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Spring’s Affect on Parrots, Budgerigars, Canaries, Finches and Other Cage Birds: Aggression, Nesting Behavior and Other Signs of Breeding Readiness


Inca Tern-PairThe longer days and warmer temperatures that are (finally!) upon us may cause some behavioral changes in our pet birds.  Pet owners are often surprised by this, because even birds that are housed alone may show confusing personality changes and odd behaviors.  Furthermore, the behaviors may not occur every year, even though seasonal temperature and light changes around the bird remain similar.

Aggression Towards People

Take extra care around your birds, especially the larger parrots, during the spring, as hormonal changes can spur aggression even in normally calm, affectionate individuals.  This can happen quite suddenly to either males or females.  It is best to keep parrots away from your face and to supervise them closely around children during the breeding season.

Nesting Behavior

Purple GallinuleHens of most bird species will search the cage floor for nesting material, often quite frantically, when breeding readiness sets in.  If a nesting site is not available, they may carry feathers and bits of material about continually, seemingly unsure of what to do with them but unwilling to let go.  Cocks will become more vocal, and will show greater interest in the hens.

The Droppings

The droppings of female birds may change appearance during the breeding season, becoming larger and, in those species that produce greenish feces, a dark brown in color.

Physical and Behavioral Changes in Budgerigars

The cere (the area above the bill, which houses the nostrils) of a breeding female budgerigar will turn deep brown, and she may become quite destructive.  Cuttlebones and toys that were given scant attention in the past may now be demolished in a matter of minutes.

Amorous male budgies will begin to call while constricting the pupil of the eye and banging the beak on perches and cage bars.  If a hen is present, the male will usually display before her with comical, (to us, at least…hopefully not to the hen!) bobbing head movements.

Further Reading

An interesting article on the hormonal changes that occur in cage birds during the breeding season is posted at http://www.exoticpetvet.net/avian/season.html.

For information on other aspects of bird breeding, please see the following articles on this blog:

Nest Boxes

Infertility in Pet Birds

Overproduction of Eggs  


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