Saturday, July 26, 2008

Grin and 'PARROT'...
The Ups and Downs of a Pi-Eyed Relationship...

I thot Pionus Parrots were supposed to be quiet and mellow...as compared to what? See, that's why I chose to get a Pionus. In theory, they're known for their placid nature. They're not noisy as a rule, and from what I read on the Internet, they were supposed to be fairly mild-mannered. Okay, fine. Tell THAT to MY parrot! His name is "Ringo", and he's somethin'. We've had our ups and downs, and yeah, I've made mistakes with him. I wanted a bird I could interact with, but this bird would screech and squawk if I tried to handle him or pick him up if he wasn't ready for that. He would throw temper tantrums if I didn't respond to him, so I'd respond, and he'd Go The Other Way. AAAACK!!!!! Finally, I found a Pionus Parrot website that pretty much said that "Pi's" aren't known for being especially cuddly birds; they can be aloof; it's just a trait of theirs, take it or leave it. That was when my outlook began changing a bit. "Oh, they're SUPPOSED to be that way", I thought.

In the meantime, I'd ordered a book on Pionus Parrots, titled, "The Practical Pionus", and I must admit, I received that book Just In Time...because this little bird was EXASPERATING me. Honestly, I was about ready to give him up. I couldn't seem to make the bird LIKE me. I couldn't seem to make him COMFORTABLE with me. I couldn't get him to BEHAVE. When he bit me, I thot, "what an UNGRATEFUL bird, after all I've done for him." He was sitting on my shoulder once, and began stabbing his beak into my face, and I was fast thinking I had some kind of bad-seed, pathologically mean-spirited bird. Most of all, I was getting really DEPRESSED, because I'd been trying so hard to Make Things Work. And Things Weren't Working. Hence, the only recourse I had was to read this Pionus book. Truly a case of 'what do I have to lose'.

Pionus Parrots, this book told me, are hard-wired to Their Flock. They have certain instinctive behaviors which can't be changed. And it's up to Me, the Human Being, to educate myself, to know why this bird does what it does, and work with it. The other half of the equation, according to this book, is that Human Beings erroneously attach human interpretations to whatever behavior the Bird is exhibiting. For example, when the Pionus Parrot senses that a member of the Flock is in danger, he will peck at that flock member in order to chase his bird-buddy away from Danger. Thinking back to when my face got "beaked", I thought that perhaps the bird had seen something through the window he perceived as a threat and poked me to WARN me. After all, I am in his "flock". See? That casts a totally different light on that aspect of Pionus behavior. He was trying to 'protect' me. Hmmm...guess it's up to us humans to know what animals' behavior means, from the standpoint of the animal.

There were other times, when I honestly didn't know what to do with this bird, other than to Feed It and then Just Go Away. So I began ignoring the bird; indeed, I'd begun to HATE it, all the while getting extremely depressed, which led to me ignoring him more. And the more I ignored him, the worse it got. I stopped speaking to him when he squawked, and he responded by throwing Endless Temper Tantrums, ripping up the paper in his cage, and throwing stuff from his cage-top play area onto the floor. This relationship was heading nowhere fast. I'd kept him prisoner in his cage for three days 'cos I just couldn't deal with him; finally, I had a change of heart and left the cage door open. I left the room to do something and heard the flapping of bird wings...and there he was on the floor, walking around, looking for me. One day, when I let him out, he slid down the bars of the cage, and onto the floor. I still wasn't speaking to him. Still depressed. He walked over to where I was sitting. I still didn't respond to him. And he began Madly Flapping His Wings while standing on the floor in front of me. His way of saying, "NOTICE ME, DAMMIT!!!" I know that, 'cos I read that "Pi's" do that when they want attention.


This is little Ringo. But don't let that sweet face fool you. He's very much His Own Bird...
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Whilst reading the Pionus book, I was informed that Birds call out to other members of their flock, and they expect a reply. Silence implies Danger to these little guys. In my family, Silence meant Disapproval. So I'd reacted to the bird the only way I knew how (short of STRANGLING it), and he in turn, reacted to my non-reaction in the only way he knew. The longer I was silent, the more he'd scream and squawk. I was holding a grudge. Well, birds don't hold grudges. They don't think bad thoughts. They don't plan and scheme. Everything they do is based on "Now". They don't complicate things the way us Humans do. Sometimes I wish I was a bird. And, I feel bad that I'd upset him by not responding, but I honestly didn't know what else to do. But maybe I didn't "upset" him; I just violated his conditioned behavior. And so he reacted instinctively. Silence is Danger, after all. And you know, (and it may be just my human imagination) as I try to understand his ways a bit more, he 'seems' to be getting more comfortable with me. There I go being 'human' again...

So, does an animal, any animal, actually ever LOVE its owner? Perhaps not, but maybe there is some sort of 'middle ground' humans establish with their animals, in terms of a dependability or security standpoint. So I now understand Ringo better than I did, and this outlook is definitely helping me deal with him in a better way. Maybe if human beings were no smarter than the animals we care for, this world would be a better place. I'd rather be around Ringo than most of the people I've met in this life. I now see "Ringo", as a little guy who's doing his best...and it's up to me to care for him; he depends on me. It's a 'trust' thing. And maybe if he 'trusts' me, he 'likes' me? Not sure about that, but if I'm going to apply erroneous human terminology to a bird, at least "like" is a positive. I think I understand him a lot better than I originally did. I know I'm a better bird person now, than I've been. And...I can't imagine not having him around.
____________________

I've been lousy at relationships my whole life. I read too much into everything; I try too hard, I exhaust myself, and I make things harder than they should be. Maybe we should all follow the animals' example and simplify things. Maybe us human 'beans' assume more pressure than we were ever meant to handle. But that's a subject for another time, another post...in the meantime, Ringo and I are doing better all the time. Which is good.

7 Comments:

Blogger raymond pert said...

You're right about animals and what they can teach us about getting along. Sometimes I look at my dog and think it must be nice not to have all the crap going through his head that goes through mine all too often.

6:21 PM  
Blogger Dogwalkmusings said...

I love it when you're exploring your parenting skills!

6:56 PM  
Blogger Kendra said...

What a guy, what a guy- I think it takes a helluva guy to parent a parrot. They are super high-maintenance; but it sounds as though you have forged a bond with the feathery little bugger.
Right on!

8:00 AM  
Blogger MarmiteToasty said...

Looking at one of me cats sleeping on me lap as I type this... yep, what an uncomplicated life they lead, we have much to learn from them....

I aint to good with birds.... I sucked me muvvers lovebird up the hoover pipe (old Twaddle post) years ago, which eventually led to its death....

On, saying that I do have a little blackbird that will almost eat out of me hand that comes to our garden...... and we did the other week grab a baby bird from the jaws of fatcat....but alas it died in the night...

The only birds that I seem to have a bond with is me chickens LOL I know, what a saddo..

x

12:22 AM  
Blogger cconz said...

i can relate to your story about ringo. He'll work out just fine. He sounds like he's a dandy. Time and a little patience is all it takes. i've had my parrots for 25 years. Not perfect, but, i'm not either.

1:43 PM  
Blogger Idaho Escapee said...

Marmie...you vacuumed a Lovebird? OOPS! That "sucks" (ha ha ha)...

Raymond...the good thing about animals is that they don't hold grudges when their owners screw up. Every day is a new day. 'Twould be nice if people were that way.

Ms. Dogwalker: Parenting? I guess it's a good thing I never tried to raise a child! A parrot is exhausting enough...

Kendree: This bird just raised the bar on 'hi-maintenance'...I imagine Donald Trump felt the same way about Ivana...

C-con: Anytime you wanna give me bird advice, feel free. I need all the help I can git!

8:26 PM  
Anonymous Russ Shade said...

I'm glad my book helped you figure out your little guy. That's why I wrote it.

1:36 PM  

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