How to Make Friends with your Parrot

How to make friends with your parrotIn this article Barbara covers the topic of How to Make Friends with your Parrot.

If you are a fan of parrots like me, you look forward to those moments when you get to make a new parrot friend. Unlike a dog or cat that may respond to a new person right away, birds can sometimes require a little extra effort on our part. Birds are often a bit nervous about meeting a stranger. Here are some things you can do to help them to be more comfortable when you are getting to know them.

How to Make Friends with your Parrot

1. Give the bird space: Although it is very tempting try not to go right up to a bird. Give him some time to get used to you being in the same room. Once he is looking relaxed and comfortable you can move a bit closer to the bird.

2. Move slowly: Birds can become frightened when people move too quickly. You don’t want to scare your soon-to-be new friend.

3. Approach from the front: Be sure to approach the parrot so that he can easily see you coming. Many birds don’t like it when someone is moving behind them.

4. Show him something special: Before walking closer to a parrot, it is a good idea to have some treats, parrot toys or other special item with you. Ask people who know the bird what he likes best. You can show the bird what you have to give him before you get too close.

5. Watch his body language: When you show the parrot the special treat or item you have for him, watch how the bird responds. If he leans towards you he is saying he would very much like to accept your gift. If he leans away he might be saying he is not sure he is ready to make friends right now. If he is not ready, you can always try again later.

6. Offer him the special treat: If the parrot leans forward and reaches his beak towards what you have to offer, you can move closer and give him what you have. Whenever you offer a treat or toy to a parrot for the first time try to present it so that the bird has to lean forward to take it with his beak. This way you don’t have to get too close to the bird’s beak. This is so you can be extra sure the bird is ready for the treat. Sometimes when we get too close or offer the item to fast, a bird might respond by biting.

7. Offer more treats: If the parrot takes the first treat or toy and enjoys it. He might look or lean towards you for another one. If he does, that is an invitation to really start getting to know each other. Continue to offer him special treats or items. This will cause your new parrot friend to really look forward to your visits.

Once a parrot understands good things happen when you visit, you will begin to notice he will really want to get to know you better. He might be eager to step onto your hand. He might even talk or sing to see if he can encourage you to come closer with a special treat. If he feels very comfortable with you, he might even let you stroke the feathers on his head. This is a good sign that you were very careful not to scare him and have done a good job earning his trust.

Making friends with a parrot sometimes takes a little extra effort. But it is a very special compliment when a parrot accepts you as a friend. Pay close attention to your actions when you are meeting a parrot for the first time, offer him yummy treats and fun toys. Soon you will find yourself surrounded by many new feathered friends.

Barbara Heidenreich has been a professional animal trainer since 1990. Her company Good Bird Inc ( provides parrot training DVDs, books and workshops. She has been a featured speaker in twenty countries and has been published in nine languages. Barbara also consults on animal training in zoos.

Barbara Heidenreich
For more information on how to train your parrot visit Good Bird Inc
Barbara’s Force Free Animal Training

Is your parrot legal in your country/state?

Can you legally own your parrot in the country/state you live in?

Quaker parrotThe last time I was asked about legally obtaining a parrot was more than 6 years ago and even then the question was more about the breeder rather than legally owning a parrot.

Jim and Cindy Tome rescued a Quaker parrot and called it Baby Bird. In March 2011, Cindy found a little bird lying on the grass outside the office window. She took the bird in, put it into a box and took it home that night. When she opened the box the bird climbed out on top and they noticed that it was injured. Cindy and Jim put the parrot into a dog crate with some water and wild bird seeds, until they figured out what to do next. Cindy took the bird to a Vet and then carried on nursing it back to health at home. In a few months the wounds have disappeared and the feathers grew back, but they were none the wiser about the bird. The Vet could only tell them it was some kind of a parrot but wasn’t sure what species.

The bird was tame and both Jim and Cindy could handle it. Cindy could spread its wings and do anything to it, which made her think that this bird had to belong to someone. Whilst Baby Bird was recovering from its injury Jim and Cindy scoured the classifieds in the newspapers, Craiglist and forums looking to reunite Baby Bird with its rightful owner. After a few months of unsuccessfully searching for the owners they decided to keep the bird.

Cindy with Baby BirdOver time Baby Bird bonded to Cindy and became very protective of her. They also discovered that he can talk too. This is not very common in Quaker parrots, but this one was a pretty good talker.  It took them nearly a year before they found out that their new friends was a Quaker parrot. This parrot is native to South America and prized highly as pet. They are very social and make for a good companion but are also considered a nuisance. In 1960’s either via escape or intentional release Quaker parrots started forming feral colonies in the eastern United States. They eventually colonised in more than 8 states. Florida alone is believed to have more than 100,000 Quaker parrots.

Because they are considered agricultural pests, they are banned in 10 states as pets.

Baby bird was illegal! Jim and Cindy decided to keep Baby under wraps and continue to look after him. However, last month Baby Bird developed a redness around his eyes and they had to take him to a Vet. On 29 March 2016 two wildlife enforcement officers knocked on their door at 8.30pm and confiscated their beloved pet.

Jim and Cindy were devastated but there was very little they could do to protect Baby Bird. Cindy missed day of work, too upset to go to the office. Jim was and still is, angry.

At present Baby Bird is kept at a wildlife sanctuary in Snyder County, where Quaker parrots are legal and the Tome’s are considering selling their home in Pennsylvania and moving to Maryland, where they can own Baby Bird legally.

So before you decide to rescue, adopt or purchase a parrot, first make sure you can legally keep it in captivity in the place where you live.

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