Don’t Let Daylight Savings Time Ruin Your Birds Life

Don’t Let Daylight Savings Time Ruin Your Birds Life

Last Updated on by Mitch Rezman

Whilst we were all asleep our paths once again crossed daylight savings time last night.

Everyone agrees daylight savings time is useless in today’s world.

Indiana (Our home) time zones confound a lot of humans.

Indiana – Two Time Zones, Many Voices

Of the state’s 92 counties, 80 are in the Eastern time zone. The other 12 are on Central time and huddled in two groups of six each, one in the state’s northwest corner near Chicago, to which the region is closely tied, and the other in the southwest corner to match Evansville, the state’s third-largest city and an economic driver in the area.

Actually, 3 zones! This mess has been going on for a long time. “It is, in effect, the only state with three time zones, because the Central is divided between two pockets in far corners of the state, separated by nearly 300 miles of Eastern. This curious phenomenon accommodates counties in the southwest and northwest, near the border of Illinois, a Central-time state.

Trust me this has tripped me up (pun intended) on more than one road trip and that’s easy enough to understand – speaking as a human.

Birds don’t have to deal with the resetting of way too many clocks twice yearly.

Twice annually when the time comes to change my automobile dashboard clock, I’ve already forgotten the procedure after 6 months.

Let’s go back to the beginning.

Pet bird’s ancestry goes back 100 million years or more.

Their instinctual expectations for external light cycles are pretty simple, roughly 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness just like the equatorial regions most hookbills are indigenous to.

Don't Let Daylight Savings Time Ruin Your Birds Life

So when we’re asked, “Why is my bird laying so many eggs,” or “Why is my bird screaming all the time,” humans are often surprised to hear us ask – “What kind of artificial lighting is over your bird’s cage – got light?”

Even over the phone, I can see in my mind’s eye that “deer in the headlights look.” 

“What does light have to do with my bird’s behavior”


It starts in the pineal gland – humans have those too.

Microscopic Melatonin cells vibrate within the pineal gland with the precision of a million metronomes.

From light, birds get signals for when to mate/migrate/seek nighttime shelter/eat.

Not only sunlight but in the wild moonlight and the tides can be signals.

Circling back to the premise at hand, when you set your clocks 1 hour ahead today, you’ll be going to bed 1 hour later than yesterday turning out the light one hour later than yesterday.

Waking up and brewing aromatic coffee 1 hour later than yesterday.

This confuses your birds as much as the other side of daylight savings time when it starts getting dark at 5:30, trust me all your birds have a WTF moment the first evening things get darker sooner.

There is an easy fix  – add full spectrum light over the bird cage with a timer controlling the lamp to turn on and off every 12 hours AND THE TIMER NEVER CHANGES THE ACTUAL TIME – WE DISRESPECT DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME.

The simple rule is your bird is in the birdcage when the light comes on and turns off.

This signals a consistent day of darkness and light.

4 birdcages with 9 lights overhead

We cover our birds nightly and will uncover the birdcages as long as the sun is beginning to rise.

We open Barney’s (cockatiel) door, Keto’s (ringneck), and if I’m going to be working downstairs for most of the day I’ll let the budgies out until I get dressed, and make the beds, tidy the living space.

Usually, by that time Keto may be downstairs for one of 3 reasons.

  1. Keto is on the top corner of his cage glaring at me.
  2. Keto is on the top corner of his cage glaring and screeching at me.
  3. Keto said (to himself) I’m not waiting I want my veggie breakfast and walks or flies to his work cage on the first floor.

I just want to go back to sleep and not listen to Tinnitus for another hour so I grab Keto’s “ball and chain toy, ” Chili (the Quaker), and 2 ceramic crocks of bird food shuttling them downstairs.

The traffic noise from Route 2 just outside the windows over my head, fades away but the flutter of cockatiel and budgie wings is always felt and heard until I’m fully back asleep.

Written by Mitch Rezman
Approved by Catherine Tobsing

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