If you’ve been in our store, you’ve likely heard us ask that you not put our store pets on your shoulder. We don’t have a lot of rules in the store, and each one is carefully thought out. Every rule is either for the birds’ safety or your own. So why no shoulders? For us, it is a mixture of reasons, the first being liability. If a bird is on your shoulder, they have access to a lot of sensitive and important areas. Your ear, nose, eye, cheek, etc. Depending on the species, parrots can have a very significant PSI (pounds per square inch) of bite force, and can seriously do a lot of damage. We’d rather not have to send you off to the emergency room to reattach something significant. Even if the bird is friendly, if they lose their balance, they’re going to grab on (and likely give you a free ear piercing while they’re at it). Check out the picture of Bernie here when a boarding bird jumped on her shoulder and immediately tried to take her glasses off . In that vein, this rule is in place to protect you. You wouldn’t walk up to an unfamiliar large dog at the dog park and put your face next to theirs. Trust is built. What you do with your own birds won’t always fly (see what I did there?) here with our store pets. It’s not a great idea to put an animal you don’t know (especially one with such a huge PSI) close to your face. While the birds that we have out while we’re open are typically friendly and open to receiving attention, they are still parrots, and many come from unknown backgrounds. Parrots are not domesticated animals, and are only a few generations away from being wild. As tame they may become, they are still very much wild animals, and can be unpredictable. Additionally, we’ve found that many birds can become territorial and extra unpredictable when on our shoulders. They know that we can’t see or reach them up there, and can become cocky. Even birds that are typically friendly (Tazo our caique, Lou Lou our quaker, etc.) often become nippy when up on shoulders. And then you’re stuck in the situation of trying to get an unfamiliar, angry, and biting bird away from your face and off of your back where you can’t quite reach them. To best keep the situation safe and under control, it’s best that you keep the bird on your hand or arm while you’re here. That isn’t to say that there aren’t a few exceptions to this rule, of course. You’ve likely seen little Kirby, our peach faced lovebird riding around on our employee’s shoulders (Kirby is actually supervising as I type this, haha), or maybe Stewart, our cockatiel. Some of our little birds that we know and trust are allowed on shoulders here, but they are our exceptions. We know it can be a habit, or just something that feels like it should be normal (I mean, how much more stereotypical can you get than a parrot on a shoulder?), and are always watching and willing to help redirect the bird to a safer location. Our birds are fairly trained to stay off of shoulders, but of course we have a few rule breakers that still try (looking at you, Tazo and Mandy). Just do your best, and ask for help if you need it. Our goal is to keep our birds and you safe, and keeping our parrots off of our shoulders is part of that. We appreciate you doing your part and following our rules to help keep this crazy environment safe!
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