Is Your Bird Stressed?
By Rebecca Sweat
Certainly, one of the major buzzwords in the last decade is “stress.” Many people lament about having too much going on in their lives -- too much pressure at home and at work, and not enough time to get everything done that needs to be done. It all adds up to a lot of stress, which manifests itself in the form of tension headaches, stiff necks, sore backs, shortness of breath, sweaty hands, digestive tract disturbances and even hair loss. Stressed-out people can also become irritable and lose their temper more often, find it hard to concentrate and feel jumpy or exhausted all the time.
But it doesn’t stop there. When the humans in a household are anxious, worried or tense, it can spread to the pet birds in the home and make them feel stressed as well. It doesn’t always affect every bird though. Certain types of parrots, such as African greys, cockatoos and Eclectus are believed to be more prone to becoming stressed out than Amazons and other New World species, which are generally better at tolerating commotion and may even enjoy it. Individual birds within a genus of birds may also be more or less likely to get nervous, depending on how the bird was raised.
How can you know if your bird is over-stressed? Here are some general signs to be on the lookout for:
Certainly, many of the above mentioned signs can also be symptoms of other health or behavioral problems that are not related to stress. Your best bet is to always take your bird to an avian veterinarian for a complete physical examination. Whether your bird is stressed or has some other problem, your veterinarian is sure to offer you advice for getting the situation under control.
*This article appeared in the March 2005 edition of BIRD TALK