Take a good look at your parrot’s feathers. Do they appear dull and somewhat brittle? Does your bird seem gloomy and lethargic? Lack of proper full spectrum lighting may be the problem. Birds that are exposed to natural outdoor light or indoor full spectrum lighting have improved feather and skin condition, a perkier attitude and healthier bones. It’s about the Vitamin D.
Our parrots are from tropical forest areas where the sun shines 12 hours a day, year round. Sun light including UVA and UVB rays are essential to your birds’ health. We’ve all heard of seasonal depression, but did you know that birds are even more sensitive to light and light conditions than people are. Full spectrum lighting is essential for both mental and physical health. Birds’ rely on full spectrum lighting for both day to day health and seasonal hormonal regulations.
You’re probably aware of just how important light is for regulating your sleep. Your bird is no different. Light signals the brain that it is time to go to sleep and wake up. Appropriate darkness affects the quality of sleep. As a rule of thumb, our birds need 12 hours of daylight each day. Without adequate full spectrum light, a bird may feel fatigued, be more reactive to stress and ultimately, the immune system may be compromised. Even if you live in a climate where your bird can’t have access to natural full spectrum lighting, you can insure your birds’ health with indoor full spectrum lighting.
Full spectrum lighting affects your birds’ mental and physical health. Most birds, including parrots, have exceptionally keen vision. Your bird is essentially color blind without full spectrum light. Parrots are capable of seeing vivid colors enabling them to navigate their environment, find food amongst leaves and twigs and perceive danger such as other birds and predators. Such keen vision supports your birds’ self- confidence about its ability to keep itself safe.
Physiologically, full spectrum light offers Vitamin D3, an essential component in the utilization of calcium for strong and healthy bones. With already delicate bones, birds rely on lighting for healthy bones. Lighting affects behavior and seasonal hormone levels, allows our birds to get a good night’s sleep and even affects feather health.
While natural sunlight provides the best health benefits for birds, it isn’t always possible to provide it to our birds. Even if you place your bird cage near a window, modern windows are designed to filter out UVA and UVB rays. While natural sunlight should be part of your birds lighting regimen when it's feasible and safe for the bird, indoor full spectrum lights are an important component of keeping your bird healthy.
Select full spectrum bird lights and lamps made for birds and use them as directed. Two excellent brands are Featherbrite Bird Lights and Avitech Avilux. Look for full spectrum lights that emit light in the ultra violet wavelength that replicate natural sunlight to provide all the beneficial properties of sunlight. Mount or suspend full spectrum bird lights approximately 1 – 2’ above the cage over the area where your bird prefers to perch and use a timer to provide the recommend lighting needs for your particular species of bird.