Amazon parrots are vocal, so teaching them words and phrases is a great game for them.
Try these ideas when playing with your pet Amazon parrot.
When my now 35-year-old double yellow-headed Amazon parrot, Paco, was a young parrot, I gave her a stuffed orange puppy to play with. I first checked for anything that could be dangerous for her to chew on. They toy had felt eyes, so they were safe but didn’t last very long. We had the most fun when I used it to wrestle with her, but she learned very quickly to wrestle with it all by herself during her supervised floor time. When I was sitting in my living room chair and Paco was with me, I would hide the orange puppy in the cushions and then bring it out and have it "very gently attack” Paco and wrestle with her. She has always loved this game even though the orange puppy is long gone. I think she has been through several stuffed animals since then.
Although wild Amazons are parrots that usually spend a lot of time in the tree tops, pet Amazons enjoy supervised time on the floor. One of the ways that I made sure that Paco got lots of exercise was through supervised floor time. I actually started the floor games with Paco on my bed. I pulled a pet bird toy along the bed, and she learned to chase after it. At the time I lived in a 2-story house with carpeted stairs, and we had a lot of fun together and both of us got a lot of exercise.
Of all of the pet birds, Amazon parrots are the best singers. I have heard some incredible opera coming out of the beak of Amazon parrots. One of my best Amazon parrot friends was a blue-fronted Amazon named Bosco. He was an energetic bird that loved to hang out and play on the ceiling playgyms. I have a decent voice and can carry a tune, and Bosco loved it when I sang to him, especially if they were catchy, old rock ‘n’ roll songs sung with great enthusiasm. I usually sang funny songs to him, and he learned parts of several of them. He would sing for me and usually his songs were a compilation. His favorite was a combination of the Witch Doctor’s "ooh ee ooh ooh ooh ting tang wally walla bing bang” and parts of "The Purple People Eater” by Sheb Wooley. He loved it when I sang with him but, most of all, he loved my applause. Sometimes I would applaud him to get him to sing.
We hear a lot about dancing cockatoos, but I think that Amazon parrots have great rhythm, too; however, it needs to be encouraged. Part of dancing might involve singing. When Paco was a youngster, "The Tide is High” by Blondie was popular, and Paco loved to dance to it. I started out with her on my hand while I danced to it. It didn’t take long for her to start to sway back and forth to the beat. We had other songs that we danced to, but that seems to be her favorite. I have a CD player in the room with the parrots, and I have a disc that has music from that era. We still dance from time to time and if a song comes on that she really likes, Paco still dances to it by herself. My caique, Spike, also likes to dance to some of the same songs that Paco likes, but I don’t think that it would be accurate to say that they dance together.
Where’s the treat? Years ago, a woman who worked with me made up a great game that all of my parrots liked. Amazon parrots can become real perch potatoes if their curiosity isn’t encouraged. This is a great game to play on the couch. The first step is put some treats and/or a few toys between the couch cushions. Then put the Amazon on the couch and push the cushions apart a little bit so the bird can see the treat or toy. Make a big deal about it, and then push the cushions back together. My Amazon parrots love this game and love to grab the treat when I pull the cushions apart again. Of course, if you have an expensive leather couch this might not be a good game to play there. It works much better on an old couch that can’t easily be ruined. You can also play the game hiding the treat or pet bird toy under a throw pillow. Sometimes I line up three throw pillows and play the "shell game” with one of my parrots by distracting them so they can’t see which pillow the treat is under. They have to guess.