How we love our fine-feathered friends! Birds are the perfect pet for bringing some color and music into your life. And whether you’re a first-time pet owner or a bird-owner pro, you can always use a few more tips for taking care of your pet bird.
Bringing Your Bird Home
Picking the perfect spot. Your pet bird is a part of your family now and you need to give him the perfect living space to fit in with all the family activities and daily goings-on. Remember, your bird will not be able to move around the house without your help, so put him in a nice, comfortable place. Try to pick a place that stays warm and is not prone to drafts and sudden changes in temperature (like around commonly used outside doors). Your bird will be just as interested in seeing what you’re doing as you’re interested in seeing what he’s doing. Settle him in somewhere that people will be likely to be (like an office or room that will have regular, calm visits, but not an isolated back room or busy hallway with lots of chaotic movements and noise). Give your bird access to natural light, but be sure he’s not exposed to harsh, direct sunlight. Also, you’ll want to avoid keeping your bird in the kitchen since different cooking fumes and kitchen cleaners will be harmful to your pet bird.
Reestablishing your bird’s calm. Store-bought birds, especially those that have been imported, have gone through a pretty stressful ordeal in order to come and be a part of your life. Help them to find their calm again by giving them an adjustment period of a few weeks where they’re not exposed to any sudden shocks or changes. Establish a stable environment and a regular interaction with you and your family. Try to arrange it so you won’t be going on any trips too soon so your bird has a chance to get used to you before you introduce new caregivers and visitors. Also, wait until your bird has adjusted before you start to train him. His training will take better if he’s comfortable and feeling unruffled.
Introducing flexibility through change. Once your bird has adjusted to his new home, you can help him to be more flexible by introducing change in small dosages. You can start as small as changing the placement of one piece of furniture in the bird’s room. Introducing change in the environment while establishing yourself as the constant in your bird’s life will help him bond with you while making him more flexible with other people and things.
Better Bird Behavior
Know when your bird is showing unusual behavior. Get to know your bird’s likes, dislikes, personality, and quirks. Not only is this one of the fun parts of being a pet owner, but your knowledge of your bird’s behaviors will also serve as an indicator of your bird’s wellbeing and happiness. If you notice a change in your bird’s singing, energy, eating, and preening habits, this could indicate that something is disturbing your bird. The behavior could indicate that your bird is sick, or it could show that your bird is feeling stressed about a change in the environment.
Reinforce positive behaviors. When you are training your bird, and in your everyday interactions, it is important that your bird knows when he’s showing behaviors that you appreciate. As often as you correct bad behaviors, try to spend an equal amount of time rewarding the good things your bird does. Don’t forget to thank your bird for their beautiful songs and presence in your home.
Visitors are fun! Help your bird to enjoy visits from new people. Always be present when your bird is introduced to someone new. Be sure your visitor is comfortable with holding birds if you plan on letting them hold your pet. Watch your bird carefully to know if he is comfortable with the new person. Make the experience positive by having the visitor reward your bird with treats.
Happy traveling. Like teaching your bird that visitors are good, you can help your bird associate their bird carrier with good experiences. If you know you’ll be taking a trip to the veterinarian soon, you can help your bird adjust to his carrier early by placing him in it and rewarding him with treats for good behavior.
Check back for Part 2 of this article. We’ll talk about everyday things you can do to help your bird be a happy and healthy member of your family!