Hormones can get the best of our pet birds, but never fear! Look for these signs to know if your pet bird is starting to become hormonal.

Mating Behavior

Your pet bird might display mating behavior by frequently regurgitating food, panting or crouching down with its wings drooped. Whatever, or whomever, has become your bird’s object of affection could interfere with your bird’s good behavior. Your pet bird’s affection for these people or items can cause behavior problems.

A bird might scream when it’s bereft of these romantic connections or bite when it feels its perceived mate is betraying it. Keep hormones in check by keeping an eye out for these telltale behaviors:


Watch for revved up paper-shredding or cloth-chewing. Your bird will want a nice place to lay eggs, and hormones fuel it to instinctively begin nesting. Parrots seek soft bedding for roosting and rearing chicks. Your pet bird might collect this material and bring it to a corner of its cage, or wherever there might be an out-of-the-way nook.

Food Fondness

When there is plenty of food to go around, your bird might think it’s the perfect time to raise a family. Avoid feeding your bird excessive amounts of food, especially warm, mushy meals. A warm, mushy meal is similar to the regurgitated food that bonded birds and parents feed each other.

Ducking Out

Blame hormones if you see your pet bird heading toward a dark part of its cage, like its hidey hut, or a sheltered spot around your house. Your pet parrot will naturally want to roost in tucked-away, hidden areas.


Regular masturbation is common, fueled by a desire to reproduce; however, many birds increase this behavior during certain times. Talk to your veterinarian if you think your pet bird is masturbating too much.

Tips To Help

Shift your bird’s idea of the time of year. Longer daylight hours can lead birds to believe that it’s mating season. Cut back on the hours of daylight your bird is exposed to — no more than 10 to 12 hours. When you see your bird looking for nesting sites or materials, distract it, and remove any nestlike areas, paper or cloth from your bird’s cage or play area. If your bird is aggressive around its cage, which is another sign of hormones, focus its energy on play; give it ample toys to dismantle.

Breeders and avian consultants and veterinarians can offer more ways to work with your pet bird during breeding season. This seasonal behavior is just that: seasonal.

Signs of Hormonal Birds

  • Increased shredding of paper or toys
  • Increased chewing
  • Nest-building or nesting
  • Hiding in dark areas or holes and/or burrowing
  • Aggression
  • Possessiveness
  • Increased vocalization
  • Being territorial
  • Regurgitation
  • Masturbating
  • Egg laying

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