1. Make a Bird Craft
Channeling the love you have for your pet bird into a craft will make you appreciate your bird more. It will also make it easy to share your bird with others. Learn a new craft or change the theme used in a craft you do well. Are you a photographer, quilter or cake decorator? Look up some bird-themed designs. Do you draw or paint? Do you write poetry? You can bake bird cookies, embroider birds on shirts, knit birds onto caps, make a Lego® bird, or … the options are limitless and will expand your creativity.
2. Scratch A Pinfeather
Since the last suggestion didn’t directly involve your bird, this one does. When your bird has new feathers coming in on his head, he cannot reach them. In a flock, a bird will have another bird to preen his pinfeathers. Be a good flock buddy to your bird; he’ll appreciate a gentle preening from you.
Pinfeathers are budding feathers. When they appear on your bird, they are encased in keratin, which makes them look like they are rolled up in plastic or wax. The base of these new feathers has a blood supply and is very sensitive. New feathers unfurl from the top, and that’s where you can gently rub the pinfeather between two finger tips to help release the new feather. Don’t work on it too far down the shaft of the feather — it will be uncomfortable and your bird will let you know that it hurts.
3. Get A New Toy
Companion birds love getting new toys! Treat your bird to a new toy, swing or ladder. Maybe you can even spring for a new playground? If your bird’s cage is already full of toys (hopefully with plenty of room left for him to flap his wings and easily move about), get a new toy and rotate out an older one. Later, you can replace that toy and it will be just like a new toy to your bird. If you’re really feeling loving or thrifty, you can make your bird a toy. Just make sure whatever you create is the appropriate size for your bird and that it is made of safe materials. Dyes should be nontoxic, hardware should be stainless steel, and don’t include any loops in the design. Birds love color, movable parts and musical or noisy parts.
4. Feed A New Veggie
Check out the local farmer’s market for a vegetable you don’t know well. Kale is a popular vegetable right now. See if your bird (and you!) develops a taste for it.
5. Hang Out
Quality time with a companion bird doesn’t have to mean touching and petting. Make a place where your bird can perch near you and just hang out. You can watch TV or read while he sits on a towel on back of the couch. Your bird can be on a playground while you play ping pong, play the guitar or sew quilts.
6. Get To Know Your Bird’s Natural Environment
It’s really fun to find out more about the environment your bird is built to live in. Do some in-depth research into your bird’s natural environment. Look at photos of wild birds of the same species. You’ll have a new appreciation for your bird and you’ll also have a better sense of how natural instincts can influence his behavior.
7. Take A Trip Together
Does your bird spend most of his time in one room in your house? Take him on short trips into other parts of the house. You might even make short trips in the car, if the weather is not too hot or too cold. Expand your horizons and prepare your bird for more interesting trips. If your bird has wanderlust, you can take him to classrooms, on camping trips or on visits to family.
8. Learn A New Trick
Birds love to interact with their people. Work on an easy trick with your bird, like “shake hands,” if your bird knows how to step up, then it almost has this one down. How about using a treat to guide your bird to “turn around.” It’ll pick that one up fast.
9. Make Eating A Foraging Experience
At the least, move your food dishes to different places. Offer some veggies that take some work to tear up, such as corn on the cob, broccoli and whole carrots. Thread parsley or greens through cage bars. Place a snack on top of the cage so that your bird has to get it down. Get creative hiding food or treats in tissue paper or among marbles in a bowl. In the wild, your bird would spend a lot of time searching for food. Let him do so in the cage every once in a while.
10. Join A Bird Club
It doesn’t seem like this is for your bird. But the more you know about birds, the happier your bird will be. The people in bird clubs will listen to your stories. This is a place where it’s OK to love your bird. Of course there are online options. There are online chats, Facebook pages dedicated to birds, websites and blogs to scour. There are also national societies dedicated to our companion bird species. There are bird conservation organizations as well. Bird people and their birds get a lot out of flocking together.
You’re one of my favorite kinds of people — those who love their birds! I hope this gives you even more ideas of how to shower love on your bird and to nurture that love over time.