We tend to think birds are very smart animals, and they are. Having the ability to talk to, and communicate with your pet is something every non-bird owner wishes they could do. But it’s important to remember that even the smartest birds are only intelligent as a baby. Therefore your pet bird might be able to say “Give me more food”, but he can’t tell you when he’s feeling ill or when something is wrong.
But you’re more intelligent than a baby, and you can keep your bird healthy and happy by learning your bird’s body signs. By paying attention to your bird, you can avoid getting bitten (which does hurt depending on the type of bird). You can learn when your bird is getting agitated and ready to bite, so you can just leave him alone for a while. If your bird is standing up very tall and looks very thin, and his eyes are totally dilated, he is probably scared or agitated and ready to bite.
If your bird is displaying any of these signs, it’s best to close the cage and leave him alone for a while. If you try to stick your hand in the cage at this point, your bird could tear it up and cause a lot of pain to you and damage to your arm. You can try to whisper or talk softly to your bird to calm him down faster. If you do this, make sure you’re not looking down on the bird. Bend down so the bird feels taller than you, and doesn’t perceive you as a threat. As soon as your bird starts looking more relaxed (and less thin) slowly open the cage and see if he’s ready to play nice.
You can tell your bird is angry when he’s walking back and fourth in his cage, eyes dilated and talking very loud. His chest and feathers will probably be puffed out too. Try to figure out what is agitating your pet bird, maybe another pet (dog, cat) is getting a little too close for comfort. Maybe he sees something he’s never seen and thinks it’s a threat to him.
It’s important to read the body signs of your pet bird so you can avoid getting hurt, and you can help calm down an angry pet bird. The best time to play with him is when he’s relaxed in his cage, even slumped over (which shows relaxation). If you happen to catch your bird right after he wakes up, he will be very calm and very loving.