The unimpressed parrot

my budgies

Cage-free budgies.

Like you, I “love” parrots.  I love their look, their voices, their smell, how their feathers feel against my nose, how they look silhouetted against the blue, blue sky. I love how intelligent and clever they are. I love that they fly, and I cannot. To me (and I know a lot of you reading this agree) they really are the most special animal on this planet.

So, that’s why I fight for them and try to describe to people who don’t have the experiences and relationships you or I have with them why they are so very special, and deserve our compassion and our voices raised for them. I’m always thinking about them and trying to come up with new ways to get ideas across to people who don’t know or understand what really is going on with parrots today.

For example, I came across this post about an internet meme I hadn’t heard of, and it made me laugh. It’s called the “Unimpressed Meme”. There were some pretty funny examples:

And then I saw this one.


It immediately made me think of parrots and how while they are meant to fly in wide-open spaces, we (as a race) have decided to make them ours and en-cage them. Clip their wings, and own them.

Most spend a portion (some all) of their lives in their cage.

“But they aren’t meant to be in a cage! They are meant to fly free!” I shouted (to myself). This is the lament of many parrot guardians I’ve talked with: over and over again I hear people say, “If I could do it all over again, I wouldn’t get a bird. Birds are meant to fly free, not be kept in a cage.” For example, see the last paragraph in this article. I reached that epiphany myself a number of years ago. When I first became interested in parrots, I thought they were “neat” and “interesting” and yes, they were special, but I had no idea or awareness of what parrot’s “coolness” was doing to it as a species. But with time came awareness and understanding. With time came a mature “love” for parrots.

It’s the parrot guardian’s paradox:

The more we love our birds, the more we realize how wrong it is what we’re doing to them.

And so I got angry, and made some parroty versions of the gorrilla’s unimpressed comment:


After that, I calmed down and recalled that not all companion parrots spend their lives in a cage – some have guardians who have creatively allowed their birds to be cage-free. And so I thought I’d share a few of the ideas (links) I’ve come across because I’m sure you too have those moments when you are just…unimpressed…with what humans are doing to these magnificent animals and feel like throwing a fit.

Are you able to let your bird go cage-free? Please feel free to let us know what you do in the comments.


From the photographer: “If I get up after sunrise, this is what I wake up to:) Midori’s a needy boy!”

Blu surveys her realm

From the photographer: “Blu surveys her realm”

Links about Cage-free parrots:

Related parrot posters about caging parrots can be found here and here.



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5 Responses to The unimpressed parrot

  1. Angelique Holmberg September 18, 2012 at 9:18 am #

    I have two Teils, one G2 and a BWC… They spend most of their time outside the cage. They are locked in their cages at night and if I can’t be around to supervise them.

    They have climbing trees and “play grounds”. I take them outside as often as possible. When outside they are with me in a gazebo with the netting closed so they are safe.

    My house is bird proofed, but there are always dangers to a curious parrot, which is why I lock them up if they can’t be supervised. I know they don’t mind to much, they go in willingly. They know it won’t be for long. Their cages are the biggest I can get plus there’s always some special goodies and plenty of toys. Their sleeping cages are smaller but all they do is sleep in them. At 8 pm they are ready to go “good night”, and they sure will let me know that it’s time…

    I always tell people that the cages are not there for my convenience, they are there for the parrots safety.

    I wish they could be free, but since they are not, I do everything I can to make them happy, and I know they are!

    • Royse Robbins December 22, 2015 at 11:02 am #

      You are seriously the best bird mommy.

  2. David January 29, 2013 at 2:02 pm #

    I have a yellow crown Amazon. I have had him for approximately 9 years now. He spends most of his day on his perches. He has a cage and we leave the door open. At night he always climbs into the cage by himself and goes to sleep. Sometimes even during the day he will go into the cage and take a nap. He seems very content on being on his Perches. Occasionally he will climb down or fly down and roam around the house. When he does he’s usually looking for my wife or I. I have never had any problems with this arrangement. He is a very mild-mannered Amazon. I have had him since he was weaned and early on his life I caged train them (Got him used to the cage). I do not clip his wings but he does not like the fly. I know it sounds crazy a bird not wanting to fly. When he was a year old I spent a lot of time training him to fly. He got rather good at flying even indoors and outdoors. It seems as he gets older he’s getting lazier. He’s a great member of our family

  3. Bnai April 30, 2013 at 7:01 pm #

    Thanks for such poignant & well-written article. Everything you say is so true! I’d like to share a summary of the two cage-free Budgies who were in my life for several years. First, I would have never bought a bird because I don’t have it in me to cage any living creature–And I also realize that I could never meet a bird’s needs even if I didn’t cage then, because their only true freedom is out in their natural habitat. However, I “adopted” a Budgie from my 90-year-old grandmother after an ignorant but well-meaning relative bought the bird for her, not understanding that she wasn’t physically or mentally able to care for a pet. The first thing I did was spent my whole paycheck on a huge cage (its bars were appropriately spaced for a bird of he size even though the cage was intended for much bigger parrots). I learned everything I could find about Budgies and provided her with tons of toys, treats, and various perches to protect & exercise her feet. I made a couple of “play stations” throughout the house and tweaked their arrangements according to her reactions and her behavior. She and I grew to know each other so that I could eventually anticipate her needs, for example, I could tell whether a perch was ideally located or whether she might benefit from a slight rearrangement. I also rearranged her living areas every couple of months which she enjoyed. I brought her into the shower with me and discovered that she loved it. She showered with me at least once a month, but if she wasn’t in the mood for it, I could tell and I respected that. I NEVER locked her in her cage. Instead, I rigged it with multiple ladders, bendable rope perches, etc. so that she could come and go as she pleased. She never strayed from either her cage area or from one of her play stations. She knew the house like the back of her hand, so to speak, and she maneuvered like the amazing Budgie she was. I worked hard to provide as much physical and mental variety & stimulation as any human could provide for such an amazing (and angelic–yet assertive!) creature. After a few months though I couldn’t take the guilt I felt of having to leave her alone for hours at a time. Despite my opposition to buying birds, I did end up buying a second Budgie from the best local source I could find. I did feel awful buying that bird, but I had decided that it was the lesser of two evils because it was just as bad to not provide the first bird with any Budgie companion. Ultimately the first bird never was able to fly because the disgusting folks who brought her into the store and who sold her, had butchered her poor wings which the vet said was painful & which caused her to pick at the wounds. That led to chronic feather-destructive behavior. In fact she may have had PBFD but luckily her beak remained healthy through her life and she was energetic, playful, and seemed pretty happy for the six years of her life. (She died a few months ago after a short “mystery” illness.) The second bird who died a year before the first, COULD fly, and expertly maneuvered between his cage area and his play-stations. Others advise against allowing constant free-flight for safety reasons, but I decided I’d rather risk an unlikely mishap than keep the bird locked up. And because of his intelligence, his familiarity with the house, and his expertise, thankfully there never was any “mishap” and I didn’t regret my decision to forego locking them in their cage.

    • Cheryl May 1, 2013 at 9:27 am #

      Thank you so much for this comment and sharing your story! I really appreciate it: this is what we are all about. Thank you!

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