With spring so tantalisingly close, I couldn’t resist taking the birds out in their carriers for some sunshine today. It was divine, but the warm weather and lengthening days both come with a catch. Hormones are in full blast at this household – and at many others besides. With work on my flock’s diet, things are manageable, but it’s not an easy time.
My Senegal has decided that I am no longer his friend, and will only sometimes let me near him. He is enamoured of my younger sister, who is away most of the day, and not fully comfortable handling him while he’s at his most unpredictable. It wouldn’t be such a big deal if he were getting the attention he needs – but he is literally driving me away because he is convinced that my sister is his new mate. I am the only one capable of caring for him at this time.
Has she done anything to encourage my parrot’s pursuits? Not one single thing except simply exist in the springtime. But that’s enough. He’s a lady’s man. (And hopefully things revert to normal soon enough.)
Ptak the parrotlet is currently in love with his bell. He will actually forgo time spent out of cage to sit beside it. He rings it and lets it gently scratch his head. Anyone who so much as glances at his bell will get what’s coming to them. Look out!
Spring brings out the worst in any captive bird.
While the rest of the world celebrated April Fool’s Day, parrot owners were faced with a far more serious issue. The start of spring has heralded literally hundreds of search phrases on this blog based around biting, hormones, and screaming. My stats have sky-rocketed, and it’s not a good thing. A small sampling of the search terms bringing people to Students with Birds Blog (which, by the by, if you are looking for the article to help you solve these issues, check out Surviving Springtime with Parrots):
“My parrot won’t stop attacking.”
“Cockatoo bites face.”
“Cockatoo sending me to hospital.”
“Plucking cockatoo lashing out.”
“Budgie biting.” (Supplement different species’ names as you will.)
“My bird won’t stop regurgitating.”
“Bird attacking husband/family.”
“Lovebird nesting laying eggs.”
“Parrot won’t stop screaming.”
“Jacket for plucking parrot.”
“My bird won’t leave me alone.”
“Parrot spring hormones.”
“Surviving parrots spring.”
“Why does my Senegal Parrot bite me?”
“How to stop biting parrot.”
“Are parrot hormones as bad as they say?”
This is evidence of a problem.
My site will not be alone. Out there, the other bird blogs are inundated with this as well. Are hormones with parrots as bad as ‘they’ say? Yes. It is a sad truth. Take the search terms as evidence. There are endless, desperate pleas resounding across the various places where I write on the Internet. The issue is the hand-rearing of captive birds. Puppies and kittens can’t be removed from their mothers until a certain age, due to the adverse affect it has on their mental health. Why are birds any different?
And yet leaving hand-reared birds to parent raise their young isn’t necessarily the answer. Those parents were hand-raised too, probably, and have no idea how to parent. It’s a circular issue.
By virtue of this most basic biological drive to mate, parrots aren’t good pets. Hormones are purely down to the animal, not one’s ability as an owner. For that reason, I would like to commend everyone who is currently surviving with one under their roof. It’s tough. If you are considering re-homing your bird, please, wait. Give it two or three months and you may find that things revert to normal again. Extra foraging, touch-training, reduced light, and low-protein/carb diets will help you survive.
This craziness does pass for most birds.