Does a parrot have a memory? It has been a while since Dylan came for a visit but he soon settled into routine. He sat patiently in his travel cage watching as B and I set up his larger cage on my dining table. And he behaved so nicely when I commanded him to sit on my hand so that I could transfer him to the larger cage. However, that lasted all of forty-eight hours. I felt so proud of myself when he climbed onto my hand and allowed himself to be placed back on his perch. He even obligingly said, “Up!” He was so well behaved that I let him out in the evening as well to fly around the room and have a little play. Then he reverted to his old ways: flying off to avoid being returned to his perch.
Now the snag is that I have to leave the door ajar so that I can get in and out of the room. He is absolutely NOT allowed on the top of any door in case it slams and traps his claws. I know that. But from a parrot perspective it is the perfect place to be out of reach. So the fun-and games started. On the third day, when I commanded “up” to return him to his cage he flew onto the door. So I shook the door just a tiny bit and he flew off again. I shut the door. “Up, Dylan”. He sat nicely on my hand, while I held my other hand above his head to dissuade him from flying off. Oops! He managed to take off. I never had this trouble with Polly. I used to use both hands to pin her wings to her sides and dump her unceremoniously back in her cage. What now? I extended my hand towards him and he retreated down the other side of his cage. Maybe he forgot that this was the same side as the door? He clawed the gap feeling for a foothold then ended up going inside the cage. I quickly closed the door. Yay! So now what I do is to place a lychee in the food bowl and raise my hand to encourage him to climb back down through the door by himself. Success!
A parrot does make a good companion. Wherever I am in the house he whistles and calls to me and I respond. When I settle in the same room as him with my cup of tea he will graze on the floor of his cage, eating the bits he threw down from his food dish. And if I have a snack he will agitatedly climb up and down the bars until I relent and give him a piece. Tonight he found a new game. He scratched at the floor of his cage with his claw as though digging. Then he tore at the newspaper which lined his tray and shredded it with his beak. What fun! What a mess!