What Are Your Lighting Recommendations for a Scarlet Macaw?

What Are Your Lighting Recommendations for a Scarlet Macaw?

Last Updated on by Mitch Rezman

Cissy R. has a new inquiry,

I’ve written before about my scarlet, Maxxi, who doesn’t like to fly.

Now I have another question, I am reading about ‘lighting’ for babies.

I’ve never had lighting for Maxxi, really never thought about it. Her room (cage) is right in front of the sliding glass door, getting the east sun. She appears to be very happy and healthy, again I’ve had her since birth, she’s now 8 1/2yrs.

Do you feel that she is missing out or hurting her? She, to me, seems very happy and healthy.

Dear Cissy

As they say, don’t fix what works. However, at any time anything can change. Overall we don’t recommend that bird cages be placed directly in front of a window. A few reasons. 

Outside predators can be scary. Inside birds can see them but do not know that the predators can’t get to them so they can stress, thrash, and internalize fear into plucking or phobic behavior because they have nowhere to retreat. A bird in a cage can overheat if the sunbeam envelopes the whole thing for several hours daily.

One way of adding full spectrum lighting to a birdcage ~ Video


Full Spectrum Economy Daylight Bulb with Clamp Light & Timer

For a snappy birdcage lighting install ~ Use our EZ to install Windy
City Parrot’s Full Spectrum Economy Daylight Bulb with Clamp Light & Timer 

Three clamp on lights over budgie aviary


Relying on the outside sun to provide vitamin production through the windows is a falsehood. One, modern windows filter out the UV’s THOUGHT to help with vitamin production, and it is now proven that birds won’t get vitamin production from the sun or UV lighting because of their thick feathers and they just don’t sit in the sun that long. Vitamin production is best provided through supplementation in their food and or water.

We do recommend bird cages be put against a wall or better yet in a corner to give the bird some sense of safety. The cage should be in the family way or room so they stay a part of the daily home life.

We find that cage lighting helps with hormonal behavior the most. Especially for females who are affected by light quality more than males. Males can be affected but not regarding egg laying.  Instead, they can become aggressive and bite or masturbate more than usual.

For females, a bright light close to the cage top (or hanging over a play stand) set on a timer for 12 hours on and 12 hours off helps regulate their hormones so they feel like they are in the summer all year round. Birds in the summer do not look for partners, mate, build nests, or lay eggs. But when things are dim, they start to get broody thoughts that lead to egg production.

Yes, natural lighting does contribute to the overall light required, but areas without constant daily light, shade, overcast skies, winter, etc can result in a female that is starting to look for a place to nest.

Depending on the size of the cage, more than one light may be needed to bring the level of lighting up to regulate hormones. We have small cages (22″ W) with one light and 30″ wides cages with two lights and for the biggest 40″ wide and tallest cage for our parakeets, we have 3 lights mounted above it.

How you handle your bird can also affect its hormones. If you pet your bird’s body all over, below the neck, under the wings, and cuddle a lot, your bird can bond with you in the wrong way and its body starts to produce eggs for you. Keeping your affections to their neck and up only helps keep your relationship to flock friends and not mates.

If you wish to add lighting to your home or need help with an order, please let me know.

Here are additional Windy City Parrot birdcage lighting solutions.

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