Over a remote village in the Moskitia region of Honduras flies the critically endangered Central American subspecies of scarlet macaw. In admiration of these beautiful rainbow birds and in dedication to their cause, one man once called Rus Rus his home. His name was Tomas Manzanares, a respected leader of the indigenous village. One day, Tomas grew weary of nefarious elements trespassing on ancestral lands and exploiting their precious resources. Trees were felled, parrots were taken, and the land was stolen. In a courageous act, Tomas reported the names of the perpetrators to the authorities. Unfortunately, the government turned a blind eye, but the criminals did not. They waited in ambush near the river, where Tomas took his daily bath, and mercilessly shot him multiple times. Miraculously, he survived, but his fellow villagers fled, fearing for their own lives.
Tomas, with his hard-earned wisdom, reaffirmed a profound and healing truth. We inhabit a shared Earth, where the well-being of every species and individual is intricately interconnected, forming an interdependent whole. If one suffers, we all suffer. On the flip side, by assisting one, we uplift the many, ourselves included. The Parrots feel the same way we do. They can also empathize, rejoice, and therefore console. How are relationships with a parrot worse than human relationships? Well, this is a complex and controversial question, but we will try to understand the influence of parrots on people and whether they can provide psychological support.
The Role of Parrots Supporting Human Relationships
Building relationships with people is not easy, especially if a person has lost trust in them. This could be a disappointment due to betrayal or death. Maybe you shouldn’t force him to take such a step and start with something smaller – relationships with parrots. Society tries to rank us according to a kind of rating: a person from a rich area is more important, and a person from a rural area is secondary. There was even a show called Farmer Wants a Wife based on this topic, which clearly shows the difference in attitude. Against this background, you can take a step aside and get out of this cycle by simply starting to communicate with parrots. They have no demands, their love does not depend on a person’s status. Here are some interesting stories about the role of parrots in restoring relationships between people.
The Mike Flennikan Story
Mike Flennikan served a combat tour in Vietnam. He also served 22 years in prison for armed robbery. Zoe, an African Gray, means more to Flennikan than just a breakfast date. “If you’d-a told me five years ago that I’d be sitting in a cage like this, petting a bird, I’d-a told you, ‘You’re outta your mind!’ She adopted me three days after I got here.”
“I think she immediately saw something in me that I needed, you know?” Flennikan said. “I mean, she makes me feel like I’m important to her, you know? And I can’t explain it because I don’t know enough about parrots or birds or anything, but it’s just a great feeling.”
At Serenity Park, Zoe and three dozen other birds participate in an animal therapy program that pairs them with veterans suffering from PTSD. The veterans claim that, somehow, the parrots can connect with them in a way that no human therapist ever could.
Lilly Love Story
Lilly Love, a former Coast Guard Rescue swimmer, lost nearly all of her buddies in a chopper crash. Since then, she battled depression and drug abuse, came out as transgender, and spent a lot of time in therapy. Nothing worked until she started coming to Serenity Park, which she described as “coming back to home for me.
“I sincerely prefer these birds over people, to be honest,” Love explained. “The birds taught me patience and trust. They’ve shown me how to find joy and fun even in the midst of pain.”
Psychologist Lorin Lindner
Psychologist Lorin Lindner came up with the concept of Serenity Place after seeing the positive interaction between veterans and parrots at another sanctuary she managed in northern L.A.
“I noticed a remarkable transformation in them,” Lindner said, “holding the birds in their arms, speaking to them tenderly—a bond I hadn’t observed during group therapy.”
Thus, ten years ago, Lindner convinced the V.A. Medical Center to provide some land for a handful of bird cages, and with a donation-based budget, Serenity Park was established.
How does Caring for Birds Intersect with Caring for Yourself and Other People?
One of the greatest sources of happiness for humans is caring for others. It doesn’t matter what species they belong to. Caring for birds, whether they’re near or far, brings vitality, happiness, and richness to your life. Additionally, living a life aligned with your values, where birds and their well-being are highly esteemed, helps you integrate your behavior with your values. This integration brings you satisfaction and a deep indwelling source of happiness and joy. By doing everything you can to care for birds, you not only express your values, but also contribute in a way that wards off helplessness, despair, or victimhood. Taking action empowers yourself and others to do even more.
Knowing everything we can about the ways and expressions of nature helps us live in a way that stems from our deepest understanding of reality. It’s not based on the biases of our own culture, which tends to favor humans and the powerful. Understanding the essence of nature helps us realize that we belong on this planet. We need never experience existential angst or loneliness because we are just one animal species among many, interconnected with others in the web of life. Recognizing that other species have agency, mind, body, and nature aspects to their well-being not only welcomes us into the family of things but also enables us to welcome others by caring for them and allowing them to live in peace. By helping others, we ensure an ecosystem and Earth that can support a wide variety of life, including the human species. Additionally, we uphold the highest levels of biodiversity, beauty, and wildness, which studies have shown contribute to our well-being.
Although birds may not be the conventional choice as therapeutic animals, like dogs or cats, their benefits are undeniable. They introduce humans to a colorful world filled with songs and activities, offering a unique avenue for therapy and emotional well-being.