The Parrot Keyboard

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What do you need to know about parrots?

In addition to being intelligent and verbal, parrots can be remarkably destructive.

Parrot got out of cage and destroyed office
(used by permission)

(Think of 3-year-olds, with power tools.)

For the larger parrots, only Ironwood and Manzanita are really tough enough to use as perches. Other hardwoods and softwoods are used as chew toys, to be shredded into toothpicks.

Judith's Zu
Hyacinth macaw, eating a macadamia nut
©Judith Archer, used with permission

The crushing strength of the large parrot beak is great enough to successfully attack any of the hard-shelled nuts (brazil nuts, almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, etc.) or to snap a large hardwood dowel. Stories of parrots snapping broomsticks may be apocryphal, but stories of severed fingers are not.

Judith's Val, showing claw
Greenwing Macaw, holding a banana
©Judith Archer, used by permission

Parrots have the equivalent of an opposable thumb, with two toes pointing forward and two toes pointing back. They can stand on one foot, grasping, while using the other foot and their beak to manipulate objects.

Prospero with Diane
Diane and Prospero, our Blue and Gold Macaw

Parrots are flock animals and tend to pair bond with their owner/caregiver. Depending on the species, parrots live for 30 to 70 years.

Parrots are among the few animals kept as pets that are prey animals (as opposed to predators, like cats and dogs). They tend to be suspicious of anything new introduced into their environment.

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