How to Help a Scared Parrot Cope with Fireworks
Every culture loves fireworks! From the 4th of July to New Year’s Eve we celebrate with the triumph of bright, bursting fireworks. Fireworks engage almost all of our senses. They are great to be around if you are expecting them, but very scary for pets that not only don’t expect them or understand them. Pets often go into fight or flight mode during fireworks celebrations.
Put yourself in your parrots position? Bright lights, loud bang after bang after bang and even the unusual smell of burning sulfur waking them up after dark. Anything that is unexpected and out of the ordinary routine and involves sensory overload will freak your parrot out. Wing flapping, feather chewing, screaming and all fear related behaviors will ensue. Some parrots are prone to developing repetivie trauma related behaviors so you'll want to insure that you are there to help your scared parrot.
Anticipate that your pet bird may become extremely distressed during fireworks celebrations. Comfort your parrot by staying nearby and preparing them and their immediate environment.
- BIRDS NEED ROUTINE: Routinely cover your birds cage at night so that when you need to cover the cage to muffle out fireworks noise and light, your parrot is used to it.
- BIRDS UNDERSTAND - SO INFORM: Smart parrots may understand when you tell them that there will be fireworks at night. Prepare your parrot to understand what you are talking about by playing YouTube Videos of fireworks displays over the course of a few weeks before the celebration. Name “bang,” “fireworks” and “light” in an animated voice tone and say “all done” when the video is over. You want your bird to know that the celebration is temporary.
- MUFFLE NOISE AND BRIGHT LIGHTS: Parrots have more sensitive ears than dogs. Fireworks loud blasts may be fun for us, but they may cause your parrot a lot of distress. A bird cage cover may muffle some of the loud boom and bright light flashes but you may need more. Placing blankets over the windows will muffle out more light and noise. You can also create “white noise” by with a radio or a sound machine.
- ANTICIPATE BREATHING DIFFIUCLTIES: Firework displays come the smell of burning sulfur. Parrots have extremely sensitive lungs so anticipate that the smoke and smell may be irritating for your bird. You may want to run an air cleaning system.
- TRY RELAXATION AND CALMING SUPPLEMENTS. Avian relaxation supplements such as AviCalm and Herbal Relaxation and Calming Formula are very helpful in calming your parrots’ nerves on the big day. These homeopathic supplements calm anxieties in parrots. Simply mix one of these supplements with your parrots favorite fresh fruits and veggies for several days before the celebration.
These five easy strategies may help your parrot cope with fireworks. For more information, you may wish to consult your avian veterinarian.