand her view that this was a rare situation, and it prob is a very rare case, but I stand by my decision to not trust "rescue orgs" again. That's with dogs, animals these types should know far more about. Just glancing at the bird rescues sites shows bios that list a ton of problems that may not be able to be overcome to a newish person (Like sad stories about birds that end with "Missy really prefers women/ men/ Blonds ... " giving you a clear hint that this bird will be a hard time unless you check off these boxes because of any number of events from their past.)

Got a Rehome dog and Breeder dog, and they were both healthy sweethearts. Knew the breeder (he was family) and the rehome was a mutt from a friend of my mother who told her exactly why she needed a new home (Nothing behavioral, kids just didn't want to take care of her).

Those paths ALSO seem to have problems with birds. Rehoming seems like a mixed bag, as it seems many don't know how to take care of these dinos and may have given them massive life long issues from trauma or shorter life spans from trash diets ("African Grey after a month at her 4th home dies at the age of 3yrs old. Autopsy shows a liver problem killed her ... because even though the 4th home gave her a good diet, the others apparently didn't and she never got a vet check. Too lil too late"). If I personally knew someone with parrots, then that would be a different case, but any rehome I get will have to be from a rando online.

Breeders? Sooo many scummy stories! Not only does it seem super rare to find one depending on your area, but there's also the fact that parrots are species and not breeds. I say that because in most cases you can't "cross breed" different types of parrots to get a different color or pattern, seems like they have to rely on mutations.
Which brings up a list of problems when it seems like some people breed some birds for color mutations over what they should be breeding for ... health and temperament.
In my short time researching this, I ran into Cockatiels. Lutinos really grabbed my eye! Click on a vid about them and ... oh, they have genetic problems because of all the reckless inbreeding breeders did to jump on this mutation. From the bald spot to the smaller size to the sudden deaths to the stories of "My lutino can only fly up, not forward ..." or "Mine's legs became paralyzed a month after getting him/ mine seems to have a neurotic disorder ..." and so on. Not all are condemned to a fate like those, but there seems to be many breeders who only care about breeding mutations without caring about making a "pug syndrome" outta the bloodline for Budgies and Cockatiels.
I figured that if I were to ever add one to my family, I'd have to find a GOOD breeder who cares and maybe avoid mutations. But shockingly, it seems easier to find Lutinos than reg Cockatiels for me. That's prob not something to worry about for every type of bird, as there seems to definitely be more-and-less popular parrots, but I do feel wary about Cockatiels now.
Then there are the stories of breeders just rushing them out when they're still on formula, or forcing clipping on babies. Many seem to just want a fast buck and don't want to take the time to raise them to be ready to be homed. ... so there are lots of bad breeders to look out for.


So yeah, that's a whole rant to say that I will have to ask and search for a lot of questions on this forum. Would love to hear from people about the behavior traits of IRN/ GCC/ Cockatiels/ Amazons/ Sun Conures. (I know my mother is interested in the talking aspect + doesn't want a super small like budgies, and I know that's not a guaranteed trait unless they already speak before you get em. Leaning on recommending she get 2 IRNs and try to rehome if she really wants one that's interested in talking.)

What have been your experiences with breeders/ rehomes/ adoptions?
 

zERo

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Welcome to the forums!

While I understand how overwhelming decided on a parrot species can truly be, at least we’ve all been there!

I wanted to address your concern for purchasing a bird from a good breeder. A few things to ask before buying:
Are the babies abundance weaned? Meaning are they weaned when they choose to be rather than forced weaned.
What are the babies weaned onto? Solely seeds? The goal should be to find a breeder that weans their babies onto vegetables/pellets/fruits/seeds etc.
Are the babies clipped before fledging? Clipping a bird before fledging can greatly diminish their confidence, sometimes, for life.
Are the parents vet checked and disease free?
Ask if you can see the conditions the parents birds are kept in too.

Personally, I think you can find just as a lovely bird from a rehoming situation or a rescue.
Half of my flock are rescues.
The problem with choosing to get s rescue/rehome is that you don’t know their history which may be difficult.

I implore you to visit any local parrot rescue and volunteer to clean cages/feed/water birds etc.
This is a great way to observe/listen to screaming/get a feel for birds.

As far as the inbreeding that goes into getting various color mutations, unfortunately, it’s hard to avoid it. Even if you get a parrot that is the wild color, it could be a sibling to whatever color the breeder was trying to achieve.
While this inbreeding may have some effect on the birds lifespan, there’s not a lot we can do about it.

Concerning the species you listed, the best talkers are going to be the Amazon and the IRN, two very different birds.
The other species all can talk, but are generally harder to understand.

I have two of the species on your list so, I’ll try and sum them up!

I have three tiels, two of them are from poor homes. Both are not tame to the extent of being able to step up or be pet. The third, Ryuk, mate to the female of the first two I mentioned, will step up.
Now, if your bird is socialized while young, picking them up should be no problem, none of my tiels were.
They all whistle often, Ryuk being the loudest. They can be excellent mimics as far as making a tune goes!
Tiels let you know when they want space, usually via a well placed hiss!

I have one GCC, he came from a pet stores that has just a handful of locations. He was a biter to say it plainly, clipped of course, a quite skinny.
Two years later, I have to think hard about the when’s last time he bit me.
He’s quieter than the tiels, he says one word this far which is Birdie, and it’s very hard to understand to anyone but me.
He’s can be clingy but plays well by himself, better than my Quaker actually.

I’m not so sure I’d recommend an Amazon for a first bird, just because of their hormones. It’s not that Zons can’t be wonderful, they can just inflict more damage upon your hands if you make a mistake!
If your heart is set on an Amazon, I recommend you read the Amazon sub forum on here. It has a wonderfully informative thread on Amazon body language.

One more thing! Don’t be so quick to dismiss a budgie! They can become on of the best mimicks in the parrot world right under Greys! I also find them one of the most enjoyable species to watch, especially if you possess a pair of more of birds!

Ultimately, it’s your choice! Hopefully other who own the other species chime in and can help you on your quest to parronthood!
 

PrimorandMoxi

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Max (23yo) Blue and Gold Macaw,
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PRIMOR (8yo) Red Lored Amazon,
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Ours were rehomed to us.
I was like "these dumb people are going to give us a Parrot? Wait, what's a parrot?"
Little did I realize the initial cost of a bird is nothing compared to what you need to provide to give a bird a decent existence.

You can probably just read threads on this forum and learn everything you need to know about acquiring a parrot. But if you meet one that likes you that's half the battle.
 
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MoonToon

MoonToon

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Welcome to the forums!

As far as the inbreeding that goes into getting various color mutations, unfortunately, it’s hard to avoid it. Even if you get a parrot that is the wild color, it could be a sibling to whatever color the breeder was trying to achieve
Thanks! And yeah, that's true. Maybe, through careful research and finding breeders via reference, I will be able to pick someone breeding for health. I've noticed a number of pricey "stores" that promised their birds were weaned onto all those options and were hand fed and what not, but I'm always wary of shops.

But thanks for all the info! Didn't want to quote it all to keep this short.
 

Keet_Krazy

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That list contains a lot of vastly different species. Not everyone is able to understand each species nor will they like everyone. I think IRN get a bad rap for not being understood by people. They are very different to conure/macaws/cockatoos etc. lots of people who have them and understand them love them!
I have a Slaty-headed parakeet, which a similar species to IRNs, he's not tame or anything so I am not able to give a lot of personal experience. I love him anyway but understand he is very different to my galah (rose-breasted cockatoo)! All Asiatic parrots are not cuddly, they are indeed generally hands off birds. This is because they do not allopreen, physical contact even within their own species is limited.

Only one of my current parrots came directly from a breeder (the Slaty), two are from someone who gets the babies from the breeders to "tame" and then onsell, one is a petshop bird, and some just "fell into my lap" by random circumstances. My first budgies were rehomes.
I don't really have a lot of preference for how my birds come to me, I love rehoming when I can but I don't shy away from petshop birds. If I am going for a very specific bird I am content with a good breeder too.
 
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MoonToon

MoonToon

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That list contains a lot of vastly different species. Not everyone is able to understand each species nor will they like everyone. I think IRN get a bad rap for not being understood by people. They are very different to conure/macaws/cockatoos etc. lots of people who have them and understand them love them!
I have a Slaty-headed parakeet, which a similar species to IRNs, he's not tame or anything so I am not able to give a lot of personal experience. I love him anyway but understand he is very different to my galah (rose-breasted cockatoo)! All Asiatic parrots are not cuddly, they are indeed generally hands off birds. This is because they do not allopreen, physical contact even within their own species is limited.

Only one of my current parrots came directly from a breeder (the Slaty), two are from someone who gets the babies from the breeders to "tame" and then onsell, one is a petshop bird, and some just "fell into my lap" by random circumstances. My first budgies were rehomes.
I don't really have a lot of preference for how my birds come to me, I love rehoming when I can but I don't shy away from petshop birds. If I am going for a very specific bird I am content with a good breeder too.
Ohhh, that's the best explanation for why they're known as "not cuddly" that I've seen!
Not even sure what people mean by that at this point, given that binging some of the "BirdTricks" youtube page has basically hammered into my mind that "You shouldn't touch any part other than the head/ neck/ feet as you will trigger hormones regardless of the species!". Every person I see talking about their IRN has no problem with head/ neck scratching, it seems.

But yeah, I'm basically building a PDF UI presentation to present my mother on the traits-to-expect with all the birds I think line up with her desires. Guess I should add African Grey to the list, it's the one she was interested in after my shoddy run down of the few species I knew anything about before this week. Would def recommend she rehome a AG if she wants to go that way.
 

ravvlet

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Loads of Amazon people here. Amazons are easy to read but they’re fast, opinionated, and aren’t afraid to let you know (and quickly) when you’ve stepped out of line. This can be real off putting- couple that with hormone season antics and you’ve got a recipe for disaster for the uninitiated.

Some birds, like amazons, toos, and the like, will do better if you let them pick you. Our Amazon is an older guy and stepped up for me when he wouldn’t let anyone else get near him without biting. He’s my best bud now. It took four years to get to where we are at now. All birds take time.

African greys are a difficult bird also - they can be nervous or neurotic and like cockatoos are frequent pluckers. They need a lot of mental stimulation as they’re quite intelligent. As to if they’re cuddly or not, that seems more dependent on the individual than the species as a whole.

Babies are always cuddly - but they will go through puberty, and can become moody and want nothing to do with you! With an older bird, typically what you see is what you get. This can be good or bad.

Welcome to the forums!
 

Keet_Krazy

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Not even sure what people mean by that at this point, given that binging some of the "BirdTricks" youtube page has basically hammered into my mind that "You shouldn't touch any part other than the head/ neck/ feet as you will trigger hormones regardless of the species!". Every person I see talking about their IRN has no problem with head/ neck scratching, it seems.
I am not a fan of Birdtricks so this is a slightly biased reply, but I find it a bit hypocritical of them to say things like that. For Asiatic parrots petting on the head and neck can be very triggering (even some/most IRN owners are unaware of this), and I have seen videos of them (Birdtricks) proudly showing how they overcame this IRN's *natural* dislike (or fear, if you will) of hands. Again physical contact within Asiatic parrots is limited, generally to only their mate.
 

LoveOfallAnimals

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I think the reason you see so many conflicting opinions is the fact that each bird is an individual. While certain species are know to have certain traits, the bird you get may or may not follow that rule book. My suggest would be to narrow the search down more so by the size of the bird and the required diet for the bird. From there I would go to a bird store or rescue and play with the birds. I would allow the bird to choose you. My eclectus chose me and I have a bond with her like I have never had with any other bird.
 
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MoonToon

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I am not a fan of Birdtricks so this is a slightly biased reply, but I find it a bit hypocritical of them to say things like that. For Asiatic parrots petting on the head and neck can be very triggering (even some/most IRN owners are unaware of this), and I have seen videos of them (Birdtricks) proudly showing how they overcame this IRN's *natural* dislike (or fear, if you will) of hands. Again physical contact within Asiatic parrots is limited, generally to only their mate.
Why aren't you a fan of theirs?
Personally? I side-eye them being so willing to expose their child to the internet. I also noticed that they often times don't uphold the suggested petting areas.
I'll have to ask my mother what interactions she's looking for in her feathered friend. For which ever I pick for myself ... I simply thought "cuddly=less-likely-to-bite-you/ more tame" but if I can get a deep bond with a bird even without petting em like a tiny dog than that's fine by me.
 
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MoonToon

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I think the reason you see so many conflicting opinions is the fact that each bird is an individual. While certain species are know to have certain traits, the bird you get may or may not follow that rule book. My suggest would be to narrow the search down more so by the size of the bird and the required diet for the bird. From there I would go to a bird store or rescue and play with the birds. I would allow the bird to choose you. My eclectus chose me and I have a bond with her like I have never had with any other bird.
Seems like even the general expected traits of birds in the same size range differs greatly. For example, the topic of touching and petting.
Diet doesn't seem like that much of a concern for selection, seeing as no matter what, I'll have to buy food I don't normally buy if I want them to be healthy.
"Let the bird choose you" is a lovely thought, but I have a number of constraints to account for. I want to have 2 at some point, seems like it's generally not advised to mix species (both may like me but turn out to be a great danger to each other). I don't want to end up forced into being a back-alley-breeder, so if they're the same species, they will have to both be the same sex.
But I guess if I could be in a room with, say, all baby/ young Male IRNs and guarantee that I could go back to the same situation in 5-12 months later for a 2nd than that would be an ideal method.
 

texsize

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Speaking on my larger birds, Amazons and a CAG.
2 of my Amazons were rehomes/rescues.

My RLA was a rescue that chose me at first sight.
We had a great relationship though she had a tendency to bite without warning.

My second Amazon rescue is still a work in progress even after 5 years.
I can't say she chose us and her background is so uncertain she may never become a very friendly bird.

The mate of Luna (above mentioned rescue) Merlin, I bought at a bird fair from a breeder. His wings were clipped :mad: But based on how hard he was trying to fly I think he must have fledged before he was clipped. He was and is friendly and trained to step up. Rarely bites but does not like to be touched.

Our CAG Bella is a rescue along the lines of my RLA.
I bought her at a pet shop but the shop was selling her because the original owner no longer wanted her.
Bella chose us and stole our hearts from first sight.
We have had her since 2016 and she was quite young when we got her.
Since going through puberty I am no longer her favorite person, my wife is.
She is indeed neurotic and scared of new.
She is the most people friendly large bird in my flock.
My wife is her favorite but we can all pick her up and she is happy to ride on any shoulder that is going her way.

Overall the best experience with adopting a bird is to let the bird choose you.
If the bird is young it could change it's loyalty after it matures so you have to be prepared for that.
 

texsize

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I too have watched may a youtube parrot channel.
One of my favorites and the one that may help you the most is.
Parrot bliss.
This lady lives in Florida and has more than 22 species of parrots.
I generally agree with her viewpoint on how to care for them.
She goes over a lot of information on the plusses and minuses of the species she is familiar with.
 

Keet_Krazy

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Obsidian (M), Snowflake (F), Sunbeam (F), Emelia (F, English), Winston (M, English)
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Other:
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Why aren't you a fan of theirs?
Personally? I side-eye them being so willing to expose their child to the internet. I also noticed that they often times don't uphold the suggested petting areas.
I'll have to ask my mother what interactions she's looking for in her feathered friend. For which ever I pick for myself ... I simply thought "cuddly=less-likely-to-bite-you/ more tame" but if I can get a deep bond with a bird even without petting em like a tiny dog than that's fine by me.
We'd be here all day if I was to list all the reason why I am not a fan.
Isn't their motto "saving parrots one person at a time" or something? Only if you are willing/able to forked out hundreds of dollars for their consults, courses, feeding guides, toys etc. :rolleyes:
They have zero qualifications yet are charging people for behavioural/training consultations. I'd rather go with a reputable qualified parrot behaviorist, they are out there.
 
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MoonToon

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We'd be here all day if I was to list all the reason why I am not a fan.
Isn't their motto "saving parrots one person at a time" or something? Only if you are willing/able to forked out hundreds of dollars for their consults, courses, feeding guides, toys etc. :rolleyes:
They have zero qualifications yet are charging people for behavioural/training consultations. I'd rather go with a reputable qualified parrot behaviorist, they are out there.
Oh yeah, I think I've actually seen them reply to a comment under one of their vids just to lightly advertise their course/ training. Very money and fame driven people who seem to just have a lot of room/ money and experience going for them.
Also find it strange how the logo is a Cockatoo and her head, yet she apparently really doesn't like Cockatoos. That's kinda a sign of how branding focused they are.
Came across this vid of someone's journey to training his Cockatiel to Free Fly, and it pretty much made it clear that people don't need to pay them biggy bucks to learn how to train or tame a birdo to do what I feel is the ultimate "trick". It takes time and bonding, no rich person class or fancy bird food schedule from famed bird trainers is required.
 
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MoonToon

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I too have watched may a youtube parrot channel.
One of my favorites and the one that may help you the most is.
Parrot bliss.
This lady lives in Florida and has more than 22 species of parrots.
I generally agree with her viewpoint on how to care for them.
She goes over a lot of information on the plusses and minuses of the species she is familiar with.

Because of your suggestion, I did go back and rewatched her vid. She seems to concede that these super affectionate IRNs on YouTube are from people who did a great deal of training with them and spend a lot of time with them ... which was something I planned on doing regardless.
She does seem cool, thanks for the suggestion!
 

Keet_Krazy

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Budgies:
Obsidian (M), Snowflake (F), Sunbeam (F), Emelia (F, English), Winston (M, English)
Galah:
Quarter (Not DNA'd)
Other:
Quail and Chickens
Oh yeah, I think I've actually seen them reply to a comment under one of their vids just to lightly advertise their course/ training. Very money and fame driven people who seem to just have a lot of room/ money and experience going for them.
Also find it strange how the logo is a Cockatoo and her head, yet she apparently really doesn't like Cockatoos. That's kinda a sign of how branding focused they are.
Came across this vid of someone's journey to training his Cockatiel to Free Fly, and it pretty much made it clear that people don't need to pay them biggy bucks to learn how to train or tame a birdo to do what I feel is the ultimate "trick". It takes time and bonding, no rich person class or fancy bird food schedule from famed bird trainers is required.
Personally I do think free flight should be taught by someone experianced and knowledgeable, it'd be risky to do it yourself. If I remember correctly BT did some training with very knowledgable free flyers then went off and started teaching it to other people pretending to be highly knowledgeable about it.
 

wrench13

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Lots of great info given to you. I think the biggest and most 100% appliable statement is - Every Bird Is an Individual. You will find Amazons that never talk and never bite, IRNS that like to be touched, and just about every contradiction in the cannon of each species. And some will seem like they read the book on their species and refuse to deviate. And second most applicable statement, rephrased a bit is that they all require work, a lot of work, in order for each parrot to reach his or her full potential as a companion animal. Any dumb s**t can buy a parrot, cage it and feed it and never put any work into it, but that is a poor waste of money and is a total waste of an excellent mind. If I've learned nothing else about parrots it is that they as a whole are smart, very smart and have a full range of very human like emotions and feelings.
 

LoveOfallAnimals

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The only other thing I wanted to add is my thoughts on parrots is regardless of which species. Parrots are like children, you get out of them what you put into them.
 

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