Let's Celebrate Pet Birds!
T.J. Lafeber D.V.M.

Fighters or bluffers


Fighters or Bluffers

Basically, birds' hostile activities can be summed up as bluff. Pet birds are not warriors. They have ''big mouths,'' and display meanness, but don't carry through. It's mostly show-and they do a good job of it.

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Lovers not fighters.

Behind this type of behavior comes some very good logic. Fighters need relatively large, heavy bodies, strong bones and an ability to withstand repeated blows. Birds have none of these qualifications.

Their light weight body and thin bones are designed for fliers not fighters.

Also, if you're not a fighter, you had better control your anger. Like poker players, birds bluff, gambling with controlled minds, constantly judging and adjusting to their opponents. They're "cool". They express themselves in ritualized postures, movements, and calls that serve to repel or intimidate without actual combat. Thus, birds rarely allow themselves to become aggressive.

On occasion, one may come across a bird with a dominant. aggressive type personality. In captivity, this bird may show its aggression by attacking with little, if any, provocation. Fortunately, this type bird is less frequently encountered than the more passive type.

Important in their social life is an arrangement commonly called a peck order. A ranking takes place between all the individuals in a group. Each bird assumes a place in the social hierarchy starting with the most dominant, the highest position, and following in order to the lowest or most submissive. To show superiority or to rise to a higher level, they will take aggressive action in the form of threatening gestures or biting at the one they are challenging.

Following the natural order, some birds may challenge their owner in the same fashion to raise their rank on the social ladder.

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"Listen you big ox! I came first."


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