Parrots at Play!

…Seen a bird flip itself onto its back while playing? Neither had I, until that moment today. This signals that he is having a lot of fun, and I’m glad to see it. Our Senegal Parrot takes himself far too seriously. While many Sennie are playful and energetic, Mavi is not.

He was obviously very glad to get out and play. I brought him out right after breakfast, since it’s the first day I’ve had off in ages.

Today, anyway, the first thing my Senegal Parrot did was try and make a nest under my arm. I was curled on my side under a blanket and he burrowed down before I could stop him. When I retrieved him and put him on my lap, his wings were seriously drooping. He started to bob his neck, maybe about to regurgitate for me, so I put him down, gave him a moment, and looked for something to distract him with. Had I not gently discouraged this (by ignoring him) it could have resulted in frustration for my pet, as well as eventual attacks.

Counteracting the yearly hormones is tougher than it might be. I’m being much more careful not to provide shreddable toys that might make him envision nesting material. It’s kind of a shame, because destroying paper and boxes is easily his favourite activity. Mavi is very particular about what I can give him. He will bite anything that doesn’t meet his high standards.

So not just anything will do.

Since this was obviously a good time for hands-off interactions (aka, not cuddling or scratches), I decided to get out a little pink ball that’s been sitting on our bookshelf for ages. Y’know, the kind meant for cats. It’s never been touched by another pet, though. Again, distract you pet, don’t punish.

Mavi was still on the couch, so I rolled the ball to him. In the past, he’s flown away, but today he ran over to it and jumped on it.

The video shows him just absolutely clobbering it. He was being really silly, enjoying my laughter and hamming it up for the camera. At one point he got stuck in between the two couch cushions on his back, feet waving in the air – and at another, he rolled straight off the couch, poor thing.

All in all, my distraction worked. We were able to resume normal activity afterwards, and Maverick spent quality time preening on my knee. He’s moulting, too, did I mention? He’s just a bit confused, really, haha, as oftentimes the moult signals the end of breeding season. (They’re both extremely energy-consuming periods, so typically it’s one or the other.)

On a related note, did you know that – amongst other hormonal triggers such as longer days, enclosed spaces, touching outside of the head/neck area, spray-showers, and mushy warm foods – over feeding can actually stimulate breeding hormones in birds? Too much food signals to your bird that it’s time to make babies, so cutting back on the rations is a good idea, too, especially at this time of year.

In that way, diet is actually the single best way to tackle any behavioural issue. Start by getting your pet parrot on a healthy diet, and see if that doesn’t help any biting, screaming, or plucking. I’ve been told by a sanctuary in Scotland that a good diet will cure most issues.


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