Bird Behavior & Training

The Parrot’s Bill of Rights

Building a Relationship with your Bird:

Enriching your Bird’s Environment:

Behavioral Problems:

Living with Other Pets:

Training your Parrot:

The following information has been provided by Dr. Jill M. Patt, DVM practicing in Mesa, Arizona. Dr. Patt has been keeping and raising exotic birds for years, providing her a unique knowledge and understanding that goes beyond that of a regular vet who does not have the benefit of daily interaction with birds / parrots.

Parrots as Pets:

Birds are fascinating, beautiful, incredible creatures that I have chosen to share my life with. I’ve enjoyed keeping and raising birds for as long as I can remember and they are greatly responsible for my becoming a veterinarian. 

While I love these critters, I also understand how difficult they can be to live with. Before anyone acquires a pet bird they need to understand what they are getting into. Never acquire any type of pet on an impulse and especially a bird. 

Studies have proven that birds are much more intelligent than our other commonly kept pets and they also are very long lived. These two factors often contribute to some of the problems we see in avian veterinary medicine. Because birds are so intelligent, they become board easily and this commonly leads to behavioral disorders such as feather picking and skin mutilation. (Please note that feather plucking/chewing can have physical causes.) 

Their intelligence can also get them into trouble. As an example, it is not uncommon for a bird to learn that when they scream the owner comes to the cage and they quickly become attention yellers.

Also, because they often live for decades on very poor diets, we regularly see diseases associated with severe malnutrition. Therefore, I encourage anyone considering acquiring a bird to become thoroughly educated in the needs of the bird prior to bringing your feathered friend home.

Pet Potentials / Training of the Different Bird Families:

African Greys as PetsAmazon Parrots as Pets

Brotogeris as Pets (Grey-cheeks, Canary-winged Parakeets, etc.) 

Caiques as Pets – Personality TraitsChicken as PetsCockatiels as PetsCockatoos as PetsConures as Pets 

Lories / Lorikeets as PetsLovebirds as Pets 

Macaws as Pets 

Pigeons: Personality and Pet Potential

Turacos as Pets 

Vasa Parrots as Pets

Keep your bird busy or otherwise he or she will keep themselves engaged, and you MAY not like what they choose to do!

Toys are an essential part of stimulating birds and keeping them occupied. They need not be expensive. For most birds, but the most destructive ones, small children toys are safe to use. They are usually made from safe / non-toxic materials and are easily obtainable from garage sales or thrift stores.

With a little creativity you can make interesting toys yourself. An empty pen hull makes a great toy for most parrots. Empty bottle caps (non-toxic ones, like plastic). Make sure your bird doesn’t ingest any of it though. Most birds won’t, but others will. For the latter ones, safe tree branches would be a great alternative … 

The following resources will be helpful: Environmental Changes …. Bird Proofing Your Home …. Foraging stops destructive behaviors … Also refer to: Redirecting Negative Behaviors in your Petbird for some excellent tips and tricks.

Cat and Cockatiel

Potty Training 

Sexual Behavior in Companion Birds

Training your cat / dog to live with your pet bird

Photo of author

Team Beauty of Birds's team of experts includes veterinarians, biologists, environmentalists and active bird watchers. All put together, we have over half a century of experience in the birding space.

You can meet our team here.
Team Beauty of Birds is separate from the “Parrot Parent University” parrot training course and its instructors.