Frequently Asked Questions


Why do parrots talk?

Parrots are social creatures and can easily become talking birds. They have a distinct need to participate in their “flock” and communicate with their family. They mimic your speech as a way to attract attention and get their needs met. Parrots talking is also a sign that your feathered friend is happy and has a good relationship with you. Certain breeds are more likely to mimic you than others—particularly budgies, African greys, and Amazon parrots—but talking depends on the individual bird and how vocal you or your family are.

The more you talk to your bird when it’s young, the more it will copy you and speak back. Repetition and praise are also key. If you associate words with actions and repeat them frequently, your bird will be more likely to try them. If you praise your pet when it gets the word right, it will be encouraged to keep learning. Remember, though, parrots are smart and may pick up language you don’t like if you repeat the words enough. To learn more about raising and building a healthy relationship with your parrot, just contact Sy’s Piece of Heaven in Easton, PA, by calling (908) 475-8750.

Is there more than one type of parrot?

There are many parrot species—more than 350, in fact! They range in size, color, personality, and needs. Some are large, while others are quite small. Some mimic human speech and other sounds quite well, while others never learn to “talk.” All are colorful, eat a mixed diet, and need quite a bit of socializing. Some of the most popular types for pets include the African Grey, the Lovebird, the Scarlet Macaw, and various types of Cockatoos.

Some types of parrots make better pets than others. People have lifestyles suited to specific species, too. Which bird would fit you all depends on your personality, the space you have available, and how much time and money you can spend caring for your feathered friend. Don’t get any type of parrot on a whim! Find out which kind will best fit you and how to take care of it first. If you’d like to know more about raising parrots, or you’re interested in being connected to an adoptable bird, let us know at Sy’s Piece of Heaven. You can reach our Easton, PA, sanctuary by calling (908) 475-8750.

What are common health issues that parrots deal with?

Parrots are sensitive to many different issues, just like humans, and have many potentially life-threatening health risks. Bacteria, viruses, fungus, and food poisoning are all possible problems for your feathered friend. Some of the more common illnesses include psittacosis, which creates respiratory issues and soft droppings; hypocalcaemia, which is a lack of calcium; megabacteriosis, which is a wasting disease that affects young birds; and infections from contaminated or rotten food. Your bird can also develop fungal infections that are very challenging to eliminate.

These many conditions can make your bird very sick very quickly. In some cases, one bird may carry a disease for an extended period of time without showing symptoms—but still pass it on to other birds around him or her. Just as bad, these health risks for parrots can sometimes be passed from bird to human, potentially making you sick as well. If you need more information about caring for sick birds, or you’d like to sponsor one, let us know. Sy’s Piece of Heaven works very hard to take care of the many sick and abandoned parrots currently in our sanctuary. Call (908) 475-8750 to reach us.

What type of grooming needs to be done on parrots routinely?

Parrot grooming is an important part of keeping your bird healthy. Most importantly, feathers need to be trimmed and toenails need to be clipped. Doing this correctly and using towel support may help your bird handle vet visits better, too. Grooming parrots takes time and effort to avoid stressing your feathered friend, so make sure you are careful.

Wing feather trimming doesn’t need to happen frequently and should be done with the supervision of an experienced vet or parrot groomer. Clipped feathers discourage flight, though don’t prevent it altogether. Trimming feathers too often or too aggressively can unbalance your bird and upset it, possibly leading to depression. This procedure should not be done at the same time as nail trimming.

Nail trimming keeps the claws from getting too long or sharp. Help your parrot get used to you playing with its toes before clipping the nails. Remember to stay positive, encouraging, and relaxed through all grooming. If you need help through this process, don’t try it alone! If you’d like to know more about grooming, contact Sy’s Piece of Heaven for information and tips. Call (908) 475-8750 to reach us or to find out how to help!

Do parrots need special food?

You do need to invest in special food for parrots to keep your feathered friend healthy. Parrots have specific nutrient needs. In the wild, they are able to forage for the foods that contain these nutrients. Outside of the tropical and sometimes mountainous areas where these birds live, and certainly in your home, this is not the case. You have to provide the nutrients your bird needs, which may vary depending on the species.

Some types of parrots need mostly grains and seeds, while others need more fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Many types need a mix of nuts. A few species consume insects and other invertebrates, and a few others eat mostly nectar and pollen.

The best way to offer a well-balanced diet is to keep these things in mind. Provide a high-quality, organic or all-natural dry mix of parrot food to form the base of your pet’s diet. Fresh, organic, thoroughly-washed fruits and vegetables should be added as well. Sprouted seeds make an excellent supplement. Always avoid avocadoes, apple seeds, and grapes—they’re toxic to parrots. For more information about a healthy bird diet, contact Sy’s Piece of Heaven. You can reach us by calling (908) 475-8750.

How often should a parrot get exercise?

Parrots need some kind of exercise every day. Exercise happens both inside and outside the cage when you have good bird toys, but you guarantee better care if your bird enjoys regular out-of-the-cage time.  Some bird experts recommend your bird be active around your home for a couple hours at a time to stay healthy and fit. The best thing to do is provide your bird with plenty of both chewable and durable toys for play.

Exercise for parrots doesn’t have to be difficult for you. Consider making an obstacle course of ropes and safe climbing materials for your feathered friend. Set up foraging toys in a bird-safe room. Roll a ball around with your bird while you watch TV. Swap toys out every week or few days so your parrot doesn’t have a chance to get bored. Exercise for parrots can be time consuming, but a happy and healthy bird is always worth it!

We need volunteer help at Sy’s Piece of Heaven to be able to love on our parrots and exercise them fully. If you’re interested in playing with rescued parrots, or you’d be willing to sponsor one of our birds, call (908) 475-8750.

Where do parrots originate?

Parrots are found all over the world. Their exact homes vary from species to species, though most birds live in tropical areas. The origin of most pet parrots today can vary from legally bred birds to illegally caught ones. They first arrived in the US when they were brought before there were bans and regulations on importing them. A number of varieties have since escaped or were released into the North American wilderness. In tropical areas like Florida and Southern California, they’ve succeeded in surviving there.

When you add a feathered friend to your family, it’s helpful to know where your parrot’s species originally came from, so you know more about what the breed will need to be healthy. A more immediate concern, though, is that your own parrot originates with a licensed breeder with a good reputation, or is adopted from a bird shelter. You don’t want to end up with an illegally caught parrot, or one raised in a bird “mill.” Also, if there ever comes a time you can’t keep your feathered friend, don’t just release it—let a sanctuary like ours help you. Contact Sy’s Piece of Heaven for more information by calling (908) 475-8750.

Can my own hygiene and cleanliness affect my bird?

Yes, your own cleanliness can be the difference between a healthy pet bird and a sick one. Birds get sick very easily, and they can catch bacteria from you. Anything you touch can potentially be unclean and make your parrot sick. It’s a good rule of thumb to wash your hands both before and after handling your feathered friends. If you have more than one parrot, wash your hands in between handling each bird. Make sure you wash all of your parrot’s fresh food thoroughly, too.

Your home hygiene also matters, particularly when it comes to your parrot’s cage. Your bird’s cage must be cleaned carefully every single day. Replace the lining and wash out food and water bowls before refilling them. Parrots are highly sensitive to chemicals, too, so make sure you only use bird-safe cleaners around the cage and around your home.

Don’t take anything for granted! Our team at Sy’s Piece of Heaven parrot sanctuary are very familiar with cleanliness and birds. Contact us by calling (908) 475-8750 if you’d like tips or more information about this topic, or if you’d like to learn about caring for parrots through volunteering at the sanctuary.