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Do Expectations of Our Birds Set Us Up for Failure?

They warned me it was a slippery slope. A week away from my 62nd birthday I find myself a short white balding Jewish guy who’s become a “crazy bird person”. Our apartment is 60 feet long and 30 feet wide or more in places. 
 
In the morning I tend to domestic chores going in and out of rooms organizing, cleaning and while this is going on I have 95g of white feathers following me. And if someone was looking through the window it would appear as though I was happily talking to myself because I’m carrying on a conversation with 95g of white feathers who happens to be in the same room wherever I am.
 
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We have a narrow hallway between our living room and kitchen. On the living room end of the hall is a door we normally keep open unless we are cooking. When Popcorn flies into the kitchen she has a play stand on the kitchen table as a designated landing zone. She also has a couple of her own ideas of what constitutes a landing zone including crown molding and the top of the cabinet over the sink – which has some baskets with fake flowers. 
 
She’s allowed to stay on the top of the cabinet, unless she starts chewing on the basket. When she starts foraging on the basket I point at her and threaten to “spank her feathered butt” Without fail she will jump off the cabinet and do a wide U-turn sending her down the hall where she takes a sharp left and ends up on her cage or a soft left and ends up on top of my computer monitor.
 
Unbeknownst to either one of us the other morning the hall door was closed and as she flew to the corner of the kitchen about to fly down the hallway she realized it wasn’t an option. And it happened as fast as a butterfly moves – she somehow stopped in midair, went vertical and spun on her tail like an ice skater, spun 180° without missing a beat – flap flap – she had her alternate landing site picked out and it was just another day in a bird’s life.
 
I was dumbstruck, it was like I suddenly became privy to some secret in nature and of course without a camera when you need it – but then I stumbled across this.
 
 
It’s labeled for reuse with modification in Google search so kudos to ChocoboRyo for capturing this magnificent shot. 
 
It also got me thinking that when it comes down to it, all other pets are terrestrial (grounded) Caged bird keepers (assuming their pet bird(s) is/are flighted) have pets that exist three dimensionally within your home. Top of a birdcage, on the floor, on top of a computer monitor, cabinets – They could occupy space anywhere in almost any surface in your home. So I ask “what are we doing to best accommodate these three-dimensional feathered creatures”? Share your thoughts below.
 
Speaking of landing zones and bird perches, one of our customers recently took delivery one of our beautiful Dragon wood Play stands
 
Large Playgym order thumb
 
She called to say the perches were too thick for her African Grey (the stand has 1 inch – 1-1/4 inch thick perches). Yes the birds nails had been trimmed recently, which didn’t help but I asked for her and her birds patience. We haven’t heard back in my guesses the bird stopped obsessing over the new piece of equipment is now enjoying it. 
 
We hear from a lot of bird companions and one of the problems that we see consistently is over thinking the situation. To illustrate this I would ask that you engage the image below.
 
 
Here we have a lovely model, Popcorn, having just landed on the footboard of the sleigh bed we have in the spare bedroom. Caveat emptor (google it): If I told you on the website that Cockatiels could be just fine on perches in excess of 2 inches in diameter, you probably think to yourself “this bird guy is daft I tell you.” 
 
Yet, here’s a picture of a Cockatiel who comes and goes using a piece of 2 inch diameter lacquered rolled wood, like you or I were walking down the street. She wants to be with me so she adapted.
 
We impose our expectations on to our birds. I can’t have you flying so I need to clip your wings or Please don’t leave the kitchen area because the rest of the place has carpeting or I need to get a cage with lots of horizontal bars to make it easy for my bird to get around it. 
 
Here’s a COCKATOO who didn’t get the memo that “Cockatoos need 1 Inch to 1-1/4 Inch diameter perches.”
 
 
 
That perch is what diameter? Less than 1/2 inch? Does the bird not have internet access? Please email the bird and let it know this is the wrong size perch.
 
Which begs the question, are we setting ourselves up for failure for imposing these (our) restrictions on our birds? Do you get annoyed when your bird lands on your computer monitor because he or she just wants to be where you are, and peels back your computer keyboard keys because you are playing with them so they want to play with them – and drops some not so virtual whiteout on the new 24 inch HD screen? 
 
 
What were your expectations when you acquired your bird(s)? A bird in your home is something that is nothing but positive energy and goodness. Perhaps we need to evaluate our willingness, ability and determination for us to adapt to some of the needs these creatures have who occupy our homes. How do we enable our birds to adapt to living in our “human” homes? Please share your thoughts below.
 
Mitch Rezman
CMO WindyCityParrot

Mitch Rezman

He's handled a 1000 birds of numerous species when they visited monthly birdie brunches in the old Portage Park (Chicago, IL) facility. The one with the parrot playground.Mitch has written and published more than 1100 articles on captive bird care.He's met with the majority of  CEO's and business owners for most brands in the pet bird space and does so on a regular basis.He also constantly interacts with avian veterinarians and influencers globally.

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