Sunday, November 28, 2010

Do your parrots grate on your nerves?

Not all the time, of course, or why would you keep them? But is there some action or behavior they engage in, repeatedly, that just about Drives. You. Up. The. Wall.? Don't try to hide it, I can feel you all thinking exasperated thoughts after reading that sentence, you know what I mean. I could use this post to give ways to eliminate or decrease this behavior, but instead, I will just suggest you read these articles and use this post to whine. I am, after all, only human. Not parrot, as my guys are always ready to remind me any time they feel I get "too high on the horse."

Any of you that have quakers should know the quaker alarm call. While it may not be any louder than any other quaker yell, it really gets on my nerves. Actually, any alarm call does that, perhaps because they are so urgent sounding. The quakers use theirs a lot, though, and I mean a lot. At first, I assumed this was due to actual alarm, but I am now seriously considering the idea that it is all a ruse to add excitement to the day, and make the rest of us look silly in the process.

When I first got Frank, he was very afraid of anything new(ish) or (even just possibly) unknown. Many parrots are like this, nothing very novel; I worked with him on getting used to new things, and over time he got much better. Eventually I reached my original goal of being able rotate toys daily, and bring in almost anything without his fearing it as long as I was calm about it and reassured him. Occasionally we would still hit something that scared him, and of course he would still worry when he saw something outside that looked potentially dangerous, but this was all to be expected. When I got Lola, she seemed to fear little. She didn't pay attention to much, but I didn't notice any fear behaviors.

Together, though, they periodically become great scardy-cats (or quakers.) The first time this happened, the alarm calls gradually increased in frequency, leaving me quite stumped. What on earth happened? Why were such normal events causing fear? I hadn't changed the food dish, why did they yell when I brought it in? They still loved the food, as soon as I got to the cage they recovered, peeled themselves off the back wall, and got ready to shove their head in the dish as soon as part of it entered the cage. Could I really be scaring them that much?

I started working with them again, and while a little back-of-my-mind thought that this was some sort of joke occasionally occurred, I kept going and eventually the "fear" went away. Except not for good. Many months later it returned. And was it just my imagination they were having a hard time keeping from blowing their cover by laughing at me outright?

Repeat last paragraph. And again. And again.

You get the picture. I hate to jump to conclusions, or risk anthropomorphizing in some way too much, but I am now very suspicious I am the fool in this scenario. And with that nagging thought comes a growing urge to do something drastic when they start screaming at my skirt, the same one they were playing on yesterday so happily. An urge to scream, or throw their cage outside (which, by the way, is physically impossible) or perhaps jump up and down like a lemur. However, I always resist; I let those thoughts come and let go of them as soon as I can, and take a few deep breathes. I can't say for sure why this alarm stage keeps repeating itself. I have to be patient. Understanding. Calm.

Seriously though, is it just my imagination, or are they laughing at me??


Anonymous said...

lol What an excellent thought provoking and truthful post,I no I certainly feel like that sometimes. And I guess if a lot of bird owners are honest so do they.

Keep up the great artices.

Coco said...

Hmm. A very interesting and thought-provoking read about your Quaker. I have to say, very few things that Charles and Lola do really really annoy me. Once in a rare while the noise perhaps, but they are both pretty quiet. I wish Lola wouldn't smear her mash all over her perches, but again, if that's the worst she's got then I think I'm in pretty good shape :)

Meg said...

Lucky you Coco! Your to are just the perfect little gentleman and lady!

Actually, I find myself much less annoyed by my parrots than many people can be, but I tend to be less annoyed by most things, as a calm person. I actually enjoy cleaning, even. I just can't take alarm calls very well, maybe it is being too empathetic or something, but alarm calls just get my heart racing! Would you believe I am the same person that could calmly work with a greater Sulfur Crested too nicknamed Panasonic?

Mary said...

Your quakers are definitely laughing at you!

We've had experiences with our parrots tricking us in order to get sympathy/attention -- too smart for us :)

Meg said...

It was as I feared.....

HungryBird said...

Of course they are laughing! Don't all of our birds laugh at us?

I've actually seen videos of Quakers laughing hysterically and it is the funniest thing ever!

Meg said...

Oh It is not wise to laugh around any of my parrots if you expect to continue a conversation afterward- they take laughing seriously!

Joan said...

I absolutely love your blog. I just found it. You write like an artist. My babies consist of five cockatiels. Four of them are the same family; 3 brothers and a sister. I was going to sell them after they were born, but I could not part with them. You write about anthropomorphizing, and I had to laugh. I have always done that. There is no doubt in my mind they know exactly what they are doing in order to get attention or manipulate me into some action they wish me to take. Thanks.