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reading your bird's body language



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Learning to interpret your bird's body language and vocal signals is an on going process. Since behavior varies from bird to bird you should create your own dictionary of bird signals. I am going to share some of my observations from working with birds as well as observations and interpretations of other bird experts, and bird owners like you.

SINGING
I have learned that birds sing to attract mates and establish territories. But I also know my birds sing because they are happy, healthy and comfortable were they live. They ALL really like to sing!

SNEEZING
I have a bird that sneezes often. When this bird first came into my life I thought he was sick or was allergic to something. I consulted an avian veterinarian, only to find out he wasn't sick but he is just a bird that likes to sneeze. If your bird is sneezing and there is a nasal discharge consult your vet right away.

WING FLAPPING
Hey I need to exercise. We all need to stretch and flap every day.

REGURGITATING: If your bird is regurgitating to you-WHAT AN HONOR- you are very much loved and they see you as one of the flock. Birds regurgitate to share the contents of their crops and feed their young. If your bird regurgitates when it is alone, or after a meal, there could be something wrong, you may want to check with your vet.

I DON'T WANT TO COME OUT OF MY CAGE
You could be frightening your bird without realizing it. Something you're wearing: a hat, dark glasses or a really bad shirt. Your bird may just not be in the mood to come out. Don't force your bird to come out, try later.

PREENING
Something every bird needs to do to keep feathers in good condition. Also it is a very social activity. My birds like me to preen their neck and head since they can't get to those areas. They also like to preen me and my dogs and me in return. If a bird is bored it could become an over zealous preener and this could lead to possible feather plucking.

FLASHING EYES
Your bird's pupils going large and small WARNING WARNING this bird is upset. Something is disturbing your bird. This bird may bite. Speak softly and reassure your bird and don't pick up your bird until it has calmed down. Give your bird some time to get over what ever it was that was upsetting.

WIPING THEIR BEAK
This behavior will tell another bird that they are intruding in its territory. When there are no other birds present this bird may just be cleaning its beak of debris. After dinner with the family, Jherik my cockatiel, will wipe his beak on the table or my napkin or my plate he doesn't care were he wipes his lips.

CRUNCHING SOUND
This is a soft sound a bird will make with their beak when they are about to fall asleep. A great sign of feeling safe and very contented. It makes me feel good when one of my birds is sitting with me and I hear the soft crunching.

CALLING
In the dawn or at dusk birds call, sometimes rather loudly. They are talking to the flock. If it is an unusual disturbance something may be wrong. Please check out a call that doesn't sound right.

CHANGE IN ATTITUDE
If you bird starts rejecting you or is bitting you for no apparent reason stop and see what is different. Your bird could be sexually frustrated, just testing you, or really upset about something in its envirment. Be patient, keep calm and keep breathing. You can work out any problem!

The vocal and body signals I have told you about are only a few in a large dictionary of bird language. The most important thing I can tell you is watch your bird and know your bird! Learn the signs of a sick bird. Remember just like us our bird friends get older and change habits with age--but if you educate yourself, watch and listen with your eyes, ears and your heart--you will learn your bird's body and vocal language.

© 2001, Sandy Gaston. All rights reserved.


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Last updated:
10/25/2002 11:41 AM

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