This is a promised story about the infamous Frank, our African Grey Parrot! My husband and I have moved Frank from our living room to the small room just off of the kitchen.
I will save that story for another time. Pictured here is Frank about to give me a high five!
African Grey's need stimulation since they have been scientifically proven to have the mentality of a five year old. Because we are away all day working we decided to put a small black and white TV in Frank's room to keep him company. We have a satellite dish so we leave the TV turned on all day to cartoons. This went on for a while and it even got to the point that Frank was yelling out certain cartoon names in the evening.
Shortly after we started doing this we noticed Frank was getting more and more aggressive. Anyone owning a bird like Frank knows that Grey's respond to kindness and love. If you get angry and yell at Frank for doing something wrong such as biting you, he will get upset and bite you every time he sees you after that for days. He really does hold a grudge. We knew this about him but what was so surprising was that after watching cartoons all day he began to be very mean all the time. He would bite any one coming near his cage and he would scream and yell in an unusual way. Needless to say it took my husband and my self a long time to figure out that the cartoon violence was making Frank act in this manner.
One day we were both home and we saw the cartoon with a lot of violence and Frank was hanging upside down in his cage screaming! I thought, WOW, if this is what goes on all day, perhaps it was key to his behavior. David and I talked it over and decided to change Frank's channel and just see what would happen. Sure enough, Frank turned back into his sweet self. Or should I say.... into as sweet as a Grey can be. He began to watch ball games, soap operas and game shows.
This has really set me on a path of discovery. I ask my self questions now like how does this TV show leave me feeling, energized or exhausted? How does our TV or any negative behavior that we witness impact our own moods? I would love to hear from others on this subject. What has been your experience with this or is it something that you really don't think about? I know I was in the latter group before Frank opened my eyes to what is all around me! The next time you are in a negative mood or just a little off, check your environment and think about what you have been exposed to lately!
By Judith Geiger