Renée 🐝 Cormier

6 years ago · 3 min. reading time · ~100 ·

Renée 🐝 blog
Help! I've Got Bird Brain!

Help! I've Got Bird Brain!

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People think I’m crazy. “What are you doing with four parrots?” I get it. I never imagined I would ever become a bird person. I grew up with dogs, and later, cats. I loved them and still do. The way I see it, there are basically two kinds of people in this world; critter people and everybody else. I learned something about animals when I started to notice the amazing qualities of parrots. To know one is to love one. You may think you’re not a bird lover, a cat lover or even a reptile lover, but until you actually get to know one and see the personality of the individual animal, you don’t really know. I contend that if you love cats and think you hate dogs, there will always be a dog somewhere that will make you change your mind (and vice versa).

I remember being at the vet one day and someone had to put their rabbit down. He was 15 years old and a big bunny, indeed. The man who brought the rabbit to the vet was crying. I was a bit surprised. Who cries over a rabbit? They don’t make a sound. What do they do? Sit in a pen and poop all day?

Fast forward many years later. My brother’s kids found a domestic rabbit at the end of their driveway. They already had a dog and didn’t want to keep the rabbit, but you know how kids are. The next thing they knew the bunny was named Kevin (that still makes me laugh) and was soon best friends with their dog, Laila. Their friendship even made the evening news. Looking at Laila and Kevin in the video, I realize there is a lot to love about a rabbit, after all.

How did I become a bird person when I was so strictly a cat and dog lover? 

When I first started dating my husband we would go to a pet store which was located near a movie theatre. After a night at the movies, we’d wander over to the pet store and look at the parrots. They had a sun conure there named Charlie who was positively brilliant. Gorgeous colours, smart, charming; he had all the traits of a wonderful pet. A few years later my husband got a job working for a major pet store chain and we thought we might be able to get a deal on a bird. Well, one bird lead to another and then there were four. Nuts, I know. My husband had a way of getting me caught up in his enthusiasm. Notice I said, “Had”. I finally put a stop to the madness a few years ago, but I still have four parrots who will likely outlive me and my children.


Do they bite? Yes, and the big birds are definitely not for the faint of heart. They will often bite you just as a joke. They can be assholes that way. 

Do they talk? Yes. Some have more to say than others. 

Are they messy? Very. That’s why they have their own room which is soundproof because they are also very loud at times. 

Are they clever? You bet. 

Are they cuddly? Yes. They are all that and more. Their most redeeming quality is that they make me laugh pretty well every day. It really does make up for a lot.


If you asked me if you should get a parrot, I would tell you not to. They are a lot of work and the commitment is longer than your commitment to your own children would naturally be. Most parrots get re-homed an average of five times in their lives. That’s sad.


The parrots cost a lot of money to buy, but the greatest expense is in maintaining them and accommodating them over their lifetime. We had to build our birds a room in every house we owned. Say goodbye to $15-20, 000 each time. They need air filters and a heater in their room. That drives up your electric bill. The vet bill for wing, beak and nail maintenance is about $2000 per year. Food is $100 per month. Wood toys etc. which they need for chewing and to prevent boredom can run several hundred dollars per year. Sometimes I think I’d rather take a nice vacation somewhere. That reminds me. Parrots really tie you down because they need to be looked after by someone who can actually handle them. Remember the biting? Care takers need to be trained and the birds have to get used to you being there. Needless to say, I rarely go anywhere. That’s a real bummer.

So here I am telling you all the reasons to avoid getting a parrot and I can hear my Macaw, Buster meowing like a cat and singing his made-up songs to his three roommates, Sophie, Larry and Oliver. Now I’m giggling and back in love with my birdies, fool that I am.



Renée 🐝 Cormier

5 years ago #21

I did do a live buzz quite some time ago with them playing catch. I also have a thousand videos on my phone. LOL

Renée 🐝 Cormier

6 years ago #20

Birds definitely come with their downside. They are all free spirits, I'm afraid. :)

Renée 🐝 Cormier

6 years ago #19

The hidden costs are one of the least charming features of parrots, for sure!

Jim Murray

6 years ago #18

That was lovely. I had no idea you were a parrot person. I love the idea of them. I used to have a parakeet named Billy. He flew all over the place and crapped on all our paintings. He was a good bird although totally untrainable. A free spirit I assume.

Graham🐝 Edwards

6 years ago #17

Ren\u00e9e Cormier you should get a cat... I mean, just to say. lol

Renée 🐝 Cormier

6 years ago #16

That's interesting!

Renée 🐝 Cormier

6 years ago #15

Thanks, Lisa. You understand my folly. Even a guinea pig can be sweet and lovable.

Lisa Gallagher

6 years ago #14

Ren\u00e9e Cormier, I knew parrots are very smart but I had no idea how much the up-keep is. I could never do it! Kudos to you. I had a parrot talking to me when I took a trip to our humane shelter this summer. The parrot was even repeating a few things I said. So cool but not for me! My daughter had guinea pig and it's name was Skittles, she named her. Skittles was like a loving kitty cat. I would go in to check on Skittles because my daughter was 13 at the time and I could not trust her to take care of her pet like an adult would. One day I walked in and Skittles hadn't eaten or drank her food in 2 days. I felt her and she was very cold too. I tried to feed her with my hands and a dropper, it didn't work. I took her to the Vet the next day. I had her in a box and I was used to bringing my dog to the Vet, not a guinea pig! All of a sudden I heard, "Skittles, you can come back." I felt almost embarrassed and looked around to see if anyone was chuckling. Skittles??? That was the only humorous part of the trip. Once I brought her in, they said she had pneumonia and was bleeding internally. I had her put to sleep. Again, I never imagined I would bring a Guinea pig to the vet and then have her put to sleep. I never imagined I would cry. I cried like a baby! So yes, we can get attached to pets we would not have dreamed of. She loved being held and would always climb on your lap and look into your eyes. She wasn't a biter, just sweet. Thanks for sharing, this is good information for others to know! Your parrots are beautiful by the way.

Renée 🐝 Cormier

6 years ago #13

If I could only keep one bird, it would be the smallest one, for the exact reasons you mention. The bigger birds are more destructive, require a lot more handling and attention and are much messier. I do love them all, however. They have their own little personalities and they are quite loving. It's funny, though. If your dog bit you, you would give it away or put it down. Bird owners are much more tolerant. If you fail to read your bird's body language, you will get bitten, so we tend to blame ourselves.

Renée 🐝 Cormier

6 years ago #12

I will check that out. Bird people are good people!

Renée 🐝 Cormier

6 years ago #11

Think small and make sure you learn what you need to do well before you buy one. The smarter the bird, the more work required, btw.

Renée 🐝 Cormier

6 years ago #10

Good idea.You are definitely a smart man!

Renée 🐝 Cormier

6 years ago #9

Very funny! You make me laugh , too!

Ken Boddie

6 years ago #8

I can understand your attraction with parrots, Renée, as I have a cockatiel who has featured in a couple of my buzzes. But she's small, manageable, loves her head to be scratched, doesn't bite, stays close to her cage (most of the time) and loves our Queensland warm weather (so no expensive rooms and heaters). We also stay in touch with the breeder, her Auntie Maureen, from whom we originally got her, and she goes back to see her Auntie Maureen for regular visits when we go away. But she can be very messy, even more so when she's laid eggs, and she makes a lot of noise when she wants attention. Don't think I could handle the biting, larger mess, louder noise, and general maintenance of a larger bird, never mind four! Geez, Renée, your mother must have taken you to see a lot of pirate movies when you were young?

Pascal Derrien

6 years ago #7

wow that's a big commitment tom animals :-)

Paul Walters

6 years ago #6

Ren\u00e9e Cormier $15- $20 K to build a room to house a bird !!! I thoughts kids were expensive ! And they bite/peck? Well, even if they do sing, recite poetry and dance about I think I'll avoid being a parrot owner for now....just saying !

Randy Keho

6 years ago #5

Quip of the day goes to Kevin. I could add something about ears, but I won't. Damn, did I write that out loud.

Milos Djukic

6 years ago #4


Kevin Pashuk

6 years ago #3

A rabbit named Kevin? I guess that's appropriate. After all, I have a receding 'hare' line...

Milos Djukic

6 years ago #2

Ren\u00e9e Cormier, I have a a parrot since my earliest childhood. Therefore kidding, and say sometimes that I am a fractal bird too:) "ScienceShot: What Birds Know About Fractal Geometry" By Sid Perkins

Randy Keho

6 years ago #1

Talking birds are a hoot! But, if dogs could talk, I'd have never gotten married. Talk about high maintenance.

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