hormonal parrots

Feather Frenzy: The X-Rated Side of Hormonal Bird Behavior

Curious about your bird's secret turn-ons? Take our tongue-in-cheek poll on avian arousal and share your stories! Uncover the surprising moments when innocent actions lead to some feathery affection.
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Hey there, feathered friend enthusiasts! Ever caught yourself inadvertently igniting your bird's romance? Whether it's a seductive head scratch or a moment of mistaken identity in the mirror, our beloved parrots can get hormonally charged faster than you can say 'cheep cheep'.

While it's all fun and feathers, these love-struck behaviors can sometimes leave us scratching our heads (and maybe our birds' too!).

Join our rib-tickling poll and share your stories of accidental avian arousal. Let's uncover just how often our innocent gestures unintentionally set off a flurry of feathers. It's time to laugh, learn, and maybe rethink our approach to parrot petting

What Does Hormonal Behavior in Parrots Look Like?

Hormonal behavior in parrots is a natural thing. Some species are more prone to year-round hormonal behavior while other species only become hormonal once or twice a year. 

During  hormonal times, parrot owners may experience excitable, impulsive birds, aggression, and some owners may even experience their beloved bird ditching them and preferring another family member! 

Your bird may display some hormone related behaviors like:

  • Acting sexual when you pet them on their back or wings 🐦

  • Plucking its feathers on the chest or between its legs (really?) 🦜

  • Trying to throw up on you 🤢

  • Crouching down, panting, and masturbating 🙈

  • Hiding under furniture because it seems like a good place to make a nest 🛋️

  • Shredding carpet, paper, and other soft items 📜

  • Biting and lunging at people 😬

  • Screaming 🗣️


One of the quickest ways to put a damper on your parrot's R-rated antics is to rethink how you're "petting" them. Skip the provocative back rubs and wing strokes that might be sending mixed signals. Keep reading to learn more.

Remember, birds aren't looking for a Netflix and chill session—they just want a good scratch where it counts.

Keep it PG with proper petting techniques, and watch those awkward parrot rendezvous behaviors take a nosedive!

Environmental Triggers For Bird Hormone Surges

We've all had those moments of hormonal chaos, right? As a parrot owner, you'll experience your feathered friend's 'hot flashes' once or twice a year—completely natural, just like flipping the calendar. But hey, planning ahead is key!

  1. Lights Out, Lovebirds: Wanna cool things down? Ramp up the sleep hours from the usual 10-12 to a luxurious 14-16 per night. Think blackout shades for that cozy, midnight ambiance.

  2. Nest Sweet Nest: When birds get that nesting itch, it's all about location, location, location. Whether it's the couch cushions, a cardboard box, or a plush Bird Snuggly, they'll turn anything into a love nest. Watch out for that carpet collection—it's nesting 101.

  3. Hands Off, Romeo: Remember, not every feather is meant to be ruffled. Resist the urge to pet where it counts during their romantic escapades. Mirrors, pet cats, even that stuffed toy—anything can spark a parrot's love flame.

How Do You Manage Hormonal Behavior In Birds?

When your bird gets all hot and bothered with hormones, it's like living in a soap opera—drama included, but no need for the melodrama of punishment. It's all natural, just part of their feathery charm.

The trick?

Steer clear of those triggers that keep the hormones buzzing year-round. Whether it's seasonal surges or mistaking a mirror for a soulmate, staying savvy and giving them space during these hormonal rollercoasters is key.

Read on to learn 6 tips for how to stop hormonal behavior in parrots.

1 – Use "The Percher" Hand-Saver Perch

When your bird is hormonal, it's more apt to bite. Prevent painful hand bites with The Percher. It lets you pick up your bird without the fear of losing a finger. Simply put the top of the perch to your parrot's chest and say “up” or “step up!” when you need to move your hormonal parrot.

2 – Turn Out the Lights. (No, Not Like That.)

As a rule, a hormonal bird will do better with more hours of darkness. Aim for 14 - 16 hours each night during hormone season to keep hormones in balance. A sleep cage with a cover will work for the 3 - 4 weeks of parrot hormone season.

3 – Change Your Parrot’s Diet

When your bird becomes hormonal, avoid giving it starchy foods and high-calorie, high-fat foods. These can send signals to the bird that it's time to start having babies.

Consider reducing starchy foods like breads, corn, potatoes, beans, nuts, cheeses, or meats. Instead, feed:

  • Wheat Germ
  • Hemp Seed
  • Lots of fresh, uncooked vegetables
  • Low-sugar, antioxidant-rich fruits like blueberries

4 – Keep Your Bird Busy

When your parrot starts shredding and wood chipping, they're not just crafting a nest—they're getting ready to redecorate your home! Instead of letting them turn your living room into a lumberyard, let's redirect that creative energy with activities that won't leave you sweeping up sawdust.

  1. Foraging Frenzy: Scatter some bird-safe, pesticide-free twigs, sticks, and leaves around their habitat. It'll keep them busy hunting for treasure without turning your couch into a construction site.

  2. Outdoor Adventures: If you have an outdoor aviary or the weather permits, encourage some outdoor exploration time. It's like a bird vacation where they can flap their wings freely and explore nature, all while burning off that excess hormonal energy.

  3. Chew on This: Provide plenty of chew toys like untreated wood blocks or bird-safe cardboard. These are perfect for redirecting their nesting instincts and saving your curtains from becoming shredded relics.

Remember, keeping your parrot mentally engaged and physically active helps manage those hormonal behaviors and keeps your home looking more like a sanctuary and less like a sawmill!

5 – Remove Anything That Can Be Construed as a "Love Shack"

Remove Bird Snugglies, boxes, or paper bags where your bird might sneak in for a little 'Love Shack' party. No crawling around on the floor and hiding under furniture—it's time to keep those hormonal hideouts out of sight!"


Bonus Tip – Be Mindful of How You Pet Your Bird

Your bird interprets full-body petting as sexual. Limit petting to areas like the head, high neck, around the beak, ears, and feet. Avoid petting that might invite hormonal behavior.

How to pet a parrot

©Infographic by Diane Burroughs, LCSW, 2020  

What happens when birds get hormonal?

Now that we’ve discussed how to stop hormonal behavior in parrots, let’s discuss harmful hormonal behavior in parrots that often leads to rehoming. There are three hormonal behaviors that commonly cause owners to give up their parrots. These are:

    • Feather Plucking
    • Screaming
    • Biting

Some chronically hormonal birds turn to feather plucking 

It is not unusual for chronically hormonal birds to turn to feather plucking to deal with their frustration. I mean, hell, you've got to do something with that tension.

A lot of parrot species pluck out feathers to line their nests during breeding season, so it is easy to see how a sexually frustrated bird turns to plucking.  

Hormonal birds tend to pluck their chest or between their legs.

Bird collars can protect your bird during this time. 

Hormonal birds may scream more

If your bird is hormonal, you can curb its screaming behavior by giving it activities that will refocus the pent up energy. As mentioned above, foraging activities and giving it opportunities to play and socialize on a bird stand is a great way to help your bird.  Talk to it in a normal voice and pay attention to it when it is using an "inside voice."

Birds May Become More Aggressive When They're Hormonal

If you notice that your hormonal bird bites more in the spring time, you're not alone. It is common for hormonal birds to have more pent up energy and to scream and bite. The best thing that you can do during this time is to learn to read bird body language to prevent a bite.  

When my Moluccan cockatoo is feeling hormonal, he lunges, spreads his wings and screams, and paces back and forth on top of the cage.  When these behaviors start, I make sure to keep a close eye on him and back up if it gets worse.  

My African grey, on the other hand will climb down to the floor and search for a nesting site, usually a closet.  When he is hormonal, I always use my hand-saver perch and put him back in his cage because he can deliver some nasty bites. 

It is important to not feed into the biting behavior.   Getting angry, screaming, and yelling only reinforce the bird.  Instead, plan to spend a few weeks watching parrot body language and planning to protect yourself.  The last thing that you want to have happen is for this behavior to turn into a habit.

Have you accidentally turned your bird on?

In Closing

Hopefully, you now have a handle on the wild world of bird hormones, making your parrot's 'spring fever' a bit more bearable. Educating yourself is key to keeping our feathered friends out of birdie boot camps (aka sanctuaries) and out of the revolving door of homes. It's no small feat to commit to a parrot, considering they might outlive us all. But with the right know-how, your parrot can be the most loving—and appropriately affectionate—companion you've ever feathered.

If our take on Hormonal Behavior in Parrots tickled your feathers, share it on your socials!

For more expert insights on navigating your parrot's hormonal rollercoaster, check out these blogs."

Let me know if there's anything else you'd like to adjust!

The Ultimate Guide To Hormonal Bird Behavior

How To Pet A Bird And Avoid Chronic Hormonal Behavior

Hey, please leave a comment or share this on your social media if you love this post! 

Diane Burroughs, LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist trained in ABA therapy techniques. She specializes in avian anxiety disorders and is certified in Nutrition For Mental Health. Diane has written a number of bird behavior books and she offers behavior consultations. She's developed a range of UnRuffledRx Science-backed Parrot Wellness Supplies.

Diane's products have been featured in the Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery and at Exoticscon, a conference for exotic pet veterinarians. Her bird collars & supplements are stocked in avian vet clinics and bird stores throughout the US. With over 30 years in the field of behavior, Diane has created thousands of successful individualized behavior plans that help pets thrive.

TAGS: #BirdHormonalSeason #BirdHormones