What is Socialization?
Simply put, socialization is the mechanism through which we teach our birds to function successfully within a human flock. In the wild, baby parrots remain with their parents for up to 2 years after they are weaned and fledged. This is a much longer developmental period than exhibited by other species of birds. During this extended training period they learn how to survive in their environment (what to eat, where to find it, how to eat it, how to remain safe from predators) and how to communicate with and participate as a member within their flock.
In our homes, it is through the socialization process that parrots are taught acceptable ways of interacting with their human companions, what behaviors are frowned upon and which are encouraged. Early socialization is the foundation for ensuring the healthy emotional development of a baby parrot and ultimately the potential for a successful relationship with humans, one based on trust. Properly socialized birds are self confident, outgoing, active, playful, have independence skills and adapt well to change. Poor socialization inevitably leads to behavioral problems (i.e., phobic reactions, neediness, feather picking, mutilation, aggressiveness, etc.)
Socialization is primarily accomplished by providing safe opportunities for experiential learning that are appropriate to the bird's stage of development and through nurturing guidance. It is through experience that all species learn what is safe, who to trust, what to eat, who's the leader, etc. Exposure to a wide variety of different foods, toys, environments, people and other birds will all add to your bird's learning experience and set the stage for how well he develops in his ability to form successful human bonds, adapt to change and to be a happy bird.
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