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10 Things Your Bird Needs From You

We talk a lot about what you need to know about your bird, but do you know what your bird needs from you?

Chris Davis

10 Things Your Bird Needs From You
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It is heartbreaking when people get so involved in simply wanting their bird to stop a particular behavior that they simply don’t care to find out why her behavior changed in the first place. Care enough about your friend to understand what motivates her current behavior — good or bad. 

1) Always act with love, kindness and compassion. Be observant. Your bird depends on you to anticipate situations that may make her uncomfortable. Consider your home and your bird’s experiences from her point of view. You are her entire world. Assess changes in the home, your routine or your health. Your bird may be fearful and her new or sudden "bad” behavior may be a desperate cry for your help.

2) Make your home a safe and harmonious environment for everyone, human and animal. Yelling or other heavy-handed techniques are never needed. Correction of negative behaviors can be as subtle and simple as just walking away from your bird for a few moments whenever she misbehaves.

3) Be your bird’s best friend. Let her know that you will not subject her to anything that she perceives as dangerous. If she knows that you’ve "got her back,” she will trust you implicitly and be considerably more tolerant of unfamiliar objects or situations.

4) Establish clear and comfortable physical and emotional boundaries for your bird and have everyone in the home reinforce them in the same manner.

5) Teach some simple, but important commands, such as:  stepping off and onto a hand or perch; stopping whatever she is doing when you say "no”; coming to you when asked; readily accepting being placed in her cage.

6) Familiarize your bird with a portable playgym and a carrier long before they are needed. Do not use the carrier for only veterinary or grooming visits. Take your bird somewhere nearby and fun, or even just walk around the house with her in the carrier and offer her treats while she is inside.

7) Periodically change things around in your bird’s area of the house to help her become more flexible. For a bird who is fearful of new objects or changes, this can be subtle, such as moving a chair or changing throw pillows on nearby furniture.

8) Teach your bird that visitors to your home can be positive and even a potential source of treats. Supervise her interactions with new people and praise her for accepting them. Never force your bird onto the hand of someone she does not feel comfortable with. Also, do not have people handle your bird if they are uncomfortable with birds.

9) We often confuse birds (and people) by only interacting with them when they are misbehaving and fail to teach them what behaviors we actually like. If you make it clear to your bird what you consider good behavior, your bird can develop a clear sense of what you like and don’t like her to do. 

10) Your bird is your best friend and a beloved and interactive family member. She needs to be kept aware of any changes in the environment. When there are changes in your home or family, talk to her as you would a small child. By explaining a divorce, an illness, a death, a move or a child going away to college for example, your bird may not understand exactly what you are saying, but she will understand that you are reassuring her and that everything will still be OK. This will help your bird feel more comfortable through whatever happens. 

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Posted: May 29, 2014, 11:45 a.m. PDT

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10 Things Your Bird Needs From You

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Reader Comments
Excellent article!
Susan, Waxhaw, NC
Posted: 10/25/2015 12:56:08 PM
Great article.
Christina, Blue Springs, MO
Posted: 6/11/2015 7:03:48 PM
I enjoyed the article/s immensely. The were clear, humorous, well written, informative and well written.
John, Coconut Creek, FL
Posted: 4/23/2015 6:55:24 PM
How do you make finches comfortable..This article seems to foucus on parakeets and bigger birds
sara, Sun Lakes, AZ
Posted: 8/4/2014 12:08:11 PM
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