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Musical Chairs With Parrots

Living with parrots can be a lot of joy, but it can also be a source of pure frustration and bewilderment.
Take the addition of little Lara, the severe macaw girl, to my flock. She is meant as a mate for Pedro who has been a widower for too long. Initially all went swimmingly well between them. Pedro was besotted and had little pink hearts in his eyes whenever he looked upon Lara. She – after 19 years of solitary confinement – did not quite know what to make of it, but she tolerated his closeness to some degree which is a good starting point.
After she had settled in a bit, I gradually introduced Lara to the bird hall and the rest of the flock over the space of a few days. My greenwing pair Scarlett and Jack can be really obnoxious to any new kid on the block, and sure enough Jack tried to hassle Lara, initially.

Jack has been with me for a long time. He is well trained and understands me far beyond trained exercises. We have a close bond. So I decided to interfere. I explained to Jack whenever he started hassling Lara: “Jack it’s a baby. She’s scared. Be nice” and praised him whenever he moved away from her: “Jack, you are such a good boy and I love you so!” He grasped the concept very quickly and tested it out. Two steps closer, looking at me – I dutifully responded “Be a good boy, Jack!”. Two steps away, looking at me – I praised him: “You’re SUCH a good boy and I love you!”
The very next day, Jack had made his decision to become little Lara’s protector. When anybody approached her, he chased them away, inclduing even his own mate, Scarlett. Jack’s vigilance was relentless. He never left her side. This in itself posed a problem, as Jack did not allow Lara’s intended mate Pedro close to her either. Scarlett, Jack’s wife of more than ten years was deserted, too.
For crying out loud! Here I am, trying to do the best for my birds by giving them species appropriate opposite gender mates and what do they do? Engage in highly inapproriate affairs with other birds.
Jack’s extreme digilence went on for about a week. Then he began spending at least his nights with Scarlett again, both of them cuddling close on the sill of the bird hall’s highest window. But as soon as daybreak came, Jack was back at Lara’s side.
After the second week, Jack’s diligence relaxed yet a bit more. He started to spend afternoon siestas with Scarlett as well, far away from Lara. He did still always keep an eye out for her. If anyone dared to approach Lara, he’d immediately fly down to her and chase the intruder away. Gradually, he allowed the conures closer and Chrissie, the male, has been spending quite some time with Lara while Jack relaxed even more.
Then yesterday, finally, the big breakthrough. Pedro, her intended, was finally allowed to sit by her side, whilst Jack remained snuggled next to Scarlett. At last, all is well in parrot paradise. 🙂

Lara moved in June 4th. It has only been a few weeks that felt however like months to this concerned parrot mama. 🙂 Although it was hard at times, I exercised patience and discretion, allowing my birds to move at their pace not pushing them into my time schedule or wishes. I think most problems with parrots happen when you push them instead of allowing them to progress with whatever at their own pace whether it be training, taming or pairing. Giving them time and space really is usually the best approach. 🙂

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