Most people will buy Amazons because they want a “show bird” that can perform tricks or impress guests or crowds with their vocabulary. However, as intelligent and entertaining as these birds are, they require very close supervision and training. They are not a good choice for families with young children. They can be quite temperamental, and if neglected, can be difficult to handle.
In fact, Amazons are actually best left for those who have prior experience with parrots. They are not a good “first bird”. In fact, the first few months, owners can expect many hours of what experts call “gentle dominance training.” This is supposed to teach the parrot that you are the master, while still building a bond of trust and love.
Why do they need such special attention and discipline? Well, Amazons are quite similar in temperament and intelligence to monkeys. They are curious, playful and very friendly—but they also have a stubborn streak that can lead to huge behavioral problems when they are older. Amazons are still wild creatures with the instinct to chew, bite, and mark territory. Without firm guidelines on what they can or can’t do, they will run the household—and fight back at any feeble attempts to get them back under control.
Amazons are also moody, and can be very picky about which people they choose to give affection to. Some days they will simply refuse to obey, or they get so over stimulated from playing that they’ve worked themselves up into a nipping frenzy. At this point, owners must have been able to teach commands and inculcate a habit of obedience so that they don’t harm others or themselves. In the wild, they can fly wildly without meeting serious injury—but an over active bird in a small apartment can wreak havoc.
Owners should also be willing to respect that the Amazons will never be pliant “lap birds”. They have strong personalities and can be cuddly one minute, aggressive the next. This is a sign of their intelligence, and should be respected.
It requires patience, and a strong bond, for owners to be able to recognize the Amazons’ mood and to adjust.
As a whole, Amazons make wonderful pets, and many owners say that they are very “human” in their affection, their personality, and their moods. However it takes a special kind of owner to handle them, and they shouldn’t be bought on a whim. Be prepared for the time, the attention, and the research required to bring out the best of these beautiful creatures.