Being able to interpret parrots well is one of the most important skills to develop for those of us sharing our lives with these colorful birds, regardless of if you live with parrots, care for them as a zookeeper, trainer, or at a veterinary clinic or shelter.
As we learn to interpret and respond appropriately to what parrots do we can greatly improve the wellfare of both the parrots in our care and the people that care for them. Body language can give us important information about:
A parrot's general wellbeing and health
How a parrot is responding to it's current environment
How we should act to avoid negative interactions, including bites
How we should behave in order to facilitate pleasant interactions and increase the wellfare of parrots
The most basic kinds of communication has three components: a sender that emits a signal, which is received by a recipient, who responds to the signal in some way. Ideally, the signal is unambigous (binary); it is either on or off, and it always has the same result; one type of input (signal) always results in the same type of output (response).
When it comes to communication between animals however, as we'll discover throughout this resource, this simplistic model often falls short. This is especially true for species with long life spans and complex social systems like parrots.
When we first start learning about interpreting animal body language or other behavior, what many of us want are direct translations: "when a parrot does X, it means Y." While it would be great if we were able to directly translate other species Dr. Doolittle style, this is an over-simplified way of thinking about communication that, sadly, often provides us with incorrect or incomplete answers.
Body language can be subtle and convey complex, nuanced information that often can't be directly translated. Any given cue is a lot like a word in this regard; words can be said in different ways, with different inflections, and can be used in different combinations and contexts that alter their meaning. For this reason, this resource was made not as a translator, but as a guide in helping you better understand the nuances of parrot body language and learning how to make independent interpretations based on the bigger picture. As with most skills, this requires both aquiring knowledge and practicing what you learn. To make learning as simple and effective as possible, this resource is divided in to five different parts containing both theory and practical exercises.
INTRODUCTION AND OVERVIEW
Part 1 is all about familiarizing you with what parrots can do with their bodies, in what situations they tend to do it, and what it can look like.
The different parts and modules are structured in a way that made the most sense to me while putting this resource together. You are, however, free to jump around between the different parts and modules as you wish. It is also encouraged to go back and review previous parts and modules as you make your way through this resource.
Please note: this resource is still very new, and is a work in progress. If you would like to contribute, find any bugs or have ideas about how it can be improved, please don't hesitate to contact me. Thank you!