Spring Fever

Written By: B.D. Butler - Mar• 24•12

spring fever

noun

a listless, lazy, or restless feeling commonly associated with the beginning of spring.

I don’t know about you, but I have been a bit of a gypsy for most of my adult life.  Even if it wasn’t a large move to another city, there was a move to another locale.  Ironically enough all of these moves happen in the Spring time.  So naturally around this time of year I get antsy.  It gets a bit warmer, and I start thinking of changes in certain avenues, and this Spring is no different.  Since we are in this house for another year and a half at least, I have made the decision to really commit to the yard work, and making our little cottage a detailed masterpiece.  Ah, that really looks good on the page now doesn’t it?  If it will happen, that will be the question.  See in Seattle, since the summer is quite rare, and the sunny higher temperatures occur for a couple of months (if that) during the year, in the summer you feel guilty if you are not out enjoying it.  It’s like mother nature has her own brand of guilt, in the Pacific Northwest.

 

Click here for Spring Fever.

Animals in general are not that different.  I have written before about hormonal behavior, and the things that can begin to happen, even when the days get just a bit longer, you notice changes.  Dexter just regurgitated for me last week, it was interesting to see, and I had never seen him do it.  I know it’s his way of saying, “I love you” but, I’m used to the traditional hallmark card.  Cooper has a high-pitched schrillish chirp that he does while doing his upside down mating dance.  It’s actually kind of funny watching his performances.  Having Dexter two years, and Cooper almost a year has proved to be very informative, and we are used to Spring Fever kicking in, and the possible attacks that can ensue.  For instance, it was this time last year that Eric got attacked by Dexter.  Dexter is usually very sweet, and non-tempermental, however Eric went in for “kisses” and got his lip bit, with no bleeding injuries.  I think it scared him more than anything.  Then about a week later, Eric went to pick him up, and he went Night of the Living Dead on his hand.  Eric still has scars on his hands and arm from that one.   Battle wounds of spring time fun!

The evil sodom and gomorrah toy.

There are certain behaviors that can be triggered by events, or items.  Like for instance if you provide you bird with enough “nesting” materials, like shredded paper, or a nest like location, it can very possibly start going into mating/breeding behavior.  Think of it  like throwing on some Marvin Gaye and providing candlelight, there is bound to be a romantic reaction and notion, if you catch my drift.  The toy in the picture was one I bought at the local bird store, the clerk said it would be amazing, little did I know how amazing it would be.  The instant I put the toy in the cage, Dexter started dancing about, which is a bit out of his character with new things.  He began to “canoodle” with it.  It was interesting to watch, and I didn’t at first realize the relationship and attachment that he had developed with it, until a couple of weeks later.  I had to sit and think back to when his behavior had changed, and then I realized it was this damn $7.99 toy that had changed my little lover into an aggressive emo bird.  As soon as I really paid attention to his mating dance and then the “canoodling”, that toy was in the trash before you could blink.  Dexter was pouty with me for a day or so, but then he returned back to normal.  I made sure that I spent as much time with him during the transition back into reality, and even read to him.  He then returned to his old self, and I now pay attention to the toys that he may develop attachments to.

 

Click here for cage cover.

There are some steps you can take to help your bird gradually adjust to Spring and Summer.

1.  Diet is very important, watch over feeding, and starches/sugar (you should watch these anyways, but be especially mindful) intake during hormone time.

2.  Twelve hours of sleep a night, in the beginning you will notice the signs. cover them, the longer they sleep in total darkness, and get restful sleep the better.

3.  Keep your bird occupied, by keeping its mind off things, then it doesn’t think about mating/breeding. (rearrange cage more frequently, and give them some exercise)

4.  Limit personal contact, don’t over-do the petting aspect, they may mistake you for doing something else.

5. Make sure you have full spectrum lighting, this really helps regulate mood, increases vitamin d production and makes for a happy bird.  http://parrotearth.com/2011/02/10/full-spectrum-lighting-to-be-or-not-to-be/

These are just a few items that a trainer friend told me a year ago, and I think it was sound advice, because it worked for me.  However, every parrot is different, maybe only one or two items out of this list will work.  There are several sites that offer hints on this very topic, and maybe one of those will work for you.

The other thing I will also put out there, be patient.  Patience during this time is so critical!  Parrots don’t understand what is happening to them, and they don’t have a switch that can be turned on and off.  Beyond the cleaning of poop, and chewing on that picture frame on the wall, if you can get through spring with your feathered companion, I believe you can make it through just about anything.  I recently read an article written by the director of a rescue organization, it was so insightful.  This article said that most owners of parrots that don’t have a medical reason for selling their birds, make their decisions to sell their birds in spring time, due to hormonal behavior, and not having the knowledge to deal with it.  You will notice ads all over the place Craigslist, Ebay Classifieds, Pet Finder etc, popping up with tons of birds of all shapes and sizes for sale.  I think there is truth to this theory, after all I have two re-homed greys sitting in my living room right now.

 

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