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Dear Parrots magazine,

Becoming bored and anxious

It was recently when I was asked to take a look at a friend’s friend’s Orange-winged Amazon that appeared to be sick as it was very subdued and giving rise for concern to its owners. They had taken on this Amazon, called Benny, from the husband’s family following the unexpected death of the elderly father-in-law. The mother-in-law was not able to look after Benny.

 Although I have kept parrots for many years, although in outside aviaries, the problem with this bird was not clear. It was taken to the vet by a present family member and passed as clinically fit, as no health problems were evident. The vet told the family he thought the parrot might be subject to anxiety separation or, indeed, simply bored, or a combination of both.

At that point, I remembered an article by Eb Cravens that was in the August issue of this magazine and about boredom. I went back to that issue and read what Eb had written. I thought there was little that could be done about anxiety separation, but thought there could be an issue of boredom.

The ‘new’ family was keen to keep Benny, who was believed to be about 22 years old, and also wanted him to be happy
and content.

Benny came with a large cage, but hardly with any toys apart from a very worn out chain of plastic rings. So we set about getting some stimulating toys and suggested Benny should be let out of his cage and allowed to fly. The family agreed and after some time Benny’s behaviour changed. His flying improved and he was taking a lot of interest in his new toys.

Together with an improved diet, Benny was a different Orange-wing to when I first saw him and it was Eb Craven’s article that rang the bell! After a lot of thought, my conclusion was a combination of anxiety separation and boredom. Perhaps the vet was right!

Angela Hicks, by email




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