How Winter Places Stress On Pet Birds

How Winter Places Stress On Pet Birds

Last Updated on by Mitch Rezman

Birds have a highly developed sense of light. In humans, we perceive light through our eyes.
Our feathered friends have an additional way of interpreting light conditions, a special gland that surrounds the eye. Read more on this
As days get shorter and the temperature falls, we want you to be aware of some issues the changing weather may have on your birds.
In the wild, animals rely on the cycling of the sun, and the seasons to adjust their biological clocks and metabolism. It is the sun, and changes in the quality of light and length of the day which set the stage for breeding, migration, molting, and daily behavior patterns.

I hope this helps you understand why we feel the lighting category on our site is so important to your Bird’s well-being. A full-spectrum light and timer on top of your bird’s cage can help address everything from behavioral issues to incessant egg laying.


Blowing air from your home’s furnace dries out your bird’s feather system. This can lead to over-preening and feather destruction. A humidifier and bathing on a regular basis will do wonders to help your Bird feel good and help it maintain its 10,000 or so feathers (and you thought putting on makeup was a chore?)

Many worry about the British weather and parrots, but this film shows there’s no need, the coldest winter we have ever had here at The Parrot Zoo in the UK with temps getting as cold as -5 yet they still choose to bathe in the outside water container rather than the one indoors and on this day it was -1 all day as shown in this video.

Keep your birdcage away from the direct airflow of warm air. Much like the problems you may have with fans blowing in the summer, the flow of air coming from the heat can cause your bird to over preen.


Much like humans, your birds underlying skin can dry out as well as its feathers. Keep your bird moist this winter with a bird mister or allow them to bathe on a regular basis. If you are having problems getting your bird to bathe read this



We’ve turned on our category of Winter Survival Gear for Birds to help you find products make winter care easier. If you haven’t already, check out this heated bird perch – your bird will thank you. We also found a bunch of energy-saving gadgets that will help keep your bird warm this winter while saving you money. Check out our new Heated Perches category


We take Popcorn our Cockatiel to work every day (once it starts approaching the teens and below here in Chicago, she stays home). Because we live about 2000 feet from work even traversing one-way streets the ride is no more than a couple minutes. An old-fashioned hot water bottle filled with, you guessed it – hot water placed on the bottom of the carrier is pretty effective. If you’re not older you probably don’t have one of these in the bathroom cabinet so just substitute with an appropriate sized plastic drinking bottle filled with hot water, and you’re good to go.
“How do I know if my bird is too cold or too hot for that matter?” Simple answer if you’re cold, your bird is cold, if you’re hot your bird is hot. “What’s the best way to keep my bird comfortably warm if I have to travel this winter?” We’ve seen everything from wrapping carriers with electric blankets connected to a portable battery charger to taking an old sweatshirt and dropping it over the carrier allowing the handle to come up through the neck.
written by Mitch Rezman CMO
Windy City Parrot, Inc
Simply Everything for Exotic Birds – Since 1993

A couple who are a pair of our best customers came in yesterday to fill up a shopping cart full of toys for their lucky bird.


In spite of their efforts to supply their Moluccan Cockatoo with the most and best money can offer, he had begun plucking. The bird had been to the vet whose diagnosis for the 3-1/2 year old was “hormonal.”


If I hadn’t made it clear before – I am no bird expert. I know what I have learned from helping thousands of customers over the years. But the “hormonal” thing bothered me. I asked myself why don’t all or even half of all Moluccan start plucking when they turn 3?


So I asked these folks some questions:

  1. Were any fans or blowers blowing on the bird? – Ceiling and floor fans as well as force air registers that blow air near a bird will ruffle feathers which can cause a bird to over preen. “No – no drafts in the room.”
  2. Lighting – since daylight savings time was he getting enough light? Birds can get depressed like humans. “Could be a problem”
  3. When did they turn on the furnace for the first time this year? “Two weeks ago” How long has he been plucking? “Two weeks.”


We stopped right there. A Cockatoo’s skin is dry in the best of conditions. The dry warm air may have been the trigger – The timing is too close not to look at this as a real factor. Birds, just like us humans will experience dry skin in the winter.


Thanx for listening

Catherine Tobsing & Mitch Rezman

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