Introduction: My name is Stanley Sands, I have been around parrots since I was in Africa as an adolesent child.
My parents employed by the U.S. State Department, in Nigeria and Ethiopia, exposed me to a lot of exotic creatures at a young age, including a trio of African Grey Parrots, which they legally imported to the U.S. in the late sixties.
Eventually, as an young adult, I ended up,with one of the three imported Greys, thus beginning my almost 40 years experience living with compainions parrots.
Although I do not claim to be an expert on parrot behavior, my first pet parrot, because he was wild caught in Africa, taught me a lot about Natural Instictive Behavior In Parrots.
Later on, he showed me how certain bird toys help stimulate a parrot's natural instict to chew, and forage. This playing with chewable bird toys, foraging toys and other available stimulus re-enforced that natural behavior.
Other domestically raised parrots that I currently live with have shown me that even domestically raised birds have deeply engrained insticts which determine what kind of stimuli including toys influences their behavior in captivity.
A number of studies of various species of parrots in the wild have shown that parrots have the natural instinct to Chew on things, often a tree branch or some kind of nut or fruit with a hidden food reward inside.
My first eperiences with "Junior", my first and only "wild caught", pet parrot taught me the importance of having stimulating bird toys on hand to vent natural instincts to chew and destroy things.
On several occasions, when I had left Junior to roam outside his cage, he actually destroyed an entire section of door molding in a matter of hours. When I started deploying Chewable Bird Toys as a baby sitting option, I found his attention could be diverted from destroying the room, to chewing on his toys.
Foraging Bird Toys:
Birds in the wild also have the instinct to forage for food.
This involves flying in flocks and searching for food sources in a variety of places, including trees, or on the ground.
Often what the parrot might consider food will be the seeds inside the fruit or vegetable, instead of the fruit or vegetable itself.
In captivity your parrot is not normally a member of a flock, nor does he have the option to fly around looking for food.
Fortunately we have ways at home to simulate natural foraging activity by hiding treats and food items in toys or other things such as a paper bag loaded with treats, thus encouraging narural foraging.
Bird Perches And Swings:
My domestic raised African Grey loves to sit and swing on her perch swing, my Blue Fronted Amazon likes to chew up the very perch he stands on, and my Umbrella Cockatoo prefers to shred newspaper, and preen with fuzzy toys.
A successful home environment for your parrot will have as many the things as possible that copy the forest canopy in the wild.
Perches and swings help simulate the swaying branches and solid limbs on which he might climb, play sleep, and forage for food.
Conclusion: A pet bird that is left in a cage with nothing to do other than eat or sleep will become bored, and will most likely develop behavior problems, such as excessive screaming, biting, or feather plucking.
Furthermore, the home environment, people who live with their parrot, or parrots, become "part of their flock."
Parrots instictively need the socializing the flock provides, and if you don't spend time with your flock, behavior problems will most likely occur.
Parrots have the inate intelligence of a 3 to 5 year old child, and need attention similar to what your human child, of that age, would need.
However, when you can't be there with your bird, such as when you have to be at work, its much better to give them a variety of perches and swings, plus stimulating bird toys such as chewable, and foraging toys.
By keeping your parrot busy with toys and other goodys that support his natural instincts to chew, play and forage, your parrot will be a better behaved bird overall.