Having raised and reared many of the bigger popular talking parrot species since 1986, I can clearly confirm that Amazona members make excellent pet and companion birds. They are much more than simply outstanding orators. This page is meant to help readers get a better knowledge of this genus and to refute some of the misinformation that is still being spread by individuals who do not understand the facts of this species’ behavior. Some of this incorrect knowledge is undoubtedly based on history. Not long ago, our knowledge and experience with Amazons were mostly based on wild-caught adult birds, or at best, chicks taken from the wild and subjected to a “mechanical” quarantine and weaning procedure for the pet trade. This experience had minimal impact on the birds’ future pet qualities. Proper socializing was non-existent, and most birds experienced significant stress during the procedure. Thankfully, those days are mostly behind us. Amazons have since been domestically produced and raised for numerous generations by knowledgeable and compassionate aviculturists. As a result, we now have a lot better and more precise knowledge of their behavior than ever before.
The Amazona Character
Amazons are incredibly sociable and amusing parrots when properly grown, socialized, and cared for. They are, in fact, genuine extroverts and show-offs of the parrot world. They adapt excellently to a hectic home scenario and can deal with changes or disturbances in their daily routine more readily than certain other species (e.g., African Greys or Cockatoos). Most people truly thrive on fresh everyday challenges. One of my Blue-Fronted Amazons, for example, is in a nursing facility. It drives about on the service cart every day, visiting and entertaining the residents and their visitors and greatly enjoying all the commotion. Amazons are also quite self-assured birds, so you won’t have to worry about returning home to find a parrot that has immediately denuded itself while in the care of a “babysitter.” In conclusion, Amazons are one of the least likely parrot species to acquire neurotic tendencies as a consequence of care and keeping faults. They are quite hardy in this way.
Amazons clearly appreciate and thrive on human attention. However, unlike other animals, their desire for attention is neither excessive nor insatiable. They may gladly occupy themselves when their human partner is busy or momentarily absent from work. Naturally, they should have a wide cage and a variety of safe toys to entertain and challenge their curious brains.
What more could a person want in a pet parrot? Many prominent Amazon species, such as the Blue-Fronted and numerous members of the Ochrocephala group, have outstanding communication abilities. Their vocabulary may readily compete with that of a gifted African Grey. Amazons with double yellow heads and yellow napes are well-known singers. They particularly like listening to and imitating opera music.
As a breeder, I am often asked to answer one common issue from those contemplating purchasing a pet Amazon:
Is it true that once an Amazon (particularly a male) reaches sexual maturity, he becomes cruel and violent, making him unfit as a companion?
This is a hugely misunderstood issue that needs to be clarified. It is, in essence, a myth. All too frequently, breeders of other parrot species who have had little experience or success with Amazons repeat it in the intention of persuading customers to buy another species they have available rather than the Amazon they really want. “Rubbish, garbage, garbage,” says Layne David Dicker, a well-known author and speaker on parrots, of this tale (Bird Talk Magazine).
The fact is that none of the bigger parrot species will remain sexually immature indefinitely. They grow much too rapidly and will exhibit symptoms of sexual maturity in a few years. Under certain conditions, every species, even Amazons, is capable of becoming hostile. However, as compared to many other species, they exhibit middle-of-the-road behavior in this area of concern.
The urge for species survival takes hold during the mating season (spring for Amazons). Nature has designed them to defend their territory, partner (including their favorite human), nest, eggs, and young from all perceived invaders throughout the generations. Any big parrot species inherently includes this as part of the package. If a person is unable to tolerate this, they should seriously consider getting a pet other than a parrot. If breeders selectively breed for gentleness in the future, it may be feasible to tame this tendency over time.
The increasing length of the days causes a springtime hormone surge in Amazons (and other animals). Individual birds respond differently, and males may be more sensitive to hormonal changes than females. This is a transitory condition that will peak around 14 hours of daylight. Through proper socialization and behavior approaches, it is virtually completely controlled in a pet Amazon. Reducing the photoperiod to fewer than 14 hours of daylight may assist the rare tough bird (cover the cage appropriately). When the days begin to shorten, the hormone surge normally fades and the bird returns to its normal self. This time of year may be highly fascinating for Amazon owners since birds will exhibit behaviors that are rarely witnessed the rest of the year. It is something to look forward to rather than dread. Males will flaunt their tails, flash their eyes, hold their wings away from their bodies, and do “the Amazon strut.” This is fascinating to see. Their typically concealed hues are brought to light, and their beauty is breathtaking. They may try to defend their owner by pursuing and biting the “enemy.” Owners should certainly use caution while handling their birds at this time. To prevent being bitten needlessly, observe the bird’s body language. Remember that their hormones are in charge. Females may stoop low on the perch, lift their tails, and tremble their wings. They will also flash their eyes in a show of excitement. At about 10 years of age, most Amazons begin to demonstrate a diminished response to hormone fluctuations. As a result, they might naturally get mellower as they mature.
Keeping multiple adult men in close proximity to one other is another condition to be mindful of that fosters aggression. They will spend a lot of time and effort vocalizing and threatening each other throughout the spring. They have plenty of time to make the most of their hormones. The environment is a big contributor to excessively aggressive conduct in this scenario.
Amazon Basic Training
Baby Amazons, like human children and other companion animals, will not grow up to be well-behaved companions unless they get adequate training, socialization, and care from their owners. People must also recognize that parrots are just a few generations away from their wild-caught relatives. They are not completely domesticated animals, such as dogs and cats, which have been raised in captivity for decades. In some situations, even dogs and cats may become deadly to humans.
Any behavior issue that emerges with their pet bird should be handled by a competent, informed, and vigilant owner. Proper education and knowledge are essential for attaining this.
The first thing each new Amazon owner should do is educate themselves on the fundamentals of parrot behavior and training. In this sense, a subscription to Sally Blanchard’s Pet Bird Report periodical (www.petbirdreport.com) is a good investment. It will offer the knowledge required to avoid significant errors that cause or contribute to undesirable bird behavior. A knowledgeable pet owner will never be one of those people who complain about how cruel their bird is since they will always be in control of the situation. Furthermore, for training to be genuinely successful, parrot owners must build a sense of trust with their birds. This is the outcome of correctly working with the bird. Young parrots are anxious to please their owners and prefer verbal or special goodies as a reward for doing things correctly.
Training sessions should be held outside of the bird’s cage to minimize territorial issues. Another room is preferable. Sessions should be kept brief in order to accommodate the bird’s attention span (typically 5-10 minutes). The instructions Up, Down, and No should be taught and repeated on a regular basis. Never praise or encourage bad conduct, otherwise, the parrot will get confusing signals, which it will surely utilize to surprise you at the wrong moment. The trainer’s consistency and discipline are vitally essential. Amazons are strong-willed birds, and if the trainer is inconsistent with them, the bird will quickly learn that it can control the roost. If the bird is permitted to disobey the up order on a regular basis, it will quickly learn that it can get away with not obeying anytime it wants. It will grow more difficult to regularly pick up the bird. As a consequence, being perfect with training is extremely necessary in order to attain the intended ideal outcomes.
Good luck with your Amazon 🙂
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