Enrichment time outside for parrots with trimmed wings

Parrots with trimmed wings (so they can't fly away) are enjoying enrichment time outside. The cockatoos perch in and prune trees.
By David Dickson

Ever spent a day working with pruning sheers? What a hassle. You have to wrestle with stepladders and battle overhanging limbs the whole time. There’s an easier way to enjoy perfectly manicured trees, though. Just grab yourself a cockatoo or two and send them to work! You’ll be amazed at the results. (And honestly, how many gardeners can you pay in almonds?)

Cockatoos enjoy quality time outside

The cockatoo population at Best Friends has been spending some time in the junipers that grow at the sanctuary. With wings trimmed to temporarily prevent flying, they can safely perch on trees outdoors. Even birds who thrive in home settings always seem to know just what to do in a real tree.

After donning a beret and sliding into "artiste" mode, most parrots and other birds set right to work at sprucing up the vegetation. Sometimes they’ll clip branches. Other times they strip bark. Or trim the leaves. Why, it’s like sending your favorite old shade tree to the beauty parlor! And if you happen to have an excess collection of edible berries in the tree, no worries …

Enrichment for birds

There’s an even better benefit here than a decked out, parrot-sculpted piece of landscaping, though. Tree time is great for the emotional well-being of the cockatoos. The enrichment time keeps them fulfilled and interested. All parrots see trees as a jungle gym waiting to be explored. And shaped to perfection, of course! So for all you would-be gardeners out there who want a killer yard without the fuss, simply hire a parrot or two for an afternoon and you’ll soon be the envy of the neighborhood.

Adopt a bird from Best Friends.

Photos by Troy Snow