I have heard so many times that a certain parrot doesn’t like women, or that another prefers them. I have myself had a parrot that didn’t care for men – loved my daughter, liked me, hated my ex-husband. Smart bird.
I was even told once that a female parrot is more likely to do well with a male human, and vise versa. Where does this preference come from? Were they born with it? I don’t think so.
Often, a bird that has been placed in a rescue might have a dislike for one gender, which may have landed them there in the first place.
If we were to analyze the bird’s background, I think we would find that at some point the parrot had a bad experience with someone of that gender and now associates all women, for instance, as evil-doers.
What about the parrot that doesn’t hate men, but gravitates toward women? Perhaps this bird simply had such positive experience with women that it logically seeks out a woman for comfort. Maybe the breeder who hand fed the parrot was a woman who lovingly attended to its needs or the person at the pet shop who offered attention and fresh food and water was a woman.
And then there’s the parrot who has bonded to one individual in the house, to the exclusion of everyone else. This may not be related to gender at all, but instead the parrot may have selected the primary caregiver as the favored person.
Further, where the parrot selects one person as a mate, it isn’t necessarily the opposite sex.
While having a preference for a man or a woman might be very real in your parrots life at the moment, it has likely been learned, and can be UN-learned through your efforts and lots of positive experiences.
I know a woman, Linda, who brought home a rescued female military macaw named Kharma. The bird immediately bonded with her and the two were inseparable. About two years later, her boyfriend, Dan, moved into the their house, and Kharma’s loyalties slowly shifted to him.
What’s worse is that her beloved Kharma was lunging and nipping at her when the three of them were together.
She was heart-broken and didn’t understand what she had done wrong. I tried to console her by assuring her that she hadn’t done anything to drive the bird away, but that Kharma had simply chosen Dan in the same way she had initially chosen Linda.
She tearfully told me that she was thinking about asking Dan to move out. I told her that throwing away her boyfriend was not the answer.
She did some restructuring in the way things were done in their household, and by whom. Since we had very little history on Kharma, we tried some experiments – some worked, some failed. The end result? Linda and Dan were married, and Kharma perched next to them both on the alter on their big day.
Kharma still has a preference for Dan, but accepts Linda as an important part of the flock, and interacts with her nicely every day.
We will never understand why Kharma selected Dan after such a good relationship had been shared by Linda and Kharma, but clearly there was no adversity to women present from the start. It’s a mystery.
Patty Jourgensen specializes in avian health, behavior and nutrition and has been working with and caring for rescue birds since 1987.