Flying Blue-fronted AmazonOne of the Easiest Consultation I ever Didby Sally Blanchard
Many years ago I did a consultation with a couple who lived in a loft at their business warehouse. Their blue-fronted Amazon was flighted and had the “run” of the whole building when he was out of his cage. Talking to the woman on the phone, I was convinced that the problem must be that the bird was flighted. Of course, this was in the days when the absolute rule was that all companion parrots should have their wings trimmed. Today I think it is the option for the well-educated bird owner to make this decision based on their unique situation. I think that it is much healthier for companion parrots to fly if it is safe for them in their home. I talked to the woman for awhile all of the time thinking that I knew what the problem was. A few days later, I drove into San Francisco to do a consultation. When I walked into the warehouse, the Amazon was way up high on a beam. My first thought was that they would never be able to get the parrot down, but the woman called to him and he flew right down to her arm. Watching him fly down was amazing. She gave him a good head skritch and then threw him back into the air so he could fly back up to the rafters. My second thought was that the bird must be aggressive to her husband but when he came home a short time later, he called the Amazon down and had a very affectionate interaction with him. My third thought was, why am I here? The Blue-front was a delight so I asked that question and the woman replied that sometimes he didn’t come down right away and this could be a problem if they were in a hurry to go somewhere. That was easy; it was a simple manner of timing. He was most likely aware when they started to act as if they were leaving. Instead, they needed to plan ahead and call him down earlier so they weren’t so rushed when they needed him to put him back in his cage.
Amazons tend to love drama and the fact that the couple was so frustrated when he didn’t come down immediately was probably enough to encourage his game of “catch me if you can.” I also recommended that they work with him to get him to come down when they called him. As with most Amazons, he was easy to food bribe and saving his special treats for when he came when he was called made a big difference.
I think I learned more during that consultation than I was able to teach them about their wonderful Amazon. With a few exceptions, the couple had provided excellent behavioral guidance for their beloved parrot’s behavior. The Amazon was not completely in control of his own behavior. The basic problem with many companion parrots is that they are in control of their own lives and they are doing a bad job of it. Having some control of a parrot's life is not a bad thing. It is how it is established and should always be done in a nurturing manner. Parrots simply do not know how to behave in our living rooms so they have to sort of make it up as they go along and what they come up with is not always appropriate for their lives as human companions. This is why nurturing guidance is so important. We need to lovingly teach our parrots which behaviors are acceptable and which are not. This Blue-front was in a unique but wonderful situation but they already had set some positive rules for him and it was a great and loving relationship between the three of them.