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Are Mirrors Bad For Parrots?

A parrot’s vision is one of its primary senses, helping the bird to properly navigate in its space as well as to use when obtaining its food from the pet owner or elsewhere.

Did you know that your parrot has colored vision? Yes, their eyes are located at such an angle as to give them coverage of nearly 360 degrees. And, this makes the parrot see objects the same way that human beings do.

Unlike dogs and cats, the parrot sees its reflection in the mirror. In addition, parrot intelligence is highly developed than other birds. They also have amazing sight, and so, this makes the parrot have the illusion that it sees another parrot in the mirror.

So, the parrot is going to think that it has a friend when it is only an imaginary friend.

The Illusion

Due to the fact that the parrot thinks that it is another parrot, it is going to establish some kind of communication with its imaginary friend. Every parrot is different, and so the outcome of such a contract is going to be different.

Your parrot will probably be able to identify itself in the imaginary friend. In this case, the parrot will start to talk to its reflection or imaginary friend for hours upon end. It will whistle, talk growl, and tweet at the reflection in the mirror.

Another variant is the fact that the parrot could also think the reflection is a rival.

Making Changes

For that reason, don’t be surprised if you see aggression in your parrot with the urge to fight. This is likely if two parrots live in the cage, and they are male and female.

The reflection in the mirror can cause a failed partnership between the two parrots because now, the perception is that there are four parrots and not two. Be careful to monitor your parrot’s behavior once a mirror is placed in his cage, or he is close to a mirror on the wall. If there is a conflict, it is best to remove the mirror or move the bird’s cage.

If not, the bird might get sick and begin to pluck its feathers. Some pet owners are concerned that their parrot will be lonely if they don’t have another parrot in the cage with them.

That is the reason why a pet owner will use a mirror as a way for the parrot to appear as if there is a companion. This might not be the best decision.

False Perception

A mirror is considered by some to be expressively damaging to a parrot. Some people think that mirrors give the parrot a false perception or impression of reality.

The fact that your parrot perceives that it is talking to another parrot is a psychological illusion. It can become quite an obsession for the bird to always have that mirror.

However, on the other hand, it can be a form of enrichment and fun for the parrot and simply not something to be concerned about.

Pay Attention to Your Pet Bird

If you take time to spend with your parrot each day and not have it rely on a reflection in the mirror for companionship, then you don’t have to put a mirror in its cage.

You could also provide toys as a means of entertaining your bird. Most parrots are always interacting, and if it is given attention, it won’t be lonely.

The Impact of the Mirror

When you place mirrors in your pet’s birdcage, you are doing so at the risk of the pet’s safety, and that is certainly not recommended. In a situation where there is a group of parrots in a large cage, it is possible that the mirror is being perceived as another toy.

Most parrots will consider it to be a toy and nothing else. Mirrors are bad for parrots that are alone in a cage, especially the ones that are smaller in stature because they usually don’t realize they see a reflection in the mirror of themselves.

The Obsession

Once the mirror is placed in the bird’s cage, the parrot may start an obsession with it and might know that there are other interactions other than staring into a mirror at its reflection.

The mirror becomes the bird’s toy, and if that is removed, then the bird might change its behavior completely and become distressed. In addition, if you were to acquire another bird, later on, your original parrot could not demonstrate healthy social behavior toward the new parrot.

Why? The learned behavior from the mirror reflection could be an impediment. If your parrot is addicted or obsessed with the mirror, then it might spend more time looking at its reflection and only move when it is time to eat or drink.

The mirror hanging on the wall in the house might not be as bad. However, the mirror placed in the cage might be the problem for the bird’s obsessed behavior. The bird is aware that the mirror in the cage is his, and it is going to be hard to take it away.

Healthy and Unhealthy Behavior

With all of that being said, mirrors don’t have to be all bad. However, if you make the decision to give your parrot a mirror, then you should pay close attention to any changes in the bird’s behavior.

If you find that the mirror is a problem with your parrot, then it is easier to notice any mood changes. For example, if you see your bird attacking the mirror aggressively and going through some mood changes at different times of the day, then it is showing you that it needs your attention as an owner.

Certain Parrots

Some parrots know the difference between a mirror reflection and another parrot. Therefore, how the mirror affects the parrot will depend on the actual bird itself.

There are certain parrots that will be obsessed with a mirror, while there are others that will treat it as just a toy. However, for your bird to be obsessing over a mirror, it is unhealthy behavior because it could worsen your parrot’s health, mentally and physically.

It might be teaching bad habits to your bird, and if the toy is removed, the behavior could become aggressive. In addition, they can become more territorial and stay withdrawn.

The Significance of Toys

Every domestic bird should have some kind of object as a means of entertainment. However, as it relates to parrots, the ideal option is to get a companion rather than a toy.

When a companion is not possible, then a toy will be the next best option to aid the bird in fostering good physical and mental health. As the owner, if you are absent from your bird, the toy will be the replacement for the bird.

Form of Entertainment

This would be the ideal distraction and form of entertainment while you are gone. Most parrots are highly intelligent, and so they get bored very quickly.

That is why they need regular stimulation, and toys can help to do just that. It is recommended that you keep a selection of toys so that your parrot can have enough options to stimulate the mind and keep the bird as active as possible.

A mirror is one of those things that can become fun entertainment and a type of enrichment for your parrot. In fact, there are some parrots that make hilarious sounds and singing in the mirror to themselves and find this quite entertaining.

The key is to watch for any behavioral changes in your pet bird prior to placing a mirror in its cage. This will show you whether there is any type of obsessive habits in the bird or not. You could consider toys like swings, rope perches, and baby toys.

The Lonely and Sad Parrot

Parrots can have anxiety, stress, and feel loneliness and sadness too. If they are left unattended, without adequate care and treatment, this can affect their health, including their behavior, physical abilities, and mood.

When you leave a mirror in the cage of a parrot that is lonely and sad, this might not be the best thing. In this case, your bird may show belligerence toward the mirror, attacking it out of frustration of not being able to socialize.

If you notice your parrot trying to give its food to the mirror, then you know that it is in need of a companion, which will eventually bring on sadness and loneliness.

If you are suspicious that your bird is exhibiting lonely and sad behavior and you leave that mirror in its cage, it will only make matters worse.

Adjusting to the Mirror

There are things you can do to help the parrot adjust to having a mirror in the cage. You can introduce the mirror in the cage by showing the bird your reflection in the mirror.

You can also see how the bird behaves when you remove the mirror, taking it further away. Make sure to pet your bird on the head when it gets in close proximity to the mirror.

In so doing, the bird will relate your touch with the reflection in the mirror. Look at the bird’s body language to see its comfort with the mirror.