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Birds + Behavior + English

  • A bird may bite out of fear or aggression. They may be protecting their territory or asserting their dominance. Screaming or loud vocalization is a natural way for wild parrots and other birds to communicate with each other in their flock environments. They will also scream if they are alarmed.

  • Feather loss occurs either because the bird is truly losing feathers or because the bird, or its cage-mate, is picking out its feathers. Feather-picking is often a behavioral problem, especially in the larger species of birds (such as cockatoos, macaws, and African gray parrots). However, feather loss and feather-picking can also be caused by diseases that result in irritation or pain for the bird, or damage to, or inappropriate growth of feathers. Your veterinarian may have to many perform several diagnostic tests to rule out potential causes. Treatment of feather loss depends on the cause. Feather loss and feather-picking are complicated problems; for specific advice, your bird should have a thorough work-up by a veterinarian familiar with birds.

  • Height dominance in pet birds can be an issue with a poorly trained pet bird or dominant pet bird. Birds that are allowed on shoulders or top of cages can be aggressive and nippy if not trained to "Step-up" on command. Proper training and socialization are essential to allow birds to perch wherever they wish.

  • Contrary to popular belief, pet birds not raised with other birds typically bond to their owners and are unlikely to want to live with another new bird. If you feel your bird is lonely or bored, first consider providing more enrichment in the form of safe toys and entertainment. If you decide you want to introduce another bird into your household, be sure you are ready to take on the work of caring for more than one bird and be certain to introduce him slowly. All new birds should be checked by a veterinarian before exposing the original bird to a new one, and the new bird should be quarantined in a separate, isolated room within the house for 30-45 days. Some birds never accept new birds in their territories. Consult your veterinarian if you are experiencing problems.

  • Masturbation behavior in male parrots is a fairly common occurrence. The basis behind this activity is sexual stimulation or over productive male hormones. Veterinary attention will help with environmental changes and/or medications used to diminish or halt this behavior.

  • There are many different behaviors witnessed by owners of birds that are associated with sexual maturity and hormone fluctuations. At certain times of the year, birds are under the powerful influence of sex hormones and will behave instinctively in distinct ways that you may not have witnessed before. The behaviors will vary with species and individuals.

  • It is very desirable to have a tame, affectionate and interactive bird as a family pet. Small birds such as finches and canaries may prove very difficult or challenging to befriend.

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Pet Health Library

Royal City Paws Pet Centre is pleased to provide a library of professionally written articles updated by practice experts.