The loud noises that thunder makes can be scary or even terrifying for many domesticated animals. When thunder arrives unexpectedly, the loud noise can startle captive parrots, leading to fearful and defensive behavior.
Wild parrots grow excited by thunderstorms, especially if they live in rainforests. Thunder signifies that food is about to be in abundance and breeding season is approaching. However, captive parrots are more likely to be afraid of loud thunderclaps, leading to self-mutilation, loss of appetite, vocalization, and stress bars.
When thunderstorms occur, scared parrots must be kept comfortable so that they don’t self-harm. Provide a dark hiding spot and remain nearby while talking to your parrot so that it feels safe.
Do Parrots Get Scared Of Storms?
Scientific research suggests that birds can detect when storms and bad weather are coming. The Journal of Experimental Biology explains how birds alter their behavior based on ambient pressure changes. Parrots can detect when barometric pressure declines before a storm (thunder, lightning, and heavy rain) arrives.
As a result, parrots may be able to detect storms in advance, preventing them from developing a fear of storms. Although, storm detection can have the opposite effect as parrots will ready themselves for danger.
Some parrots may show signs of stress hours before the storm arrives. This can be really confusing to owners who aren’t aware of what’s causing this sudden behavioral change.
Do Parrots Get Scared of Thunder?
Much depends on the parrot’s personality whether or not it gets scared of thunder. Clearly, parrots that are sensitive to loud sounds won’t like loud thunderclaps. More confident parrots are less likely to be fazed by the experience.
Many wild parrots live in rainforests, where storms are relatively common. As a result, they’re accustomed to the sound of thunder. During the monsoon season in places like Australia, rainy, stormy weather signifies that food will soon be in abundance. Warm, wet conditions provide the optimal ecosystem for plant growth, which parrots feed off.
These plants also support insect life, providing food for parrots whose diets consist of insects. As a result, thunder can be seen as a good thing for parrots because the weather it’s accompanied by provides parrots with the sustenance needed to survive.
Thunder also signifies that breeding season is about to commence. In the Amazon rainforest, the rain season starts around the end of February to early March. This is when thunderstorms are also most likely to occur.
During this period, parrots become sexually mature and experience surges in hormones that get their bodies ready to nest and lay eggs. Therefore, parrots may react to thunder by singing and dancing, as they’re excited about the start of the breeding season.
Do Parrots Get Scared of Lightning?
Again, a parrot’s personality determines whether they’re affected by lightning. Some parrots have no problem with lightning and may not even notice the sky lighting up. Others may be confused about what lightning means and become stressed.
Wild parrots understand that lightning also means thunder, wind, and rain. To avoid being up too high where they can be whipped around by the extreme weather, they’ll find shelter nearer the ground or in tree hollows, which is usually where parrots nest.
In dense rainforests and woodlands, lightning causes fires, which can destroy large sections of the forest. Therefore, many parrots are on high alert when lightning strikes in case they have to flee the danger.
Do Parrots Mind Loud Noises?
Those parrots that are accustomed to a noisy environment are most likely to cope better with these sounds. On the other hand, parrots that live in a quiet, peaceful environment may fare worse.
The hearing abilities of a parrot are comparable to a 60-year-old man. This means that parrots can hear noises relatively well and are troubled by them if they’re sudden and very loud.
How To Tell If A Parrot Is Scared Of Thunder?
Parrots that are scared of thunder may show symptoms of stress in advance of the storm’s commencement. The following indicates that your parrot is scared:
Stress bars are small lines that run horizontally across each feather shaft. When they appear, they show that your parrot is fearful about the thunderstorm.
Stress bars are easier to see on molted feathers. They’re more common on the wings. It isn’t possible to tell what’s causing stress bars from the feathers alone, but they highlight that something is wrong.
When parrots are stressed, they vocalize more frequently. Some parrots will scream, while others will hiss. If your parrot is ordinarily quiet, excessive vocalization is a problem. Similarly, if you have a noisy parrot that’s suddenly gone silent, it’s upset by the thunder and is greatly concerned by what’s happening outside.
Fluffed Up Feathers
Parrots fluff up their feathers when scared to make themselves appear larger and more threatening. Parrots confronted by predators usually do it, but it’s also a natural reaction to fear.
When parrots are stressed by thunder, they will fluff up their feathers, which you’ll notice alongside a range of other signs. Observe the symptoms to determine whether thunder is the cause of your parrot’s fear.
Not only do parrots pluck their feathers out of the skin, but they also dig into their skin with their beaks. Very stressed parrots go as far as the muscle and bones, causing damage to the pectoral muscles.
According to the Exotic Animal Veterinary Center, self-mutilation can be life-threatening. It’s most commonly observed in lovebirds, cockatoos, African greys, and Eclectus parrots. Unfortunately, once self-mutilation begins, it’s hard to stop, even once the thunderstorm ends.
Feather plucking doesn’t happen in the wild and is a problem that only affects captive birds. During thunderstorms, wild parrots keep themselves occupied by foraging for food, avoiding predators, mating, breeding, and rearing babies.
Loss of Appetite
When parrots are scared of thunder, they may refuse to eat. They’ll be unable to focus on anything other than their fear. Not even your parrot’s favorite treats will tempt it to eat when thunder is rolling outside. In most cases, your parrot will regain its appetite once the thunder stops and a period of time has elapsed.
How To Keep Parrots Calm During A Thunderstorm?
If your pet parrot is scared of thunder and lightning, you must keep it relaxed. Some parrots will become more agitated by your presence, while others will find it comforting. Some of the best ways of calming your parrot include:
If the thunderstorm is accompanied by lightning, keep your parrot away from the window where it can’t see lightning flashes. Blackout curtains should keep the room dark. If you don’t have curtains, move your parrot to a room that has small windows to minimize exposure. You could also place a blanket over part of your parrot’s cage.
Provide toys and games to occupy your parrot, and keep checking in on it to ensure it’s okay. Use playthings that they’re familiar with as sometimes new toys can be intimidating.
Play Some Music
When thunderstorms are raging, play some calming music for your parrot to listen to drown out the thunder’s sound. However, don’t turn it up too much, as loud music may worsen the parrot’s stress. White noise machines that provide natural background sounds can enable parrots to feel more at ease.
Stay Close To Your Parrot
Parrots that prefer human company will appreciate your presence when a thunderstorm arrives. During the storm, remain in your parrot’s room and speak softly to calm it down.
If your parrot sees that you’re not afraid, it should also feel less scared. Read a book to your parrot or turn on the TV and watch it together. Remain calm at all times, even if you’re scared of thunder and lightning yourself.
Dried chamomile or chamomile tea is known to soothe stressed parrots. It can even help birds sleep and prevent them from plucking their feathers or displaying other self-mutilation behaviors.
If your parrot displays destructive behaviors brought on by stress, place some lukewarm chamomile tea into a shallow dish for your parrot to drink it. If your parrot doesn’t like the taste, mist it over the feathers.
While wild parrots know what thunderstorms mean, captive parrots may be unfamiliar with the loud claps of thunder. If so, comfort your parrot. Once the storm has gone away, most parrots’ behavior normalizes.