HELP your bird cope with fireworks

Revised: 12/30/2021

Every culture loves fireworks!  From the 4th of July to New Year’s Eve, we celebrate with the triumph of bright, bursting fireworks. Fireworks engage almost all of our senses.  Same thing with thunder. Loud bangs and bright lights are bound to frighten any sensitive animal.

Fireworks in particular are great to be around if you are expecting them, but very scary for our pets that don’t expect them or understand them.  Pets often go into fight or flight mode during fireworks celebrations. 

Put yourself in your bird's position.  Bright bursts of light, loud bang after bang after bang, and even the unusual smell of burning sulfur waking them up after they've been asleep.

Anything that is unexpected and out of the ordinary routine - plus, involves sensory overload can freak your parrot out and send it into flight or fight mode.

You might observe wing flapping, feather chewing, screaming, and other fear-related behaviors. Some parrots are prone to developing ongoing trauma-related behaviors after such an event, especially if they've hurt themselves. So, you'll want to ensure that you are there to help your scared parrot.

Anticipate that your pet bird might become extremely distressed during fireworks celebrations.  Plan to support your parrot especially if this is their first fireworks or thunderstorm experience:

  • Stay close so that you can help them feel safe
  • Prepare for their safety before the big day 

Here's how to plan for the next big bang.


Parrots are prone to anxiety, especially in new or unexpected situations. Even if your bird is not anxious, always plan to reinforce calm behavior rather than the anxious behavior. Label the calm behavior with a word like “settle.” When you notice your bird acting anxious, ignore it until it calms down.  Then, as soon as it calms down, offer it a delicious treat.


One of the best things that we can do to prevent over-anxious behavior in the first place is to satisfy our pet bird’s wellness needs.  If you're unsure of what I mean by that head over to this blog. A well-nourished bird that's getting enough sleep, exercise, enrichment, and social experiences is more resilient.



 Nevertheless, planning ahead to support your. bird is the best thing thing you can do.

  • Get your bird used to being in a sleep cage prior to the celebration. The sleep cage should be small and comfortable.  Remove the perch if you are afraid your bird will flap around and injure itself. Get your bird used to  the sleep cage being placed in a dark, confined room like a bathroom with now windows or closet. This will muffle the constant banging sounds and shield your bird from the bright lights.

  •  If you can't get a sleep cage, cover your bird's regular cage with a heavy blanket to shield it from the bright lights and loud noise.

  •  Play relaxing music for background noise.

  • Watch your bird for breathing difficulties. Fireworks displays come with the smell of burning sulfur.  Parrots have extremely sensitive lungs so anticipate that the smoke and smell may be irritating for your bird.  You may want to run an air cleaning system as a precaution.


    Not only should you be rewarding and reinforcing calm behavior, but you can also desensitize your bird to the sounds of fireworks.  Get on YouTube and search for fireworks videos. Play them for a half-hour or so each day.  Each day, play them progressively louder. Always be available to supervise your bird while playing the desensitization videos and make it a point to generously reward calm behavior. Also, act like you love the noise. Never try to desensitize your bird to the smell of fireworks.


    Get some bird calming supplements likeUnRuffledRx Parrot Calming Formula or UnRuffledRx Bird Calming Tea are very helpful in calming your parrots’ nerves on the big day.  These natural supplements calm anxieties in parrots with no side-effects.  Simply mix one of these supplements with your parrot's favorite fresh fruits and veggies for several days before the celebration.  

      These five easy strategies may help your parrot cope with fireworks. For more individualized help, book a bird behavior consultation today.

      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: #BirdStress #BirdSelfMutilation