A young male double yellow scarlet macaw. Not yet fledged and still playing on the floor with baby parrot toys.
Snickers his first day home with his chosen one.

When you live with a parrot that can’t find a use for you.

Kathy LaFollett
5 min readOct 12, 2023

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Two humans look into each other’s eyes and know this conversation should have happened before they met the bird.

“He’s awesome. I can’t get him off me.” Cali grinned cradling a young red parrot who’s spread his wings hug wide while using his talons to latch onto the front of a T-shirt to lay his head into Cali’s neck. That’s parrot body language for mine.

Snickers infiltrated our family after spending an afternoon splattered against Cali’s chest. I was baggage. I didn’t know it, yet. I sat in a visitors chair holding Snickers. Handing Snickers to me was a surprise to Snickers. He asked for no such thing.

“He is adorable.” I am smitten. I stroke Snickers’ head feathers smooth. A caveat screams inside my skull; Yeah, but he’s a male scarlet, they are more than a handful. They are two handsful!

“Should we? We have the room. Butters sure could use a friend.”

Snickers nuzzles into my neck, but he’s not with me, he’s got his attention on Cali. He needed that angle to get a bead on his chosen one. I feel that slight mental distance. “Well, he’s a male, and a scarlet. Are we ready for all that?”

We debate the fine points of bringing home a new member to our parrot lifestyle. We laugh while waiting for one of us to say no. Shouldn’t someone say no? It feels like someone should say no. I stood up and leaned forward so this not quite feathered-in boy could launch himself back into Cali’s chest with a feathered splat.

A just fledged male double yellow scarlet macaw having just landed on top of his cage for the very first time.
And then one day Snickers chose to fly.

Parrots calculate, consider, roll options over, and lay out their priorities for goals. They commit to their decisions. Parrots choose with grave determination. Positive reinforcement, distraction, redirection, etc, and so forths will not change the choices made by the bird. A bird doesn’t forget the ultimate goal. They put it off for later.

Snickers is going on eleven years old. Ten years into it all, and he’s still found no good use for me. I’ve been interviewing for ten years. He’s got no job openings. It’d be easier to get hired on at NASA as a rocket scientist.

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