Learn about your bird in the wild

Learn about your bird in the wild

There are many resources on keeping birds in captivity. Most people search online but there are also books and magazines. However, these resources typically don’t mention much about how various bird species live in the wild.

The reason this is important is that unlike dogs and cats, birds are significantly less domesticated and some argue they are not domesticated at all.

An important distinction to make is that learning to behave nicely around humans is very different than being genetically programmed to like humans! Usually, domesticated animals mesh well with human lifestyles because the animals have been selected to like people. A domesticated dog puppy with limited experience near people will still approach humans for affection and play because thousands of generations of dogs before it were allowed to breed only if they were friendly toward humans.

Wild, Invasive, Domesticated, or Tame: How to Describe a Bird—Constance Woodman—AFA Watchbird

The more that animals are bred to integrate with how we live our lives, the less they are like their wild ancestors. Some argue that certain bird species can be considered domesticated.

Budgies, cockatiels, lovebirds, and parrotlets have been bred in captivity the longest and are popular and readily available in many color mutations; by some definitions they are domesticated.

Companion Parrot—Wikipedia

Even for birds that have some domestication, they have centuries of evolutionary forces shaping their anatomy, how and what they eat, how they behave, and how they mate. They come from places with specific climates, seasons, and amount of sunlight.

You should consider learning how your bird lives in the wild. It will give you insights into their personalities and clues to deciphering behaviors. Plus, I think it can deepen the relationship with your bird.

I generally advocate for trying to replicate aspects of a bird’s life in the wild where practical. It can be an uphill battle because it’s generally believed that birds be treated as domesticated animals and that we can provide a better life than they could get in the wild. See my post on the health of captive parrots which refutes that notion.

One example of how I applied this to my cockatiels is learning that they are grassland birds and foraging for grass seeds takes up a significant part of their lives in the wild. So, I learned that grass for grassland birds is an excellent idea. It’s become a huge part of their lives, providing enrichment, entertainment, and nutrition.

What will you learn about your bird?