Don’t Underestimate Your Eclectus!
Your Eclectus, along with most other types of parrots, are very curious, intelligent, investigative creatures. A few years ago opinions regarding the Eclectus were that they were dull, lethargic and not too smart, your basic perch potato. Nothing could be further from the truth.
An Eclectus will observe their surroundings or situation before they decide to take action. There have been times when I checked on Taco, our 19 year old Eclectus, only to find her sitting on her play stand watching the world go by. I return a minute or two later to find she has not only left her play stand but completely left the family room, climbed the 13 stairs to the computer room, apparently in search of her legos, which she found and was contently playing. She looked up at me as if I was the intruder. This was a quick lesson that supervision is always required when your Eclectus is out of their cage. Never Underestimate your Ekkie.
They can and do get into the most amazing and at times dangerous situations that you would never imagine. A few frightening examples: Taco was found under the rocking recliner chair, in the closet (yes, the door was closed minutes earlier), behind the desk, on the second story banister and upside down in a bucket of legos. These incidents were not due to my lack of supervision, but because she used her wings (even though that’s cheating), because she is faster at times than I am, or I had mistakenly figured there was no way she could get a sliding closet door open. Wrong! My new rule of thumb is that if you can figure out how to do something, so can your Eclectus. One major difference between a human two year old and an Eclectus is that at least the toddler can only reach so high. Your Eclectus has wings and can reach wherever they want.
Toys must be checked over very carefully! An Eclectus can and will open a quick link. IF you used the quick links, make sure they are stainless steel and that you
tighten them with pliers. There are many horror stories of Eclectus getting their beak caught in quick links after unscrewing them. Washers are sometimes used to hold wooden toy pieces part, I always take those off. The chances of an Eclectus getting the toy apart and swallowing the washer are better than you think. Eclectus and other parrots have died because it swallowed metal toy parts. Yet another Eclectus dismantled the key lock on his cage and apparently swallowed the washer (made of zinc) which may have been inside the lock mechanism. All the other lock parts were recovered at the scene of the dismantling. Unfortunately, this bird lost his life during surgery to remove the item.
Check everywhere your bird is allowed to play for objects that could hurt him or her. Check your floors daily. I know most birds are not allowed on the floor, but I also know in my house the floor is the first place Taco heads to get to someone or something she has determined she wants. Yes, she is fully flighted, but still finds the floor intriguing
Eclectus are truly talented escape artists. That’s when the entire house is open to their exploration should they escape when you are not home. Believe me, that is one heart stopping moment when you walk into the house, the cage door is open and your Ecletus is nowhere to be found! Luckily, I was able to follow the spilled bird seed, upset dog dish, strewn dog pellets and shredded newspapers to the location in which the perpetrator was caught red taloned, so as to speak. Thanks goodness there was no harm done to Taco, and me, well it took several perfectly good years off my life expectancy, but other than that I was fine too. Steps were immediately taken to foil any future escape plans. In my case, plastic tie wraps placed on the cage door, food doors and to keep the bottom grate in place were the answer. As well as stainless steel chain and padlocks (all items placed out of reach of the bird).
Cockatoos and African Greys are known for their ability to escape, to dismantle or destroy items. Be aware, the Eclectus is just as capable of this type of behavior. The only difference is that perhaps the Eclectus thinks about how to do it, and get away with it, before he/she does it. Which is a scary thought in itself.
Please take and extra moment or two to make sure your home is bird proofed. Check your bird’s toys and cage, as we all know, your birds very life depends on it.
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