According to Webster’s, stress is defined as a physical, chemical or emotional factor that causes physical or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation.
It can be difficult for people to quantify stress in companion birds, as they are prey animals that perceive the world quite differently from predators like cats, dogs and people. Stories abound about birds being terrified by such apparently innocuous things as bright pictures, balloons and stuffed animals. Other more comprehensible stressors include cats and dogs, shrill and fast-moving children, and tension in the household due to people fighting or prolonged exposure to the cacophony of talk radio. All of these factors can take a toll on a pet bird’s mental and physical health, just as with people.
If a companion bird or parrot appears stressed, the first step is to get the bird thoroughly vetted by an experienced avian veterinarian. Diseases and malnutrition are serious stressors. Once the bird is pronounced healthy, owners need to carefully analyze the bird’s environment, looking for things that might cause tension for the bird. Once identified as a possible stressor, various things can be changed or moved, or the bird can be desensitized to them over time.
Disclaimer: BirdChannel.com’s Bird Behavior Index is intended for educational purposes only. It is not meant to replace the expertise and experience of a professional veterinarian. Do not use the information presented here to make decisions about your bird’s health if you suspect your pet is sick. If your pet is showing signs of illness or you notice changes in your bird’s behavior, take your pet to the nearest veterinarian or an emergency pet clinic as soon as possible.