As a parrot lover, I thought I knew what it was like to own a bird because I used to have one growing up. While much of what I have learned about parrots previously was still true, my green cheek conure still managed to add to my knowledge. You wonder how a bird can teach me anything? You wonder which are the lessons I learned from my Green Cheek Conure? Let’s discuss below.
1. There is so much love in such a small creature
At first glance, the green cheek conure is a small, colorful birdie that screams for things that he can’t have. How can such a bird focused on self-interest show its love?
The first sign of love that we picked up on was that he fearlessly jumped on our shoulders after only 3 days in our home (his new home). To us it showed that he is open and willing to start building trust and be close to us. As time went on he started preening us: chewing on my hair, my partner’s beard, our ears and our sweaters! As research shows, these are all signs of love. 💗
After this he started making lovely greetings screams every morning and when one of us would return home – with such screams you definitely know you were missed! I cannot even imagine entering the room in the morning and not having my loud greeting and a jump on the shoulder with his lovely tail rubbing across my face.
2. Another lesson learned from my green cheek conure: The prettiest but also the messiest family member
As responsible green cheek conure owners, we were prepared: we got him a big, strong cage to call his home. We were happy that the cage had a play area on top (where the waste would just collect on the tray) a bottom tray and seeds catchers on the bottom (to catch the other waste that falls down). Even so, now that we have him, we clean the house 7 times more a week! Meaning we have to clean every day now!
Our parrot does not seem to have a sense of saving his food. For example, he does not realise that eating something on the edge of his cage means he could drop it (which happens almost every time) and that he will not be able to eat it anymore. Sometimes he even poops in his food!
There is also a general eating pattern: somehow small pieces of food will still end up flying across the room and we will find remains of his fruit and veggies hanging in the most unexpected places throughout the house.
3. Happiness of the parrot is the responsibility of the owner
Having a parrot is a big responsibility and a big investment of your time, energy and money. The responsibility of the owner involves: ensuring that you do the right things for the bird to be happy (spend time with him, buy him lovely toys and perches), keeping him healthy (provide him with the appropriate diet) and educated (teach him the right habits).
Spending time with the bird is of big importance. Our parrot is calmer and happier when we are near him or when he is with one of us on our shoulders. When we leave the house and put him in the cage, he immediately looks upset and almost depressed. That is why, socialising time is a must for a happy and healthy bird.
An appropriate bird diet is also very important. While he came with seeds and pellets when we bought him, they need to have diets diversified beyond that. For example, they need to have fresh fruit and veggies every day, not mentioning that they also love eating them. Be careful, not every fruit or veggie is allowed for parrots, even though they would gladly taste anything on the table (including our meals).
Therefore, in general as owners, we need to make the right choices for them in order to enjoy our birds the most. That leads us to the following point: a good education!
4. Parrots can follow the household rules – if systematically reminded
I knew something needed to change when I found myself getting pooped on every morning! What also surprised me was that the size of the poop each morning was 3 times larger than his usual poop during the day. After some research I found out that it was normal and that conures do not poop overnight and the first one in the morning is huge (especially beautiful!) after building up.
Then we needed to decide how to potty train him. We decided that he would not get picked up first thing in the morning unless he pooped first (on top of his cage). He was disappointed in the beginning as he could not wait to get out of his cage and jump on our shoulders. But later on he got used to it. Now, even during the day when he wants to be picked up, he poops first and then flies over.
He also learned that he is not allowed to bite nor to be too loud. If he misbehaves, he goes into his cage and we do not pay any attention to him: his worst punishment!
5. Sharing is caring
Since owning the Green Cheek Conure, we share everything with him. We share our food (only the bird approved one), we share our space (he is normally allowed to join us in the whole house) and recently other pleasures (when we enjoy the sun at the balcony, he comes with us in his travel cage).
This makes our parrot a true part of our family and we are happy to have him around us during all our activities.
6. A joyful happiness teacher: Green Cheek Conure Elvis
As with most pets, having a parrot increases the levels of happiness and overall good mood in the house. It is a pleasant and grateful feeling to watch him play with his toys and hop around in his cage. It taught me to relax more and enjoy every day for what it brings, while having my bird on my shoulder to love and be loved.
In a nutshell – Parrots bring the household closer together
Owning a parrot is a great responsibility and at times even difficult. Even the smallest parrot requires good care just like a human baby: they need to learn everything, from stepping up to the behavior expected of them.
Every decision also needs to account for the bird. For example, you cannot go on holidays as easily as before: you need to decide whether the bird will join. If not, a good alternative care placement needs to be arranged.
However, owning a parrot fills any heart with love, even if they show their love to us for 3 minutes a day in total. His careless behavior and pure personality can make anyone fall in love with him.
I can confidently say: our life became brighter since Elvis is home. He brought us closer together: we have our own personal parrot show and noisy podcast daily, for free! 😊