Parrots are truly amazing beings. They can live up to 70 or 80 years and are able to pick up different human languages easily. These characteristics and others are what makes them pets of interest to many.

The number of parrots in homes has soared over the years. In 1990, around 11.6 million parrots, cockatoos and macaws were kept as pets, increasing to 40 million in 2006 and then jumping to 60 million in 2010.


Yet parrots are not like our beloved dogs or cats – they are not domesticated animals, and even captive bred parrots still have many of the same tendencies as their wild counterparts. This can pose a number of problems for parrot owners, and the birds themselves. Unpredictable behavior and loud squawking can easily frustrate owners, sending these birds back to shelters, pet shops or sanctuaries, or worse, abandonment.

According to Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, parrots change homes at least seven times during their lifetimes, resulting in “feelings of trauma that accompany permanent separation from the people they’ve bonded with for years.”

These facts and others come to light in tonight’s screening of the documentary “Parrot Confidential” on PBS’s NATURE at 8 p.m. EST (check your local listings for other times).

The documentary features a “loveable, quirky cast of parrots [who] will reveal their unforgettable tales and the bittersweet world they share with humans,” reports PBS.

Ultimately, the film will explore the world of parrots as pets, questioning as “Blackfish” has with orcas, if this type of captivity is doing more harm than good.

Watch a quick preview of the documentary below, then be sure to catch it on PBS tonight at 8 p.m. EST!

Image source: Glen Bowman / Flickr