Parrots are different than dogs

Franklin gets puffy

Franklin gets puffy

Our Quaker parrot Franklin has been with us for a week now. He is a love but the honeymoon has definitely worn off. He has started challenging me more, standing up for himself and not doing everything I ask. During those first few days he was like the perfect bird, very compliant and easy going. But for the last few days he’s been more stubborn. Tonight for example, he was pulling my hair. I made it clear that I didn’t like it and usually he would stop. But today he hissed at me and did it again! So I went to shake him off my shoulder and he flew off before I could and landed on my arm. I was impressed that he anticipated my reaction. Since he changed his behavior I let him stay there. But I fear that I am either totally misreading his cues or that I am acting like a push over.

It’s so interesting:  with dogs I seem to instinctively know what is going on and how to respond. I rarely second guess or doubt myself and it seems, from the responses I get, that I’m on the right track. But with Franklin I am often confused and unsure.

Franklin nesting in Kristin's hair

Franklin nesting in Kristin's hair

I bought him a new cage. It is big and lovely and I had images of him roaming around it exploring happily. I put him in it and he seemed totally freaked out. But maybe not? What he did was to fluff up (a sign of stress I know) and start kissing the cage and his toys and air kissing me! Then he went through nearly every word, phrase, and sound he knows. Now, was that a bird who was freaked out trying to calm himself? Or was it a bird who was enjoying his new stimulating environment? The fact that he didn’t move off his perch for 4 hours seems to suggest that he was sort of scared. But what if he was just taking it in a bit at a time? See my dilemma? I am clueless when it comes to birds I guess. The only thing I know I have going for me here is that I am patient and have clear boundaries. No biting if you want to play with me. If you don’t want to come out onto my finger, that’s ok, I can wait till you do. But the rest of it, it is all a big blur. Oh well. At least he isn’t screeching. I would imagine a parrot who is super unhappy would just screech all the time. And he did eat and drink today – but mostly he wanted me to feed him by hand. Maybe he’s regressing to his babyhood? Sigh. Who knows.

I do think I’ve solved the problem of the dogs possibly eating him though. We have a “scat mat” we purchased through Drs. Foster and Smith that emits a loud tone when stepped on. It runs on a 9 volt battery. I put it in front of Frankie’s cage and when Bella stepped on it and it sounded the tone she took off running for the hills. She absolutely HATES that tone. I figure, if I can get Franklin to mimic that tone every time he sees the dogs we’ll be all set. I’ll keep ya posted on that.

April 16, 2009 • Tags: , , , • Posted in: birds, recommended products

One Response to “Parrots are different than dogs”

  1. valerie - April 22nd, 2009

    Frank-Frank! You need to write some more posts about Franklin. I’m way into your new bird & I can’t wait to meet him this summer. Kiss-kiss.

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