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So You Want a Cape Parrot? Review of Cape Parrots as Pets

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So You Want a Cape Parrot? Review of Cape Parrots as Pets

Postby Michael » Wed Nov 28, 2012 5:30 pm

So You Want a Cape Parrot? Review of Cape Parrots as Pets

This article is a review of the Cape Parrot species based on my personal experience and talking to other Cape Parrot owners. I often get asked what it's like to own a Cape so here it is, the good, the bad, and the ugly.
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Michael
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Re: So You Want a Cape Parrot? Review of Cape Parrots as Pets

Postby sighthoundlover » Wed Nov 28, 2012 6:28 pm

Excellent article. Thank you for your thoroughness and honesty!!!!
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Re: So You Want a Cape Parrot? Review of Cape Parrots as Pets

Postby mfs » Wed Nov 28, 2012 7:35 pm

Wow. Are you sure that these aren't traits particular to *your* Cape?

This post makes some pretty big generalizations and a pretty stark categorical statement that is based on experience with one bird, which appears to have a few traits in common with a few other Capes (particularly being stubborn). Animals are individuals, particularly the more intelligent ones. I've seen two birds from the same clutch who have different personalities, just like I've seen two dogs from the same litter (let alone the same breed) have very different personalities.

My Cape is younger, so I have limited standing to argue. He's about 9 months old, so some of these traits Michael describes could very well could show up in the future. But my guy is easily led and trained (he'll do anything for a nut), never throws a fit, and is pretty easygoing for a parrot. He's great with my kids, who range from 6 - 13. He's also a bit clumsy and a bit careless about stepping in his waste, so, yes, he apparently does have some less desirable traits in common with Truman. I wouldn't say he smells--although he does have nut breath! I wont generalize either way from these experiences. Mine may be the exception or the rule, just as Truman may be representative or not.

My decision to get a bird was more recent, so my research was more recent, and I'd say that there *is* some informative material out there, particularly over at Avian Avenue. I'd urge people to look at that material and other things. Go visit Mytoos for that matter, to effectively hear why nobody should ever own a bird. However, so far, I haven't regretted it a second.

Finally, I'd like to thank Michael for running a fantastic site. I've been lurking here long enough to know that it's safe to disagree with him on his site, which is pretty cool. I find his opinions too stark sometimes, but I get where he's coming from. He does not want to see these intelligent animals abused, abandoned, or neglected.

Heck, when I think about how most people are, maybe I should just agree with Michael. If you are like most people, you probably shouldn't get a bird, or a dog, or even a goldfish. I'm skeptical that Capes are particularly difficult birds, however. I find Cockatoos and Macaws far more intimidating for extensively documented reasons, while conures seem ear-splittingly loud. I find my Cape quite pleasant to be around.
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Re: So You Want a Cape Parrot? Review of Cape Parrots as Pets

Postby Natacha » Wed Nov 28, 2012 9:16 pm

I agree with some parts, the stubbornness, the throwing tantrums (which only really started a little while ago). However, I did expect some type of "rebellious" behaviour, and the timing might be right, as she was to shed her baby ways and become an "adult". I was not expecting easy sailing the whole way through.

However, I wouldn't call Léa smelly (there isn't any real odor emanating from her), and while she was a clumsy baby, I wouldn't call her anymore accident prone than any of my other birds. She's very rarely come into a situation where she would have bled or gotten a scuff.

The screaming you showed - she never does that out of her cage. She will, and this is not everyday, do it when she feels it's her turn to come out of her cage but if we pay no attention to it, she'll be done with it in five minutes and just proceed to play with something else.

I don't exactly train my birds in the same way, but I can generally get her to come to me if I'm in a bind and she's been uncooperative, if I have a pumpkin seed or almond handy.
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Re: So You Want a Cape Parrot? Review of Cape Parrots as Pets

Postby Michael » Thu Nov 29, 2012 12:23 am

Thanks for the comments. Let me just clarify about generalizations that I made. When I wrote things about Truman, I am speaking about the individual. When I wrote Cape Parrots, then I am basing this on my Cape as well as anything I've read or other people I have talked to that concurred. Although I quoted two people, I would say the pool of sources I gathered my generalizations from was over 10. I realize this is still a very small sample but this is the best we can really do with such a rare parrot. If I avoid using generalizations all together, then this would be only a biography of my bird and serve little purpose for people trying to weigh whether or not to consider the species.

Mfs, thanks for being understanding. Considering your Cape is only 9 months, I would say it really is too soon to say. When Truman was less than 1, he was such a baby, easy going, fairly quiet, and more "respectful" in that he'd go along with stuff I did or requested. As he's getting older, he's definitely becoming much more stubborn and difficult. Although he has always let off some noisy calls, the more extensive screaming or endless chirping (or whatever you'd call what he did in the video) is a newer development. Just out of interest's sake I want to point out that Kili went through a phase of making weird repetitive noises any time she was around me near 2 years old as well. Luckily she grew out of it, so I'm hoping that with patience and ignoring this will be the case with Truman as well.

I also realize that Truman is still young and maturing. However, I am to some extent comparing to what I had gone through with Kili at similar stages so I can confidently say he's more troublesome and difficult. The being too smart for his own good description is a large part of it. As for being smelly, it's not much and I'm used to it. However, by contrast to other parrots it is pretty distinct. I suspect it is the smell of his poop and the fact that he is very generous with it so the smell is present in his general vicinity. It's not just me, when I visited Ginger, she noticed the smell too and I also noticed that 8 Senegals combined don't make as much odor as a single Cape. Still it's not much but by comparison I just found it noticeable. I've never smelled another Cape so in that regard I can't say.

When it comes to being clumsy, this is the impression I got not only from Truman but also his breeder and from Maria who owns a brother of his. Now it may just be that the breeding pairs from that breeder are more prone to being clumsy than others but to the greatest extent of what I've learned, this seems fairly universal.

Natacha, I really hope you can attempt to detail specific examples of the Cape Parrot stubbornness. It's really hard to put down in writing but it's a very stark impression that Cape owners seem to share.

Let me end by clarifying that Truman is well trained and well behaved most of the time. It's not that he won't step up for me, defies me, tests me, or causes trouble always. 70-95% of the time he is cooperative and things are fine. 99.9% of the time he will step up. However, by comparison to Kili (even 2 years back when she was rebellious and his age), he comes off as more problematic. Kili steps up what would basically round off to 100% of the time. She never throws this kind of fit where I can't get her. I can grab Truman, cuddle him, play with him, put him away in the cage, recall fly him, and all that kind of stuff without treats/training most of the time. But unlike with Kili, there are times that he doesn't want it and when he has his stubborn little Cape head set on something, nothing in that moment can be done to change it!
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Re: So You Want a Cape Parrot? Review of Cape Parrots as Pets

Postby Marsha » Thu Nov 29, 2012 9:29 am

Hey Michael, thanks for the info. I'm also considering a Cape and I'm visiting a breeder probably this weekend, so I'm glad you showed the downside of having a Cape.
Although you (wanted to) make it sound having a Cape is a bad idea, I'm not really scared off by your review.
At the moment I have 2 eclectus males and they're completely different, characterwise.
Phoenix is a bit shy put is very trainable and I've learned him many tricks already, while Phantom couldn't care less and I havent been able to teach him anything.

I think you already saw this video of them:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUN0JN18Lcc

Phoenix can't wait to get the treat out whille Phantom is just waiting for Phoenix when he's done doing the work. He doesnt try it himself, so maybe he is smarter than Phoenix, or wayyyyy more stupid, I don't know.

I’ve tried it when Phoenix wasn't close by, than he just calls him to do it for him. I tried it when Phoenix wasnt in the room, he just looks at the tower, turns around and walks away.
When I get the floor toys out, Phoenix gets the cups and starts putting other toys in it and plays nicely, while Phantom just runs around throwing and kicking all the toys around or tries to steal the toy Phoenix is playing with. In spite of all that, they are best friends.
So eventhough they are the same specie, same gender and the same age, they dont look alike at all, characterwise.

Most of the things you wright you put away as character trades for Capes and I know you explainted why, but I think you can never compare 2 birds with each other, and always have to be prepared for everything when you get a new bird because it is an individual with it's own character. Ofcourse there are "guidelines" when it comes to species but you just never know what you're gonna get.
Phantom is messy too, and walks around in its own poop whenever he can. He sometimes poops on Phoenix too, that's how dirty he is. And he is clumpsy too, always has been. He never looks where he is walking and most often trips over a toy when he walks on the ground. His feather are ruffled most of the time and when he was younger at one time he had only 4 tailfeathers left because he broke the rest because he always fell or did stupid things. And he is definetly not a Cape. Phoenix at the other hand always looks perfect and never walks in the dirt. But I wouldnt put Phantom's messiness away as a bad character trade because it's just a little more cleaning. If I wanted a clean pet I should have gotten something else.
And I dont know if you ever smelled an Eclectus, but they smell too when they are exited, scared etc. And they scream too and that can be an earpiercing sound.
And they also have periods that they’re trying to test me again, I think every parrot does that every once in a while.
The bad comes with the good.

What I’m trying to say is that what you find irritating, might not be irritating for someone else. So because you don’t like Truman being stuborn, that doesnt mean someone else would call that a really bad character trade. Some people keep up with screaming/biting cockatoo’s, I wouldnt do that, but they dont seem to mind. But its good that you point out the “flaws” of Truman and people, including me, can take that in consideration.

Sorry for any missspellings, I'm from holland ;)
:eclectus:Phoenix & Phantom + Skull :cape:
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Re: So You Want a Cape Parrot? Review of Cape Parrots as Pets

Postby purringparrot » Thu Nov 29, 2012 11:23 am

That was a very good write up and I do agree with a lot of the bad. I liked that you show the wing stretch which is their hello. Since Jupiter is around so many different types of birds he has learned all of their calls and what they say. He goes through his reportie every morning. Right now he is working on cat meows. I still need to get him on video doing this but he clams up in front of the camera. He does talk away with people when they are there and always asks "How are you doing" in his deep voice. He also changes his voice with his human speech too. He also goes off on tagents that can get very loud and when that happens I start whistling which he quickly starts doing and that calms him down. I have learned that he won't quite down but I can substitute that sound for something less ear splitting then his sun conure imatations.
I do have to say that I think they talk better then the greys I have met and he makes up a lot of his own sentences.
You hit the stubborness right on. I learned about how bad it can be from Thor's website and also my own experience.
Food motivation isn't big with Jupiter but a favorite toy piece is. As far as injuries, his only bad one was fracturing the end of his beak. Now I make sure that when it gets to long to take him in and get it groomed. Every now and then he will get a scrape but overall is good. His poop factor is good and he doesn't get poopy foot plus it isn't smelly. He does like to smear his bedtime mush of sweet potatoes and banana all over his cage while eating it.
He cannot be trusted around any of our guest birds, not even the big ones. He is buddies with our grey though and they preen each other and hang out but after 5 minutes or so they get on each others nerves and start beak sparring, and who backs down most of the time? Our grey, Sodapop.
Totally agree with many of the things said. I have thought about trying a harness on Jupiter but the pain of those bites aren't worth it.
Would I still get a cape, yes, but this breed is not for a first time owner.
I also forgot, Jupiter is a fantastic flyer, I tried clipping his wings jusy a little, so he could be around the guest birds but it did make him more clumsy. I won't clip them again. He and our grey will race each other and Jupiter always wins because he does some crazy darting turns to cut Sodapop off. He is like a little green bullet and very good at corners.
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Re: So You Want a Cape Parrot? Review of Cape Parrots as Pets

Postby Mona » Fri Nov 30, 2012 3:55 pm

Hi Michael:

I enjoyed your article but I wonder if your impressions are such because you are comparing Truman to a Senegal parrot. Senegal parrots are not typical to most parrots, especially in terms of training motivation. Senegals are a lot more focused and very easy to motivate. Also...differences can also be attributed to the fact that you are comparing a male parrot to a hen.

I think you could have written the article the same just saying "My hen does this, my male parrot does that". People don't often realize how different sexes have different behaviors - that may or may not be indicative of how they respond to cues. My male Senegals are night/day from my hen. Still smart, still responsive, still eager to please...but different.

Also, you do use food management and you will get different reactions in terms of cue-response without food management. Personally, I don't use much food management and get good responses from my greys depending on time of day. Greys are also A LOT different from Senegals. Senegals are just really, really easy to train. For senegals, the downside can be quick aggressive/fear responses....but that's just the flip side effect of sharpened and alert responsiveness combined with an animal that knows it has freedom of movement.

Finally, have you checked Truman for a bacterial infection. Sometimes, odiferous poo can be due to a bacterial infection.

Thanks and have fun!

Mona
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Re: So You Want a Cape Parrot? Review of Cape Parrots as Pets

Postby Nir » Sat Dec 01, 2012 5:09 pm

Hey Michael. Have your thoughts about Senegal changed from back then. You had always posted saying they are difficult bird with their aggression and unpredictable behaviors but now it seems like you would easily recommend people to get a sennie compared to other birds. Perhaps it's all relative since having a cape in your opinion is much harder. Please clarify. Also in your opinion since you have met a good amount of sennies, are their and noticeable general differences between the sexes?
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Re: So You Want a Cape Parrot? Review of Cape Parrots as Pets

Postby CaitlinRice413 » Thu Dec 13, 2012 1:25 pm

:danicing:
Last edited by CaitlinRice413 on Mon Sep 08, 2014 12:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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