TV Watching Is For the Birds

I’m the proud owner of a 12-yr old grey-cheeked Conure. We named him ’Gauguin’ due to his similar color palette that matches the famous artist’s work — namely, viridian green, teal, cadmium yellow, red ochre and zinc white. He’s a very savvy bird, who packs a lot of personality into his small frame. From my personal observation and reports I have researched, it’s apparent that my pre-teen feathered friend has the reasoning power of at least a 5-yr old child.

So with that level of intelligence, it's often a task to keep him occupied and stimulated throughout the day. To that end, we purchase an assortment of toys we change over time, in addition to musical interludes that seem to calm him during the times he appears agitated.

His vocabulary has expanded to almost a dozen words. Of course, we admittedly characterize a lot of his language as “Gauganese,” since his pronunciation of certain catch-phrases — such as “I love you” —  can only be understood by myself and family members. But that’s just fine, because as any bird owner will tell you — the happiest parrots are those who spend a lot of personal time chatting it up with their peeps [pun intended.]

Let us entertain you

However, since there is no way to be in your bird's company 24/7, it is incumbent on bird owners to find alternate forms of entertainment. TV watching is a great way to occupy your bird’s time when you’re in another room or have left him or her home alone. While quiet time is always welcome when your bird wants to catch a cat nap, long periods of 'alone-time' can be lonely and depressing.

Since birds are naturally interested in different sounds, noises and color, TV is a great option, as long as they are within close proximity to your set.

As far as TV-watching preferences, you might want to keep an ongoing log as to which TV shows your bird responds to more than others. This can easily be determined if you begin to hear them talk back to the TV during various shows, or spend a good amount of time viewing certain shows.

I personally have found Gauguin engaging more with cartoons more than dramas or comedy programming. Since animation and colors morph at a fast pace, Gauguin seems to go into somewhat of a trance when cartoons like 'Thomas The Train' are on the air. Birds can discern primary colors — so, pick out cartoons that include brilliant hues that will both entertain and relax your bird.

Shows like 'Animal Planet' are also entertaining for birds, as long as you don’t select story-lines that feature potential predators that might agitate or make them fearful. TV shows that feature music, such as concerts or theatrical musicals seem to catch Gauguin’s attention for longer periods of time than those with too much dialogue.

Watch Your Language

Our bird is a very good listener too. On many occasions, he will actually repeat the words he knows, when he hears them uttered on TV. There’s been a good number of instances when I’ve caught him repeating the words “Good Morning” or “Good Night” when he hears a TV actor saying the same.

Of course the downside of language on TV is whether or not the shows you're tune into are approved for all audiences. Adult viewing might not be the best shows for your bird. For instance, if have the DVR set to the old HBO hit show Deadwood, I don’t think you’d like your bird repeating the F-Bomb used repeatedly by almost all the characters throughout each episode. Remember — repetition is how your bird learned most of his words to begin with.

And oddly enough, in today’s hot-wired cultural climate, there are NOW certain political news shows you might want to strike from your TV watch list. For instance, in our household, we always change channels when President Trump speaks. After all, you never know when he’ll resort to one of the leader-of-the-free-world's off-color remarks.

Primary Source: Steps to Prevening Boredom in Pets



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