Struggling with guilt about owning my Mealy Amazon

MealyZon

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Jun 14, 2020
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Southern CA
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Mealy Amazon-Georgia & Senegal-Kramer
Hello all, I read a lot here but rarely post. I have been struggling with feelings of guilt over having a Mealy Amazon as a pet. I take good care of her, take her to an Avian vet for blood work & check ups. I admire her intelligence. She is handfed, so she doesn’t know what it’s like to be free. I absolutely adore her. What triggered these feelings happened the other day when I had her outside on my balcony perched on the back of a chair. There is a large flock of loud, raucous wild green parrots with red heads that occasion our palm trees. I totally love them!! They chatter constantly with occasional shrieks. As they flew away still chattering and calling to each other, my parrot began to call out to them. It was a different sound that what she usually makes. I knew what she was doing. I looked at her and said that I was so sorry she wasn’t free and that she couldn’t take off with them😔 I really struggle with this. On one level it seems cruel to keep intelligent creatures in cages & often keep their wings clipped so they’ll stick around for our enjoyment. Obviously I can’t just set her free, it’s unlikely she’d survive anyway. Ugh. I don’t know how to reconcile this in my heart.
Has anyone else had similar feelings? How did you reconcile with them?
 

cnyguy

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Apr 23, 2010
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Syracuse, NY
Parrots
Quaker parrot, Ralph; CAG, Scooter
Most of us have parrots that were bred in captivity and were always meant to be companion parrots. They were never meant to live in the wild and it's very doubtful that they would survive for long in the wild. On this and other forums I've read sad stories of escaped parrots caught by predators, run over by cars or simply never found again. As some philosopher or other once said, "You can't miss something you never had," so it's unlikely our parrots are envious of wild or naturalized birds.
Rather than feeling bad about keeping a companion parrot, concentrate on the fact that you give your parrot a good loving home, good companionship and nutritious food, and a good life in general. I've lived with parrots for over 50 years and that's always been my focus. :)
 

Cindylynn

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Apr 7, 2022
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"You become responsible, forever, for what you tame" is another good quote that reminds me of my responsibility to my critters. As long as your birds are happy, healthy and loved, I believe you should feel good about your pet. I wouldn't necessarily assume either that your bird wanted to fly off with them. He could have been enjoying watching them like you do. My macaw loves watching birds and bugs as he sits on our porch swing with me. He also loves going back inside!
 
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MealyZon

MealyZon

Member
Jun 14, 2020
7
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Southern CA
Parrots
Mealy Amazon-Georgia & Senegal-Kramer
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Thank you cnyguy and Cindylin for sharing your positive thoughts! You’re right; it’s “unlikely our parrots are envious of wild or naturalized birds” since they won’t miss what they never had and also that I shouldn’t assume (which I did!) “that my bird wanted to fly off with them. He could have been enjoying watching them like you (I) do.” I feel much better🤗 Thank you so much!
 

ravvlet

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Birds are social creatures just like we are. Perhaps frame it like you seeing a neighbor - you might holler hello across the street, but that doesn’t mean you want to move in with them!

It’s true that the lives we give companion parrots aren’t natural, but their natural lives are not all sunshine and rainbows. As your parrot isn’t acclimated to the wild it likely would not survive, so it’s best to focus your energy on making sure he or she has the most fulfilled life they can! :)
 

texsize

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Birds in the wild usually have a much shorter life expectancy than those in captivity.
So their is that too.

I wish I lived in an area of So Cal that the flock frequent.
Insteed I have two of my own Mexican red headed amazons.
they are just as noisy and playful as you mentioned.
On a side note my Yellow nape Amazon (much bigger bird like your mealy) doesn’t get along well with the red headed amazons.
 

SailBoat

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Jul 10, 2015
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DYH Amazon
And, your Mealy may just as likely been telling them Good Bye and stay clear of my place!!
As likely as your Amazon was greeting them, s/he could have been scolding them for entering his /her Kingdom! Although Amazons are known to live along side other Parrots, they do not accept any or all.

Our Amazon is Free Ranging within our home and is free to come and go as he pleases. It is important to note that he chooses to spend much of any day with us and will commonly seek us out or call to us as we are his flock.
 

Cottonoid

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I also wrestle with the ethics of keeping companion animals sometimes, so you're not alone in wondering about this.

I've shared my home with an African Ringneck for several months now, and while he loves talking to the songbirds outside in the morning, so far he's become most excited about singing back to my neighbor's bagpipes ;)

Just like me, he's finding his happiness in each day in the life he currently has, and it's ok that it's not ideal but it's pretty good ❤️
 

texsize

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Parrot of the Month 🏆
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2 GCA(Luna,Merlin) The Twins
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5 Cockatiels
A neighbor with bagpipes?
Boy I would rather have a neighbor with the noisiest macaw than listen to bagpipes.
that’s one of those insterments that sounds bad even when played correctly.:ROFLMAO:
 

SailBoat

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Jul 10, 2015
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Western, Michigan
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A neighbor with bagpipes?
Boy I would rather have a neighbor with the noisiest macaw than listen to bagpipes.
that’s one of those insterments that sounds bad even when played correctly.:ROFLMAO:

Have to disagree with you, just a bit, Wes, my friend, not because of your observation, but because of my Heritage. I have just enough of the Highlands that I have a requirement to at least tolerate said instrument. There is little in this World that sets the spine to quiver as the warming-up (so to speak) of bagpipes. Hurts so bad!!

And with his normal questionable taste, Julio loves to aaa, sing along!!
 

SailBoat

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I also wrestle with the ethics of keeping companion animals sometimes, so you're not alone in wondering about this.

I've shared my home with an African Ringneck for several months now, and while he loves talking to the songbirds outside in the morning, so far he's become most excited about singing back to my neighbor's bagpipes ;)

Just like me, he's finding his happiness in each day in the life he currently has, and it's ok that it's not ideal but it's pretty good ❤️

We have long ago stopped giving any consideration to the ethics of keeping a Companion Parrot. As all of our Amazons have come to us being considered as little more than 'Yesterdays Trash' by others. None had any want to ever Trust another Human and all had been ill and likely abused! With the singular goal of assuring that each Amazon knew that they were deeply loved allows zero room for such questions of the ethics of loving them.

That all said; Not putting those Humans out of their misery is my only regret.
 
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Cottonoid

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We have long ago stopped giving any consideration to the ethics of keeping a Companion Parrot. As all of our Amazons have come to us being considered as little more than 'Yesterdays Trash' by others. None had any want to ever Trust another Human and all had been ill and likely abused! With the singular goal of assuring that each Amazon knew that they were deeply loved allows zero room for such questions of the ethics of loving them.

That all said; Not putting those Humans out of their misery is my only regret.

I agree, I know without reservation that the lives my animals have with me is better than where they were before ❤️
 

Whistler

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Aug 10, 2022
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Congo African Grey, Meyers, English budgies, American budgie
Hello all, I read a lot here but rarely post. I have been struggling with feelings of guilt over having a Mealy Amazon as a pet.
I completely understand, and have the same feelings myself about my CAG, Thunder, especially. I bought him when he was still being handfed, 29 years ago. Since then (and joining him) I've had a series of English budgies and adopted a 10 year old Meyers 6 years ago. This of course is my opinion and my choice only, but I would never purchase a baby large parrot again. They are not domesticated like our dogs and cats; they're wild creatures who accommodate us. If only we could devote as much energy into preserving the habitats and environment of wild parrots, studying and understanding their social behavior. I'm visiting a rescue tomorrow to meet a possible new addition of a senior parrot who needs a home, but otherwise spending a lifetime with a captive bird - they are captive, even if they are out of their cages - seems unethical to me personally. Having said that, I'm glad to be part of this forum (I'm new) of people especially dedicated to the safety and welfare of their birds.
 

Dani08

New member
Nov 9, 2016
11
18
Hello all, I read a lot here but rarely post. I have been struggling with feelings of guilt over having a Mealy Amazon as a pet. I take good care of her, take her to an Avian vet for blood work & check ups. I admire her intelligence. She is handfed, so she doesn’t know what it’s like to be free. I absolutely adore her. What triggered these feelings happened the other day when I had her outside on my balcony perched on the back of a chair. There is a large flock of loud, raucous wild green parrots with red heads that occasion our palm trees. I totally love them!! They chatter constantly with occasional shrieks. As they flew away still chattering and calling to each other, my parrot began to call out to them. It was a different sound that what she usually makes. I knew what she was doing. I looked at her and said that I was so sorry she wasn’t free and that she couldn’t take off with them😔 I really struggle with this. On one level it seems cruel to keep intelligent creatures in cages & often keep their wings clipped so they’ll stick around for our enjoyment. Obviously I can’t just set her free, it’s unlikely she’d survive anyway. Ugh. I don’t know how to reconcile this in my heart.
Has anyone else had similar feelings? How did you reconcile with them?
I agree with all these devoted and loving Parrot people! Nature can be cruel and our birds weren't raised for that kind of life. My Amazon is very fond of me (I'm pretty sure):rolleyes:
 

savanahsirval57

New member
Feb 2, 2014
9
12
ontario
Parrots
cockatiel, green cheek conure, black cap conure
Hello all, I read a lot here but rarely post. I have been struggling with feelings of guilt over having a Mealy Amazon as a pet. I take good care of her, take her to an Avian vet for blood work & check ups. I admire her intelligence. She is handfed, so she doesn’t know what it’s like to be free. I absolutely adore her. What triggered these feelings happened the other day when I had her outside on my balcony perched on the back of a chair. There is a large flock of loud, raucous wild green parrots with red heads that occasion our palm trees. I totally love them!! They chatter constantly with occasional shrieks. As they flew away still chattering and calling to each other, my parrot began to call out to them. It was a different sound that what she usually makes. I knew what she was doing. I looked at her and said that I was so sorry she wasn’t free and that she couldn’t take off with them😔 I really struggle with this. On one level it seems cruel to keep intelligent creatures in cages & often keep their wings clipped so they’ll stick around for our enjoyment. Obviously I can’t just set her free, it’s unlikely she’d survive anyway. Ugh. I don’t know how to reconcile this in my heart.
Has anyone else had similar feelings? How did you reconcile with them?
Hello there, I have a green cheek conure a blackcap conure and a cockatiel. I struggled at first leaving my green cheek alone just for groceries. I was so attached that I had to overcome this, but on a different note, I would love to share an experience I had with my green cheek, we moved to a year round park, this park has trees as tall as a rain forest, ok well maybe not that tall, but tall. So I used to carry my green cheek to the door and around the yard as he was clipped, and saddly very short by a well meaning vet, but yes short and sad. He actually belly flopped to the floor once, so where I am going with this is, he caught an upwind and flew across to a small tree across from our place. I was beside myself and my husband however caught him and handed him to me, but yet he flew out of my hands and got on a worse possitioned tree. Long story short, we got him back and I cried like a baby that he was safe. We had just moved to this park and I swear if I had have lost him, I would never have stopped looking for him, every bird I heard I would have looked and looked for him, never stopping until I died and they carried me away. I so understand your love and feelings you have for your feathered baby. It is so real. So ever since this day in 2010, my bird has never been outside again. He does have windows and since then of course my other birds for company, but he does make noises when seeing other birds fly by, sometimes we have blue jays, he does not approve of them. I do not feel guilty at all keeping him safe and loved, you are doing the best for your bird as he would not survive on his own. Please be aware though that they can catch a breeze, clipped or not, they can fly to another spot. Good luck and I hope you have a great life together. This pic is my bird up on a ledge above our table, as he can fly now, he definetly does not go outside.
 

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TinyHumanGiant

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Apr 1, 2021
7
20
Someone once noticed how sad their dog seemed to be every time they left home without him, even if it was only for 30 minutes. They mentioned how bad they felt about it, and wondered why he was always so upset about it because they always came back and never left him alone for long. The reply?
"Because that is the worst thing that ever happens to him" That pet owner leaving that dog alone for 30 minutes was the worst thing that dog ever had to experience. Everything else in his life was taken care of. Unlike a stray, or even a wolf, he never had to go hungry or thirsty, be cold, hunt for his next meal, or worry about being attacked and eaten by something else. If he got injured or sick, he received medical care, and he was loyal to his pack leader because of it, not to mention he will probably live twice as long as his wild counterparts because of it.

While it is true that animals in captivity don't get to experience the thrill and freedom of wild wide open spaces, they also don't have to. When properly cared for and socialized, animals in captivity almost across the boards live dramatically longer, lower-stress lives than their wild counterparts. And releasing a captive bred animal (lacking the skills to make it out there) into such a dog-eat-dog world would almost definitely end badly for the animal. (This is something that endangered species captive breeding programs and animal rehab places struggle with).

To wax philosophical for a moment, there is always a tension between safety and freedom. You can't have more of both, you must always exchange one for the other. And if we are being honest, how many of us have, like your parrot, watched a movie or read a book and dreamed of flying free, going on great adventures and doing daring things, like those characters, only for the thoughts of danger and risk, of cold, mosquitos, and hunger, to drive us back inside the places we have made to insulate us from the discomfort of the wild, free, dangerous world. Ultimately, most of us remain in our own gilded cages by our own choice.

And ultimately your job is to either:
Properly prepare your bird to take that risk (knowing that it is a dangerous, merciless world out their, especially for the uninitiated) and then open their cage (in their native range obviously), allowing them to attempt to experience glorious freedom, knowing that it will inevitably involve suffering.
OR
To shelter together, comfortable in the knowledge that the life you provide means that the worst thing your parrot will suffer are its dreams of flying free.
 

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