Parrot breeders are a strange lot! If you visit just about any online parrot forum, say Patricia Sund's Parrot Nation, you'll run into parrot breeders in total state of denial (and we're not talking about a river in Egypt). Trying to argue with a parrot breeder about the companion parrot overpopulation problem quickly leads to the conclusion that parrot breeders live in a parallel universe where facts and reality do not apply. In this parallel universe, there is no companion parrot overpopulation problem. In this parallel universe the commercial companion parrot trade does not engender wild parrot smuggling across the Mexican border. In this parallel universe, parrot rescues and sanctuaries are full to the brim with unwanted parrots because the rescues and sanctuaries choose to be. In this parallel universe, discarded and abandoned parrots don't get shuffled around to seven or more homes in their lifetimes. In this parallel universe any parrot needing a new home can find one, if you simply work hard enough!
We were pondering the question of why there are so many abused, neglected, and abandoned Cockatoos and other parrots when we came across a fascinating article on the Bear in Mind blog just published on PsychologyToday.com, Why the Caged Bird Does Not Sing: Captivity and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Parrots and People, by Gay Bradshaw. Traumatologists have discovered that caged parrots exhibited symptoms identical to humans suffering from chronic victimization:
Severely traumatized cockatoos who are rescued and receiving treatment at the innovative sanctuary, Midwest Avian Adoption & Rescue Services, Inc (MAARS) commonly exhibit "rapid pacing in cage, distress calls, screams, self-mutilation, aggression in response to [human and other bird] physical contact, nightmares, insomnia, and self-mutilation." Parrots are considered to be some of the most highly social species who bond for life and live in complex, closely knit flocks. However many rescued or abandoned parrots who come to sanctuary are so severely traumatized that they will not form relationships with humans or birds.
Parrot trauma is commonly misinterpreted by parrot owners, trainers, and behaviorists. When a parrot beak dives or bites its owner or handler, the action is not seen as a symptom of an unnatural environment, but as bad or problem behavior in need of punishment or training.
When examined through the lens of Complex PTSD, the symptoms of many caged parrots are almost indistinguishable from those of human POWs and concentration camp survivors. These include alterations in emotional regulation, consciousness, and relationship.
Does your parrot misbehave and bite? Just dispose of it and buy another hand-fed baby parrot. Maybe you can train the next one to behave properly. Don't worry about discarding the first parrot. You won't be contributing to the companion parrot overpopulation problem because parrot breeders don't recognize a companion parrot overpopulation problem! To breeders, parrots are simply commodities. No more. No less. They'll keep breeding. If parrot sanctuaries need to build ever more facilities, well, that's their choice.
Here's a modest proposal: Can we at least stop breeding Cockatoo parrots? Cockatoos are simply not suitable to be pets!
Ah, fuck! No point in sugar coating it. Parrot breeders are full of shit!