Spring and Your Pet Bird

Spring and Your Pet Bird
Spring is the time of year when our darling feathered cherubs transform into nasty little rattlesnake birds. No … really, spring is the time of year you can expect unpredictable behavior from your companion bird. The urge to breed is strongest in spring for most species of birds. As companion bird owners it is critical we understand how hormonal fluctuations affect our beloved pets and allow a little latitude in our expectations of their behavior during this time.

Body Language
It is important for us to understand our bird’s body language and pay close attention to the subtle and not so subtle cues provided for us.

Pinning Eyes indicate excitement or stimulation. Often, your bird’s eyes will pin during normal interaction with you, and this is fine. When your bird’s eyes pin when you simply approach or open the cage, caution should be exhibited. Puffing Feathers is a natural defense mechanism. This causes your bird to appear larger to a potential attacker and is often in conjunction with wings held slightly away from the body. A slow rocking back and forth often accompanies feather puffing. Even when we observe closely, unpredictable behavior may still occur. It is important to remain calm, if your bird happens to lunge at or bite you. If you yell or react in a way that could be entertaining to your bird, you could inadvertently encourage bad behavior.

Breeding Behavior
Because we, and those we live with, serve as “the flock” for our feathered companions, often mating behavior is misplaced and displayed toward human members of the flock family. It is important we do not reward that type of behavior as funny or praiseworthy, or it may encourage fruitless inappropriate displays to continue. If your bird does display mating behavior, your two best options are distraction or returning your bird to its cage without making a fuss. Don’t scold your bird for this natural response but don’t encourage it either. For most birds, this behavior will be most prominent at certain times of year. Your bird may shred and gather fibers in the attempt to build a nest. Remove cuddle houses or anything that could be perceived as a nest type box, if breeding is not being encouraged. The breeding instinct is very strong, in the spring, and your bird is likely to protect a perceived nest. It may bite or lunge at you in attempts to defend its territory.

Hormonal fluctuations are a natural part of life and should be anticipated. By paying attention to your bird’s body language and not encouraging breeding behavior, spring does not have to be a time to be dreaded.

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