The Search for a Suitable Nesting Cavity
(bird soliciting courtship)
Have you found your bird hiding out in small, dark places? If other in home conditions including lighting and diet are just right, your bird may be looking for a nesting spot. Their hormonal clock may already be thrown off with lack of sleep and excessive petting. Allowing your bird to spend time in perceived nesting spot really intensifies hormonal behavior. But, a hormonal bird can be very persistent and destructive in its search. And often, nest seeking and aggression go hand in hand.
In terms of our small flock, Smokey, our Congo African Grey is a persistent nest seeker! Whenever he has out of cage time, Smokey loves to get down on the floor and walk to the Master Bedroom, where of course I “nest.” You guessed it. I’m his perceived mate.
While I try to remember to shut the door, Smokey loves to get under my dark brown dresser and pull out the carpet fibers. If I block that off, then he goes under the bed. If he can’t get there, he’ll hang out between the washer and the wall or under the sofa. It becomes quite the challenge to keep Smokey occupied enough during his out of cage time so that he doesn’t seek out a nest. Retrieving Smokey from these nest sites is challenging. I use The Percher Finger Saver function almost every time I have to retrieve Smokey out of these areas.
We hear about parrots seeking out any dark, confined area they can find from couch cushions, to under furniture, closets, bathrooms, cardboard boxes, brown paper bags and even Bird Snugglies. We’ve seen birds use stuffed toys as “loved ones” too. Smaller birds that climb in your shirt sleeve or down your shirt are seeking out a nest cavity with a double whammy because their preferred mate comes complete with a nest! Any area that is confined and offers a bit of privacy will do. And, if it’s dark, all the better.
Do a “home walk through” from a hormonal parrots’ point of view and try to “nest-proof” problem areas as much as possible. Even if your bird shows no interest in a potential nest spot, eliminate what you can because any opportunity to nest can trigger your pets body to produce courting and reproductive hormones. For smaller parrots, you have to essentially nest proof your interactions. Don’t let the bird ride about on your shoulder for long periods of time. Never let it hide in your shirt sleeves or other private areas that simulate a nest.
On top of a physical nest site, excessive access to nesting material or lining can be a problem too. Peachy, our Moluccan will take the chewed and chipped wood from toys and hide them under his neck feathers. I guess he’s storing them away until he finds an appropriate nest cavity. While it’s cute, we discourage it. Watch for your bird searching and storing nest bedding material. This might include, wood parts chewed to a fine texture, cotton scraps from toys and bird beds, shredded paper and cardboard boxes and even vines, twigs and leafy toy parts.
That’s not to say that your bird doesn’t need toys! Your bird needs chewing, shredding, and foraging toys now more than ever. Keep your bird busy and keep its mind off of making babies!
Simply remove the toy parts as they become used up so that your bird doesn’t construe them as nesting material. Eliminating access to nesting spots and nesting material will go a long way toward keeping your birds hormones at a minimum.
Since conditions have to be just right to promote nest seeking behavior, step back and ask yourself what else might be going on to induce hormonal behavior in your parrot.
Leave a comment about where you’ve found your bird nesting below.