The thing birds are best at (besides chewing up your worldly possessions, and sometimes you), is reading you. This is because they see in ultra-violet, and can sense very subtle changes in your posture and mood without even trying. Basically, your parrot knows you better than anyone else – and this means that they can sense your immediate fear or apprehension.
A few days ago, I was absentmindedly cleaning the bathroom sink when Ptak flew in and landed on my back where I couldn’t see. Not knowing any of the birds were out, I jumped and yelped, and my boyfriend (he has given me permission to refer to him as ‘O.’ on this blog, how kind) came in to investigate. He was intending to pry a small blue bird off my shirt, but my parrotlet, reacting to my surprise, immediately made his little squeaky growl noise of displeasure and tried to bite everything in sight.
Well, I was amused, anyway.
Birds make excellent watchdogs, too. Our cockatiel sometimes sits at my feet and guards them if I’m feeling pensive. She is very watchful, and nothing will slip past her. I also think she likes pecking at my toes if they wiggle.
The canaries are very good about sensing when I’m uneasy. If I pause, even briefly, so will they. Pip has an alarm trill that she sounds at the sight of things outside (and for some reason also when I’m serving greens in the morning).
The most important thing to remember about birds is that if you are energetic and excited, they will be too. Mishka likes to try new foods when she comes out of her cage first thing, and this is something she gets very animated about (for her, anyway). Why? Because I taught her to by being really, really over enthusiastic about crumpets.
Use this to your advantage. Get excited and make noise when you want them to be noisy, and bring this level down yourself by quieting your own energy level. Works a charm. You can make things interesting – like toys that you want them to approach, or a room you don’t want them to be afraid of. Just remember the rule: they will feed off whatever you feel. If you are calm, so too will they be.
However, note that where a parrotlet is concerned, every minute is playtime, as far as he’s concerned. Your mood doesn’t matter in the slightest, then!