Although there are approximately 115 different varieties of parakeets, only the Australian parakeet is commonly kept as a pet. This breed is popular as they’re easy to raise, affectionate, and quieter than most pet birds. Parakeets aren’t as intelligent as the larger parrot species, such as African greys, making you wonder if they are smart enough to recognize their owners.
Parakeets can recognize their owner’s face and voice sufficiently to distinguish individual people in a large crowd. However, they can get confused if owners change their hair or clothes drastically. Once a parakeet realizes that the individual is its owner, it’ll have no problem trusting that person again.
In their natural habitat, parakeets live in flocks and depend on each other for survival through communication. So, they’re equipped to recognize members of their flock. So, by spending time with a parakeet, it’ll remember and recognize you, even after spending months apart.
Do Parakeets Know Their Owners?
Parakeets possess an innate ability to recognize their owners due to how they’ve evolved in the wild. This is paired with various indicators they look out for in humans, such as their:
- Physical appearance
- Voice and sounds
- Scent, including perfumes and odors
Even if you look physically similar to another member of your family or friend, you’ll smell and sound unique. A parakeet will still know you by your appearance and scent. This enables parakeets to bond with one person.
If another person provides care for the parrot, it may reject their assistance. The parakeet will instantly know that this person isn’t you. It may get defensive of its space, refuse to accept food, or show signs of aggression.
After several weeks apart, a parrot will still be able to recognize you. Since parakeets have good memories, they won’t forget your unique identifiers. After months of being apart, parakeets have been known to recognize their owners and respond to their presence.
How Can Parakeets Recognize Their Owners?
The intelligence of parakeets is attributed to the way they evolved. Their ability to recognize their owners fits into how they interact with each other so well in the wild.
Parakeets live in large flocks. This affords them protection from threats, a community to forage with, and an opportunity to socialize. However, if they confused their own flock-mates, this would have dire consequences.
So, each flock develops its own unique sound, allowing members to identify each other. In addition, they use scent and appearance to tell their mates and chicks apart. This guides their interactions and strengthens their ability to form close bonds with one another.
Parakeets have exceptional vision and can identify people by how they look. However, your parakeet might struggle to identify you for a moment if you totally change your appearance.
Parakeets dislike change, and this includes any changes that you make to your physical appearance. Sometimes, an oversized coat or a shirt with vibrant colors is enough to make your parakeet distrust you. For example, this could occur if you switch from wearing outfits with muted colors to extravagant textures and visually loud colors.
Appearance is the most important identifier when it comes to a parakeet recognizing you. So, you should be careful about approaching parakeets in low lighting. After all, they can’t see as well in the dark. Your parakeet might get scared if it thinks that a stranger is approaching.
If your parakeet doesn’t recognize you after a change of hairstyle or clothing, it’s typically your voice that enables it to recognize you. So, it’s crucial to speak to your parakeet often and allow it to grow accustomed to your unique tone of voice.
Vocal communication is essential for social animals that desire company. Parakeets are extremely chatty, making various sounds and noises to interact with their flock.
Parakeets learn the different sounds that humans make. According to Animal Behavior, auditory memory plays a significant role in how parakeets find and interact with their mates. Parakeets produce unique sounds, calls, and chirps. They usually adopt the sounds that they hear and mimic those vocalizations in their own way.
When mating season arrives, a male parakeet gets a female parakeet’s attention by mimicking her unique call. Females choose the male that can imitate them most effectively. Once paired, they call out to each other frequently using this sound.
Parakeets mimic the sounds they hear from the humans that raise them. According to Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, just as they pick up the various sounds their mate produces, parakeets will use your voice to identify you.
Parakeets have olfactory glands and can smell things reasonably well, but their sense of smell isn’t as well developed as their other senses. They primarily use their eyes and ears to identify people, other animals, and objects.
Parakeets need their vision more than they need their sense of smell to forage for food. They also have to watch out for predators, so hearing them approach gives them more time to react to a threatening situation. Parakeets won’t recognize you by smell alone.
How to Know If a Parakeet Recognizes You
Every parakeet has its own special way of interacting with its owner. Some have very animated responses, while others are more reserved.
Even still, you can tell if your parakeet knows who you are. See if it displays one or more of the following behaviors when it gets to see you:
- Chirping and singing when other birds aren’t around
- Repeating phrases that you taught it
- Moving closer to you
- Bobbing its head
- Raised crest
If it only performs these actions in your presence, rest assured, it recognizes you and is excited about your company.
How to Get a Parakeet to Recognize You
The best way to get a parakeet to remember you is by spending more time with it. Parakeets have good memories, but they only memorize sounds and sights they like and enjoy. Parakeets will have a favorite person that they want to remember.
Parakeets can recognize their owners after being apart for months. So, they’ll need to appreciate your presence before they’ll mimic you. You should:
- Speak to it softly
- Avoid moving quickly or suddenly
- Provide food that it enjoys
- Play with it often, choosing games it prefers
- Avoid yelling or strict discipline
Spend Time Together
Parakeets are considered easier to raise than larger parrot species, such as African grey parrots. However, they still require attention because of their advanced social needs.
For example, parakeets are more likely to talk if there’s another parakeet nearby. It’s a good form of bonding that carries over into human interaction. For your parakeet to recognize you:
- Speak to it several times a day
- Teach it how to mimic the sounds and words you make
- Handle the majority of its care needs
Your voice is the first thing a parakeet will remember about you. Likewise, it’ll remember if it was feeling happy and excited when it heard you. So, it’s crucial to not only speak often but include your parakeet in fun activities.
Sing and talk to the parakeet while you perform chores, work, cook, and watch TV. Be as animated as you can be while doing so. Parakeet flocks are extremely loud. Get your parakeet to associate your voice with positive things, such as:
- Out of cage activity
By talking to your parakeet regularly in an excited, high-energy tone of voice, you’ll fulfill many of its social needs. Before you know it, your parakeet will consider you to be part of its flock and memorize the unique sounds that you make.