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Introducing Your Bird To A Significant Other

Written by Nikki, NeapolitanSixth

A pair of lovebirds

So you've found the perfect match. You can talk to them for hours, and they even laugh at your jokes! One sunny day, they ask the dreaded question: Why don't we have dinner at your place?

Why the apprehension? Most pet owners know this fear: you suddenly realize that you are in fact in another relationship: one with a little feathered spouse waiting at home.

Thankfully, all of my birds have always known my fiancÚ John and I as a family group. My first bird, Sophie came to me when we were dating. Bartok followed a year later (quickly becoming a "daddy's boy", I might add), and both Winston and Stella were adopted shortly after. But even though they always knew John, he was never their primary caretaker. Through hard work, all of them share a cordial relationship with him at the very least, and he in turn showers them with love and kindness. There is a way for everyone to live together peacefully!

Trouble in parrot-dise

Recently, a friend of mine and I had a conversation about birds. Terry*, her mother, had been dating a wonderful man for a year, but her only problem with him was his janday conure, Queso. Queso was adopted by Steve* when she was three years old. She had previously been re-homed twice and was severely neglected. Steve took the time to rehabilitate her and even made his spare room into a giant bird fun gym. It's understandable why Queso would form such an attachment to Steve; he was the first person to let her feel loved.

Terry is a kind woman, but admits that she has never been a pet person. She tried to bribe Queso with treats and toys, but Queso's heart refused to budge. She was at her wit's end.

Unfortunately, Queso became quite ill during the summer and had to visit the vet many times. Terry had an idea. When Steve dropped Queso off, Terry always made sure she was the one to pick her up. This way, Queso could see that she was a rescuer, and learn to trust her more. Also, after Steve was done giving Queso medication, Terry held the ruffled bird and give her some of her favorite goodies. Gradually, Queso began opening up.

In time, an amazing thing happened. Terry and Steve met in their church choir, so it was only natural that she would like to sing. One day, as she hummed a hymn to herself, she noticed that Queso started bobbing her head and chirping in a singsong way (or, as singsong as conures can get). Terry stopped singing to marvel at this sight, and Queso stopped bobbing. It became a game special to the two of them, and every time Terry came over, she would greet Queso by singing.

The relationship between Terry and Queso improved with some help from Steve as well. Steve would always make sure to come greet Queso first when he came home with Terry so she would not be perceived as a threat. He also included Terry in the games he and Queso liked to play (hide under the blanket, tug-of-war) so Queso knew that Terry was going to be part of the flock as well.

Happily ever after

Introducing your feathered buddy to your new significant other is possible, but it will take some time and effort from all parties depending on the personality of the bird. The people in this story were extremely dedicated to troubled little Queso and eventually they were able to get through to her. Fortunately, most birds don't have the same history Queso did and are more apt to trust new people. One important thing to remember is to always socialize your bird and expose him to new situations and people. Birds that become territorial over their owners when a boyfriend or girlfriend is introduced usually have a problem with new people in general. Just make sure that all socialization is done in a clean, safe environment where your bird will not get sick.

And always remember: patience and kindness go a long way!

*Names have been changed.
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