Amazon parrots need to lose weight

These Amazon parrots with high blood pressure need to lose weight. Caregivers are feeding them a healthy diet and helping them be more active.
By David Dickson

There’s a dark downside to being an animal who can use human language: Those words can sure get you in trouble. Like when you order late-night pizza delivery four times a week…

Overweight Amazon parrots

The Amazon parrots at Best Friends have been resisting weight-loss strategies. Oh, to be fair, they have made some progress. The caregivers have been pushing a better diet and trying to convince them to exercise more often. This includes more outside time in bigger aviaries and more enrichment activities. Still, you can’t force a bird to be a whole lot more active than he or she wants to be.

Dr. Deb Nicholson, the avian vet at Best Friends, has a new bird-specific Doppler machine that has spilled even more shame on the Amazons. A couple of them tested high on their blood pressure. With all that the bird caregivers have been doing these past few months to help the Amazons lose weight, you almost can’t quite discount the possibility that these birds have figured out how to call for pizza delivery when the people go home. Sheesh!

Birds with high blood pressure

Their past lives probably have something to do with the problem. A bird can eat junk food for a long time and get in really bad shape. That takes some serious effort to overcome. Whatever the cause, be it late-night Chinese take-out or the effects from a previous lifestyle, high blood pressure is high blood pressure. As such, they are on blood pressure medication until they’re back in the safety zone.

The vets and caregivers keep adjusting their strategies and they feel confident they’ll get these birds where they need to be sooner or later. Until then, probably best not to send too many boxes of consolation chocolates!

Photos of Dr. Deb using Doppler machine and Skittles by Molly Wald

Learn more about parrots and parrot care in Best Friends’ online resource library.