not just a pretty boy

Since we’ve been keeping two lovebirds (a type of small parrot) for the past few years (since they hatched!), I’ve begun to take greater interest in birds, particularly parrots – which are considered among the smartest birds in the world.

All birds occupy a non-mammalian ‘otherness’ that, except for two scrawny legs, makes them seem alien and, at times, as Alfred Hitchcock knew and exploited, even threatening. They can’t entirely repel our powerful urge toward anthropomorphism, but they resist many of the other hallmarks of rewarding pet ownership. They don’t curl up on your lap or spring in the air for your ball, or sleep contently at your feet, or catch mice. How we choose to keep them, moreover, is curiouser still. Perched in tiny cages, often with their wings clipped, they are denied their very bird-ness: that is, the awesome power of soaring flight that is their most salient characteristic.

And yet many people forge a profound bond with birds, and love their winged animals with a fiercely felt reciprocity. This is especially true of parrots.

Read this very evocative article on the complicated bonds between parrots and their humans.

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