Night Frights in Birds

Night Frights in Birds

Here we can see, “Night Frights in Birds”

Have you ever been startled awake in the middle of the night by thrashing and activity under one of your covered cages? The other night, it happened to me. All of this bouncing about, a bell ringing, and paper scratching was audible to me. I sprung from my bed and dashed into my living room, lifting one of my African Grey’s covers. Parker was distraught and lying on the cage’s floor.

I took him in my arms and held him. His heart was racing, and he appeared agitated. I carried him into my room, sat on my bed, and held him till he calmed down and started cooing. After a few minutes, I chatted to him quietly, and he was good. What went wrong? I believe it was a case of “night fright.”

Pet Bird Night Fright: What Could Be Causing It?

It has only happened a few times with my birds because I am pretty consistent with their care. I believe a change in his cage position triggered his reaction. Parker and Nyla’s cages had been swapped for a change of scenery and to test if they enjoyed those locations. Nyla was perfectly content where she was. On the other hand, Parker didn’t seem to like his new spot in the room. This could have been the case, even if it hasn’t happened since.

There are a few reasons that could be causing your sleep terrors. A noise outside, the sound of a truck, a sudden flashing light, or a vibration can all be seen as a threat. Any minor change in their routine might cause this. Is the cage not sufficiently covered, allowing light to enter that changes with the flashing of car headlights? Is the cage too densely covered, with no light emitted at all? Any of these can give you a night of terror.

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Susceptibility of Bird Species

Cockatiels are particularly susceptible to these nocturnal terrors. It does, however, happen in other species. This has happened to me a few times with my Greyhounds. Cockatiels are ground feeders who have had to evolve some wickedly rapid escape routines in the wild. Predators hunting for a nibble make feeding on the ground a risky proposition. As a result, they’ve developed lightning-quick reactions to any potential threat by flapping their wings and flying away. In addition, they wander in flocks, keeping an eye out for one another and acting as sentinels for the flock’s well-being. If one of the flock members detects a threat, the entire flock will flee the location in a flash.

As prey animals, parrots use these impulses to flee any perceived threat. A caged and covered bird, on the other hand, cannot flee. If she flies up, she’ll crash into the cage’s ceiling. These episodes aren’t enjoyable and can be harmful.

I was fostering a lovely African Grey named Byron for a while until he got him forever home. The same thing happened one night, and Byron was angry, flailing over his cage floor. While this was an issue, I also had to deal with the fact that he started a chain reaction with the rest of my flock. Not only was Byron banging around in his cage, but our birds were also startled by the commotion and did the same. They regarded it as a cue from him to follow in his footsteps. To stop the thrashing, I was flicking on lights and whipping covers up as quickly as possible. Of course, it went away as soon as they saw me and realized everything was fine. They quieted down and calmed down, and everything was OK after I spent a minute or two with each of them to console them. For the rest of the night, they slept soundly.

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Preventing Night Fright

Running an air purifier at night has proven to prevent this. The fan’s “white noise” appears to keep them calm and hides any outside noise that could be bothering them.

I’m unsure what happened in this episode that gave Byron the night fright. He’s a relatively secure bird, and for the most part, he was placid. However, in a bird, something as simple as a lack of light or too much light with shadows can trigger this. They’re wired to react this way and instinctively react to these innate instincts to flee.

Keeping their care regular and being aware of their surroundings are two strategies to help prevent these incidents.

User Questions

Can birds have night terrors?

Many parrot species experience night terrors, which you may have heard of in human children. Cockatiels appear to be the most affected, but parakeets can also be affected, so it’s vital to be prepared.

Can birds get nightmares?

Nightmares are prevalent in newly adopted parrots and young parrots. They can be terrified of all the strange sights and sounds if they’re new to your house. Even if your parrot is hand-tamed, these elements may make it think of predators.

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Do parrots have night frights?

Night frights in birds, especially young birds, are comparable to those your child may have had. For example, waking up afraid and weeping (toddler) or thrashing the cage bottom (Parrots).

Can budgies see in the dark?

Budgies have good vision during the day, but they struggle to see in the dark. In addition, they are slightly fearful of the dark because they can be startled by a noise or any slight movement that they can’t see well.

Should I cover my parakeet cage at night?

Covering your parakeet’s cage at night can help them develop healthy sleeping habits, which will improve their happiness and overall health. If your bird is light sensitive, covering the cage can help him sleep easier by blocking off intense light. In addition, the temperature within the cage can be controlled by covering the cage.


I hope you found this helpful guide. If you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to use the form below.


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