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Food Play & Food Obsessions

You can’t tell a parrot not to play with its food.

By Sally Blanchard

Many pet birds can become obsessed with their foodWhen I was a child, my mother often scolded me for playing with my food. I have to admit that, as a budding artist, I did like to sculpt with my mashed potatoes. We humans are certainly not the only ones who occasionally play with our food. I have worked with companion parrots for than 30 years, and in that time I have seen them play with food in some very interesting ways.

I have always been curious to know if these behaviors are related to natural behaviors in the wild, but there is not a lot of information about the ways that wild parrots actually eat. We know that they spend a great deal of their day foraging for food and “processing” it so that they can eat it. Wild parrots have to search for their food and then pick it from the tree, vine or field. Then they have to shell or unwrap it, and finally they chew on it for awhile before they swallow it.

**For the full article, pick up the January 2009 issue of BIRD TALK**

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