BT Interview: Stalk The Wild Amazons With Michael Schindlinger

About Michael Schindlinger:

Michael Schindlinger was born in Lakewood, New Jersey, and is presently a Lecturer in Biology at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. At the age of 13, he and his family relocated to New York City’s Greenwich Village, returning to his New York origins (his parents and grandparents were both from Brooklyn).

Michael attended Manhattan’s Friends Seminary before enrolling at Boston’s famed Berklee College of Music for two years. Michael’s doctoral studies at Harvard on the numerous languages and dialects of parrots began at Berklee, and what a long unusual voyage it’s been É well, maybe not so strange when you put it all together!

BT: Do you feel that wild bird conservation and pet bird ownership are incompatible?

MS: Not when people’s affection for their pet birds inspires them to become champions for their wild protection. When we neglect parrots as wild birds and concentrate only on them as pets, we risk boosting the pet trade to the point that convincing people that native birds should be free becomes impossible.

BT: What advice would you provide to someone who is about to adopt their first pet bird?

MS: Parrots are excellent pets since they have such strong personalities. Because they aren’t actually domesticated, we can’t modify them in captivity. We can only bargain. People should buy a bird only if they want the extra charm/hassle of having an animal that will never recognize you as a master in the same way that a dog would.

If you want a cuddly, adorable animal, avoid getting a parrot since they bring so much more baggage: loudness, defying social hierarchy, and expressing their independence. It may take many generations for parrots to be domesticated in the same way that dogs and cats have been. Their desire for liberty is great.

BT: What do you believe is the most common error individuals make while caring for their pet birds?

MS: Not providing it the attention it requires, misinterpreting the bird’s goals, and isolating the bird in response to calling behavior. When it calls, the bird is requesting social connection, which the human is refusing by isolating it. Birds develop neurotic symptoms when they are handled by untrained persons who do not comprehend the bird’s motives or requirements and instead prioritize their own conveniences.

I deal extensively with Foster Parrots in Massachusetts and am well aware of the issues. People are routinely surrendering enormous birds for reasonable but unacceptable reasons. Sometimes getting a huge bird is a more serious decision than getting married. The association will endure the remainder of the bird’s life, which may be longer than ours. Getting a bird on the spur of the moment and getting the largest bird available without completing one’s “research” is a huge error.

BT: What is your best bird-care tip?

MS: Pay close attention to your birds and enable them to share mealtimes. Allow them to eat when you eat, and share some safe food with them. Make the bird a part of your daily routine. Make it engaging for more than a few minutes a day. Create an enhanced habitat by include a window and several social partners, both human and avian.

Two birds become excellent partners for one another. People wrongly believe that if they obtain a second bird, their bird would no longer engage with them, but this is not true. After that, you may not be the bird’s favorite creature, but it could be a good thing if you’re not home for the most of the day. It also relieves you of the responsibility of providing social stimulation. All birds are ‘lovebirds,’ which means they need a reliable mate, and who better than another bird?

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