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Signs Your Bird Likes And Trusts You

by Lucy

Pet parents all over the world vouch that their pets show emotions in a variety of ways. They go so far as to say that their pets not only express their feelings but can pick up on positive and negative emotional vibes from their environment and respond accordingly.

There have been many studies conducted in recent years that corroborate the idea that animals such as cats, dogs, dolphins, or horses demonstrate powerful emotions, as they are much more intelligent beings than previously thought.

And this means that these animals and more are possibly capable of really loving other beings beyond self-preservation. Ask anyone who owns a bird, for instance, and you’re sure to hear that even birds form close relationships with their owners based on mutual trust and affection.

So, what are some signs that your bird likes and trusts you? If your bird likes and trusts you, they will express such behaviors as cuddling, sleeping close to you, regurgitating, excited wing flapping, and copying your movements or vocalizations.

If you’re wondering whether or not your parrot has bonded with you, wonder no more. Read on to find out the signs that your bird will show to exhibit its affection towards you.

Do Birds Bond With Humans?

There is irrefutable evidence that supports the fact that birds do bond with their primary caregivers. The more the bird spends time with you, the more likely it is that the bird will bond with you.

Avians do not respond to care and attention like other pets such as cats and dogs. Birds take a reasonable amount of time to become familiar with new environments as well as humans. So, if you allow them the time they need and never ignore their needs and make it a priority to give your bird the attention it deserves, you will eventually form a bond with your bird.

And, the closer the bond grows, the more affection your bird will shower upon you. Yet, birds have their quirks too. So, it may be that the person who looks after the bird doesn’t get the same level of affection as another person.

How Do Birds Show Affection To Humans?

Avian experts seem to flounder when it comes to birds, unable to pick up on the emotions of even the most intelligent birds, like corvids.

This could simply be due to a difference in body language and the fact that birds have a narrower range of facial expressions, but for a long time, researchers believed that the difference between instinctual behavior and heartfelt expressions was a very thin line when it came to birds.

According to some animal behavior researchers, emotions such as joy, fear, and anger are the direct result of a sense of self-preservation. But, if that’s the case, humans may not be so different.

On the other hand, many animal behavioral experts state that some birds such as crows and ravens do depict a wider range of emotions, not just among themselves but with others too. And, they believe these emotions are not the result of survival instinct. Birds aren’t robots; they’re too intelligent not to be unable to react without any emotion.

In the wild, it is difficult for bird watchers to understand every single nuance of birds to differentiate between emotions. However, when you adopt a bird and watch it grow and thrive in close quarters, you can see early on that each bird has a unique personality and way of expressing how they feel.

Evaluating bird behavior to figure out what they’re trying to say becomes pretty simple when you start speaking about domesticated birds. And, there are several ways your bird will show you its love towards you.

1. Cuddling

Cuddling is a universal show of love, both in the human and animal world. You shouldn’t be surprised when your bird wants to cuddle you, as parrots that grow up with human parents can copy many human behaviors. 

Another aspect of cuddling is that it is also closely associated with survival. You see, in the wild, when animals are unable to shelter themselves from the outside elements, they cuddle to share body warmth. Similar patterns also hold when some animals feel fear.

Therefore, your bird may not just cuddle you to show you love. It may also be cuddling into you because it trusts you to protect it from the dangers of the outside world.

2. Regurgitation

Pretty gross, we know, but bear with us. It is common practice among birds to feed their young through regurgitation.

But, it isn’t just a phenomenon carried out by caring bird parents. Male birds during courtship will bring food for their prospective mate and regurgitate the food into the female’s mouth. It is what most bird lovers call a kiss. 

According to animal researchers, it stems from an instinctual effort to gain a mate. And, yes, parrots do regurgitate for their humans when they want to show their joy or love.

3. Sleeping Close To Their Human Parents

Birds in the wild do not expose themselves to unnecessary dangers. Building a shelter is an attempt to protect their young and shield themselves from predators. You’ll see many bird species building nests high in the trees or anywhere they’ve deemed a safe place.

But, domestic birds do not have such fears. When any bird, be it a raven or budgie, gets accustomed to the presence of their human, they will happily sleep in their presence. When an animal is asleep, it’s at its most vulnerable. So this behavior goes to show just how much trust they put in you.

4. Wing Flapping

Now, wing-flapping isn’t an unusual behavior from birds. You see it when they are happy or even when they are angry. But, wing flapping in conjunction with other actions such as singing or preening should mean that your bird is happy with you. 

The significant aspect of avian behavior is that birds don’t just flap their wings when they are happy. Birds also flap their wings when they seem to sense happiness from their owners as well!

5. Copy Cat Behavior

A study in Plos One supports the fact that when birds, particularly parrots, bond with their humans, these birds start to copy their humans too. No, they don’t just use mimicry to sound like you. They follow you around and even copy specific actions that you seem to do a lot.

In the wild, bird behavior is open to many speculations, as many external factors can alter a conclusion. But the study of birds in a domesticated environment opens new prospects for researchers, as these birds no longer have to worry about survival constantly.

Now, the truly unique part of this study showed that parrots that lived in big families did not copy the behavior of everyone around them. The birds only copied humans they had bonded with, making it evident that the bird needs to have a close association and connection with the human it emulates.

How To Tell If Your Bird Is Bonded To You

Well, you now have a good idea about the way that birds show affection. You see, birds don’t bond with every member of the family. They may be close to some and avoid others altogether. It may not be too difficult for you to put two and two together; the way it behaves with the one it bonds with is ultimately telling.

A Few Other Bonding Behaviors:

  • Preening – Birds don’t preen everyone. They only preen those they are close with. And, if you happen to be one of them, consider yourself very lucky.
  • Sitting On Your Fingers And Shoulder – If your bird has bonded with you, then it’ll aim to sit on your finger and shoulder. This becomes even more pronounced when you let it out of its cage for some free flying time. 
  • Kissing – Parrots very happily shower kisses upon their pet parents. And, if they love you more than the others, they may even use their tongue to lick you.
  • Tail Wagging – The more the bird wags its tail in your presence, the happier it is. And, domestic birds tend to do tail wagging only around those they particularly love or trust.
  • Staying Close To You – Most parrots also fly away when they see other family members approaching. But, if your bird has bonded with you, it’ll never fly away from you. 
  • Cuddling And Napping – They gladly cuddle and sleep on your arm. Such behavior reflects a high level of trust and bonding.

Related Questions

It may be evident for you when your bird is happy. But, sometimes birds don’t react the same way, even with the same person in a similar manner. You can read on to find answers to some perplexing bird behaviors.

Is It OK For Humans To Kiss Their Birds?

You can pet your parrot around its head or beak, but kissing your bird on its mouth or allowing your bird to kiss you on your mouth isn’t recommended by many vets. You see, dangerous bacteria can cause psittacosis or parrot fever. The bacteria chlamydia psittaci can exist in wild and domestic birds.

Hence, it would be best if you took care when you handle your birds. And, it’s safest not to encourage kissing in your pet, as that can be harmful to you as well as your pet.

It may not be the most brilliant move to pet a bird’s beak either, if it isn’t used to your presence. But if your bird knows you, it will not feel harassed by your show of love if you touch its beak or head. 

But, there are places that birds should not be touched if you don’t want a frustrated bird on your hands. These areas include any space close to the tail, under the wings, and along the back.

Overstimulation can cause females to start laying eggs. It can lead to calcium depletion or egg binding as well. And a frustrated male budgie or parrot will also present several challenges when it comes to aggression.

When Can You Tell That Your Bird Is Unhappy?

In general, once a bird has bonded with a human, they rarely become aloof or isolated. But, there have been circumstances when birds became unhappy. Now, this usually happens when they feel threatened or in danger by the presence of another person or animal.

If you feel that your bird has lost some of its joy, then look for any obvious signs of trouble. A new pet or a family member visiting may be the cause.

On the other hand, birds also become less interactive when they are suffering from an ailment. In this case, a trip to the vet should be your next priority. And, it’s a smart move to keep a close eye on your bird’s movements and its interaction with other family members.  

Do Birds Remember You?

Yes, birds do remember faces particularly well. But, most birds do not have solid long-term memory. Hence, if you expect your parrot to recognize you after being with another caregiver for a decade, it’ll be unlikely. 

Animal experts use the term unlikely because birds like parrots even remember faces who have been good to them and those that have ill-treated them. If you took care of a baby parrot and gave it up for adoption in its infancy, it might forget you. But, an adult parrot keeps a pretty good memory.

Speaking of birds, you can look at birds such as ravens or crows to understand that different bird species behave differently. If you’ve been unkind to a baby crow, for instance, it’s going to remember for the longest time. And, it’ll make sure that its flock remembers it too. 

Do Birds Get Bored In Their Cages?

Most birds that make popular domestic pets, such as parrots and budgies, are highly social. Hence, they do well with the company of other birds. And if you leave them alone in their cage for too long, your birdie will become depressed.

If your bird has bonded with you, and you cannot dedicate the time and care your bird deserves, then it would be best if you asked another family member, friend, or colleague to visit your bird every day until you are in a place to take care of your bird again.

It’s also a great idea to give your birdie new toys to play with while you’re at work (these are our favorite!). You can also rotate the toys every once in a while so your curious friend can explore their cage and get some enrichment.

If you don’t want to spend money on a lot of pre-made toys, you can make your own out of paper, pet-safe dyes, natural wood blocks, and non-toxic plastic baby toys or cat and dog toys.

Also, most parrots are flock animals, meaning that they love to interact with, play with, and be around other creatures, humans, or other animals. For a parrot to be left alone in a cage for a long duration without stimulation is like torture. Wouldn’t you be depressed if that were you?

And, if you don’t feel that you are up for the responsibility, then it’s a good idea not to adopt an animal. It’s true that pets enrich the lives of their owners. But they, too, require love and attention in return. 

Do Birds Recognize Their Names?

Parrots and corvids are brilliant when it comes to mimicry. And the way they are so good at mimicry is that parrots remember the sounds. In short, parrots and most other birds do recognize their names. Of course, they won’t understand that it’s their name immediately.

Repetition and training, along with lots of positive reinforcement, will help your bird learn not just its name but many other words or sounds too. Birds such as ravens or crows too can be trained to remember their names. And, some budgies can learn to respond to their name as well. 

But, not all bird species have the same level of intelligence. Therefore, you can’t expect the same response time from all of them. So, if you want your bird to respond to its name, first make it a point to do some background check upon its ability to learn.

Up Next: Why Do Birds Bob Their Heads To Music?

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