Readers of this blog are familiar (probably too familiar) with my pet, Parrot:
I take bird ownership very seriously, and I try to give her the best possible care that I can (I really need to get her a mate–it’s unnatural for parrots to live alone. She gets to see and hear my other birds, but they’re a different species and originated on a different continent, so they don’t speak the same birdie language or communicate very well. Parrot is African and the others are New World birds).
Anyway, avian vets and bird behaviorists agree that it is important to give captive parrots the opportunity to forage for things like they do in their natural state. It stimulates them mentally and discourages neurotic behaviors and boredom. In the wild, they’re always hunting around for food and chewing things up and exploring stuff. In captivity, they mostly just sit on their ass all day and move ten inches to partake in an ever-abundant supply of food. Kind of like most Americans.
So, pet companies have designed “foraging toys.” The bird has to work to get the treats out of them. Foraging toys are a huge hit. I make homemade forging toys with paper towel tubes and other stuff, but they’re not particularly challenging. I decided that it was time to get Parrot a real, top-of-the-line foraging toy. I found it on Amazon. The reviewers were all, “My bird LOVES this thing! Keeps him busy for hours!” Here it is, the “Creative Foraging Systems Hide & Seek Refillable Canister”:
|It wasn’t cheap, either.|
I hung that baby in her cage and waited for the fun to begin! I think I was more excited about it than she was. Actually, I know I was. Because this is what it looks like one week later:
|Parrot has declined to forage.|
NOTICE ANYTHING? She hasn’t touched it. Not once. It looks like it just came out of the box. She doesn’t even look at it. I wonder if this is what parents feel like when they buy their kid a brand new bike and the kid doesn’t ever ride it. For her part, she probably feels like she got socks for Christmas.
Know what Parrot’s favorite toy is…? A little hardwood log with holes drilled into it. I buy cheap wooden spoons from the $.99 store and stick them through the holes, and then hang it from the top of her cage. She goes bonkers for it. Amazingly, it never gets old to her. I don’t get it. Here is Parrot’s favorite toy, which she chooses over the expensive, state-of-the-art foraging device:
Yup. Wooden spoons stuck on a log. Party down, Parrot.