Courtesy Vanessa Anderberg, Wisconsin
Quaker parrots are known to built elaborate and enormous nests.
Inside A Quaker Nest
In a well-built wild quaker parrot’s nest there are three chambers. The inner sanctum is where the babies are hatched, the middle chamber where they grow up and play and the inner hallway, just inside the nest hole, is where they take the big flying leap into the world.
When the chicks are ready to fledge, they move to the hallway chamber, where they will sit and wait for the right time to go outside and leap off the branch for the first time. Each level is guarded by the parents, which will cause a wild ruckus of sound if breached by intruders.
While participating in a utility company rescue, the inner sanctum of a nest was removed in its entirety. Three tiny quaker parrots just a few days old were in a perfect circle surrounded by many layers of grass. The grass on the bottom was dried and curled while the grass on the top looked and smelled like a freshly mowed lawn. The crops of those babies were bulging with green. The “Dad” must have spent his days bringing home the grass while “Mom” cooked it up and fed it to herself and her babies.
Twig For Me, None For You
If you have a chance to watch wild or companion quaker parrots, you will quickly notice that they are obsessive/compulsive when it comes to nest building. The wild quaker’s nest can be huge, enormous and out of control. For hours at a time, we watch wild quakers flying individually and in pairs to trees close to their nest area, chewing off twigs and then flying them back to their nest.
In the home setting, you might see the quaker parrot build or weave unbelievable structures. Our pet quaker parrots, Stanley, Tashi and Miracle, are great builders, and they too are obsessive compulsive. Miracle seems to think that every stick has to be flown around the room a few times before he can put it in his cage and should it fall out the back, he’ll drag it to the front and fly it around the room again.
During one period, Stanley used to pick up everything he could find and carry it to his “nest” for inclusion. One day we came into our bedroom, where he lived, and saw a bra flying by; another day it was a tie. I ended up leaving old ties around for him to use for building material. Many other quaker parrots are given straws and sticks for building and leather, feathers or yarn for weaving. For additional photos click here.
In the wild, we’ve noticed that quakers parrots love to steal twigs from other building projects. At home, we noticed that Tashi has no problems at all stealing sticks from Stanley or Miracle. Before Miracle arrived, Stanley had his sticks, which are sized dowels from the builder’s store, all to himself. The size of the stick did not really matter to Stanley. He just stuck it in place, pushed, pulled and worked with it until it fit properly.
Miracle, on the other hand, wants everything to fit properly, so he will chew off the ends until it fits. Stanley had a hard time accepting chewed-on sticks to build with when the sticks were recycled after cleaning.
Bonus content from "Wild at Home" (BIRD TALK August 2008) by Jon-Mark and Jo Davey.