The charming quaker parrot
The quaker parrot, (AKA the monk parakeet) has become a very popularly kept bird over recent years. It is native to South America, but is found in feral populations in different areas of the world. In the United States and Europe, it has adapted to be able to withstand harsh winter climates and is as close to a “native parrot” as either area can claim. It is a delight to watch them fly through an otherwise parrot-less sky.
Anyone who enjoys a quaker parrot at home will tell you what a fun species they are to have around. They are great talkers, with a large vocabulary which they develop from a very early age, and have some unique qualities that make them very interesting birds to keep.
In the wild, the quaker is the one parrot that is not a tree cavity dweller. It builds HUGE, multi-roomed, communal nests (some weighing up to 200 lbs!) that will house several quaker families. In captivity, the quaker will collect items from all over the house for nest building in its cage. If something turns up missing, your quaker has probably incorporated it into its nest.
In addition to stealing your stuff and talking up a storm, they have a warm and loving personality. They know how to turn on the charm when there is a favorite human around, especially if that human has a shiny object at hand.
Building a lasting relationship with your quaker
The quaker parrot will want to spend as much time with its human family as you can provide for. The more socialization your quaker has with ALL members of the family, the less likely it will be to develop a preference for only one person. This behavior generally progresses to aggression towards anyone else over time. It’s okay for your quaker to have a favorite person as long as it interacts well with ALL people.
Quakers are known for their intense cage territorial-ism – especially during breeding season. Their cage is their castle and they don’t much appreciate invasion of any sort – including the hands of their favorite human. Cage territorial-ism is not a problem behavior so much as a fact of life. However, the untrained and unsocialized quaker parrot will be less likely to hold back the bite when you reach in the cage.
As with all parrots, you will get out of your relationship with your quaker what you put into it. To avoid problem behaviors in general, you will find the most success by spending part of your bird’s out of cage time involved in activities where you are both focused on each other and share a common goal.
Taking the time to train your bird is the ideal way to accomplish this. It gives your bird the meaningful interaction it needs, while teaching it that you are a trustworthy and valuable friend.
This point is very clearly driven home in our DVD reality series: One Day Miracles. Dave and Jamieleigh Womach went into the homes of 12 clients to help them with their bird’s issues. In a live setting, the Womachs taped each episode (different birds, different environments and different problems) so that you can watch the techniques they used to help each family begin to improve their relationship with their birds.