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Heat Stroke in Parrots, Finches and other Birds – Symptoms and Treatment

Great RoadrunnerIn a recent article, I suggested some techniques that can be used to keep your birds cool and safe during hot weather (please see article below).  Today I’d like to take a look at recognizing and dealing with heat stress and heat stoke.

Note: the attached photos depict some North American birds that are well-adapted to desert habitats – the Roadrunner, Gila Woodpecker and Elf Owl.

Dangerous Places and Temperatures

Wild birds and pets kept in large outdoor aviaries rarely experience heat-related problems, no matter how high temperatures climb (of course there are limits – don’t try keeping your pet penguin outdoors in Las Vegas!). Read More »

Bird Research – Parrot Parents Give Specific “Names” to their Chicks!

Green Rumped ParrotletsCornell University researchers have just revealed a most surprising bit of avian news that may show why Green-Rumped Parrotlets (Forpus passerinus) and their relatives are such good mimics.  Field research has shown that parrots actually label each chick with unique vocal signature –essentially a name.  The chicks and other parrots imitate these names, and use them when communicating with one another!

Why Mimic Speech?

Everything in nature has a purpose, and so ornithologists have long wondered why parrots have such extraordinary abilities to imitate speech, sounds and the calls of other birds…surely it cannot be just to entertain their owners!  We now have evidence that mimicry is likely vital to parrot social structure and survival. Read More »

Understanding Parrots – “Bad” Pet Behavior may be Perfectly-Normal

MacawsParrots are complicated, social animals, and as such can be very confusing to owners.  What is perceived as “bad” or “destructive” behavior has roots in millions of years of evolution.  Understanding your parrot’s natural history – how it lives in the wild – is key to your pet’s welfare, and a rewarding relationship with it.

Understanding Your Bird’s “Wild Side”

Good parrot care begins with a thorough understanding of parrot natural history.  Parrot ancestors arose 100 million years ago…your own intentions, however well-meaning, will never overpower the instincts that have evolved since then.  This is a very important point to keep in mind – parrots are wild creatures, driven by instinct, and, even after many generations in captivity, are in no sense domesticated (i.e. as are dogs or sheep).  They do have remarkable learning abilities that often enable them to modify their instinctual responses.  However, when considering parrot care and training, it is paramount that their true natures be considered. Read More »

Blue and Gold Macaw Natural History – the Wild Side of a Popular Pet

Blue and Gold MacawThe huge, stunningly-colored Blue and Gold (or Blue and Yellow) Macaw, Ara ararauna, is one of the most recognizable of all birds…size, color, intelligence (and voice!) make it impossible to ignore.  While it has long been bred in captivity, the natural history of this spectacular parrot is less-well known.  Please read on to learn about its life in the wild and the threats to its continued existence.


The Blue and Gold has the largest natural range of any macaw.  It is found from Eastern Panama east across most of Northern South America and south through Bolivia to Paraguay and Eastern Brazil.  Despite this, it is declining or extinct in some areas…Trinidad’s macaws disappeared in the 1960’s, but a new population has been re-introduced. Read More »

Keeping and Breeding the Cuban Finch or Cuban Melodious Grassquit

Cuban GrassquitFinch keepers with a bit of room and some experience would do well to consider the gorgeous and plucky Cuban Finch, Tiaris canora.  They can be challenging, but most agree that their gorgeous colors and vibrant spirits make efforts spent on their care worthwhile.

Although not commonly seen in pet stores in the USA, Cuban Finches are well established in private collections.  The related Yellow-Faced Grassquit or Olive Finch, T. olivacea, is sometimes available from the breeders specializing in Cuban Finches. Read More »

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