Parrots do more than mimic speech – they have a language and a world all their own. Their lives are full like humans, with the parrot version of children, extended family, complex relationships, play, fear, anger, love, and death. If we can enter into the experience of a parrot, we might not only be able to have our lives blessed with the beauty and uniqueness of these animals who evolved to fly free in so many wondrous places on this earth, but we might understand them enough to come to love them on their terms, and hence care for them with more knowledge and compassion.
To better know a parrot is to engage in growing Multispecies Intelligence (MI), a form of growing empathy and knowledge of other animals so that we increase their chances for flourishing and decrease harm that might come their way through human malfeasance. To increase MI we use our whole bodies, including our minds, to experience being the other individual, then study and research so that we can confirm our understandings and check our assumptions. You can find out more about MI, reflect, and find special exercise in our book, Nurturing Discussions and Practices: Nurturing Yourself, Your Relationships, and the Earth.
Exercises to put yourself into the feathers of another include guided meditations, of which One Earth has just produced one. You can listen to it here, or watch it with some photos above. This is a mediation about two macaw parents and their two chicks. We produced this so that as some level you can learn what a macaw is saying in his or her own way – they are constantly telling us what they are feeling and needing. Parrots are not automatons – they feel, and they need. For instance, they fly to serve themselves and are rewarded by that because their emotions help them move towards satisfaction or away from harm. In other words, perhaps they enjoy flying. This meditation is described in human terms, so that we can open to what their experiences might be like. Of course, filling in this meditation with scientific understanding and research can improve our empathetic response, and hence our care.
I hope you will try this meditation so that you can be nurtured by a parrot connection, and in turn, can nurture macaws and other beings on earth.