Guest Author - Mavis Metcalf
Sometimes it is hard for those of us who love our birds to understand that some people are afraid of birds. What do you do when someone you know or love is terrified of your pet bird?
Obviously, you can not force someone to love your bird the way that you do. Often, your bird will recognize the fear and even act up when this person is near, which makes the situation worse.
If you and the frightened person both realize that it will take time to overcome the fear and you both want this to happen, it can be done with patience. Hopefully, your bird will make things easier by not acting up, but you will not know until you try.
Your friend is probably afraid of outdoor birds as well as pet birds and probably ducks if a sparrow flies towards him or her. There is not much you can do about that, but if flying is one of the fears, please keep your bird in the cage for the first few visits. You do not want to frighten your bird if the person screams when he flies.
Depending on the level of your friend's fear, you may have to start very slowly, by inviting the friend over to visit when the bird is out of sight in another room. She may be able to hear the bird but does not see it for the first visit or two.
Another visit could have the cage visible, but again, the bird is in another room. Have your friend walk around the cage, see the food and water dishes and the toys and maybe even touch the toys and/or the cage.
If she is comfortable with these steps, your bird could be in the cage on the next visit, but your friend can stand back while you go up to the cage and talk to your bird and maybe put your hand in the cage to pet him. You and your friend could then walk away from the cage and to into another room for a visit.
It is better to take very small steps at the beginning instead of rushing the introduction and possibly making the fear worse for your friend. You may end up repeating that last step several times before you are able to spend the whole visit in the room with your bird.
If your friend's only fear is the bird flying, you may be able to start the whole process off with the last step of visiting while the bird is in the cage in the same room. During these visits, you can talk to the bird and pet him through the bars, or even open the cage door to pet him – but do not let the bird out of the cage until you can see that your friend is not quite so nervous any more. Also make sure that you let her know that you are ready to let the bird out.
You may never get your friend to the stage where she will hold out her hand to let the bird step up, but if you can get her comfortable in your home, it will be much easier on both the bird and the friend.