Guess Who's Coming To Dinner

Meal time around our home includes the pitter patter of four-toed feet running across the dinner table. “Family style” takes on a whole new meaning when it involves large beaks helping themselves to your cranberry juice and oatmeal.

The larger birds, at least, don’t run directly through the middle of the plate, as do the smaller species. I can barely stand to have sand between my toes at the beach, but to think of mashed potatoes…..

Like so many other things that involve our parrots, most of our Adam’s Family antics exist for a purpose. Sharing meals with our “flock” teaches them to appreciate (eat) a wider variety of foods. They take a great deal of interest in our reactions when new, unfamiliar foods appear on the table, always intently watching with the one-eyed tilted head look.

In nature, one of the flock is sent out with the mission of finding new food. They return to the flock, food-in-beak, and proceed to eat it in front of everyone. If they haven’t dropped dead within a certain period of time, they leave once again, returning with yet another beakful of food, this time presenting it to the flock. Parrots had their own food-tasting ritual long the Romans found it to be necessary in order to stay alive.

They stand at a distance, and eventually, I suppose, when we haven’t fallen over dead from food poisoning, they casually stroll over to our plates, cautiously stick a tongue ever so slowly into whatever food has captured their interest, and take a few test bites. If, after a few licks, they decide it is edible, and we’re still not yet writhing in pain on the floor, they’ll belly up to the plate, barely coming up for air in between large bites of food.

Pastas, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn and peas are favorites. The all-time favorite, however, is anything chicken, especially if they can snatch an entire drum stick out of an unsuspecting child or guest’s hand. We’re still not used to that particular taste of theirs and ask, “do you have any idea who you are eating?”.

In some ways, sharing your life with a parrot is like having a perpetual 2-year-old. We’ll forever be making a big lip-smacking production out of our food, “Yum, oh, this is SO good, you REALLY should try a bit”, long after the human children have flown the nest.


  1. This story and pictures made me smile. It reminds me of my cockatiel, Lily, landing on my sister’s poached egg, and bobbing up and down as if it was a waterbed. Also makes me think of sharing meals with my cats. One cat, Pirate, will do anything for a noodle. Thumper has a thing for melted coffee ice cream. My bad cat, Lincoln, insists on tasting everything, and it is so funny to see his displeasure when he tastes something bad like fresh salsa with cumin and vinegar.
    — Carol    Feb 18, 11:30 PM    #
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