Are you a pet bird owner? Do you feel your bird is lonely? If so, it’s a better idea to buy a pair of pet birds. Unfortunately, few breeders give them a mirror to remove loneliness.
It’s a really bad idea. Instead of providing them with the healthy company of a bird, choosing a mirror is an unhealthy practice. It has many downsides.
This post will cover all your queries regarding giving mirrors to birds.
Go through the answer of are mirrors bad for birds?
Mirrors are not bad for all birds, as a matter of fact. But most the birds do not react well to mirrors. Some of them may develop a strong obsession with the mirror, while others may show an aggressive approach towards it. The effect of a mirror – good/bad depends on the type of bird.
The use of mirrors in bird cages is not recommended because birds are not capable of recognizing themselves in the mirror. As a result, they build an affiliation with the mirror which is harmful to the birds physically, psychologically, and emotionally.
What Is The Effect of Mirrors on Birds?
Mirrors certainly do not generate a pleasant impact on the personality of most birds. By nature, birds carry very strong flocking instincts and are one of the most social creatures. They build a connection with their owners and partners.
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#1- Social Abilities Deteriorate
Now what harm do mirrors do? Since most of the birds do not know how they look, they fail to differentiate between their reflection and a real bird. They begin to see their reflection as their partner. You may notice them singing, talking, or flirting in front of the mirror and you wouldn’t think of it as something harmful in the first place.
In fact, you’d see this interaction between the mirror and the bird as a source of enjoyment for both you and your pet bird. But this apparently interesting interaction in itself is very harmful to the development of the birds’ social behavior. First thing you’ll notice will be the change of behavior of the bird. They will show a very striking territorial characteristic. And that means if you try to maneuver the mirror from the cage, your pet bird will try to protect its “partner” and maybe attack you in doing so.
#2- Lack of Flocking Characteristics
What your pet bird sees in the mirror is their own reflection, a mimicry of their own actions. This is harmful for their social development. They will not learn to interact and build affiliation with actual birds because they never learnt to behave in front of another being. They do not know how to socialize, how to respond to actions of birds that are not exactly like them. They’ll exhibit poor mating and interacting skills in front of real life birds.
Now this is particularly harmful because whenever in future, your pet bird has to interact with another bird it will show unusual reactions and behaviors. They may have trouble accepting someone who responds to them in a different way, unlike their own reflection that absolutely imitated them.
#3- Train them to stay entertained on their own
If you’re worried about your pet bird being lonely, you should try giving them toys so they can learn to keep themselves entertained on their own rather than finding joy in their own reflections’ company.
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How To Know If The Mirror Is Bad For Your Bird?
Diagnosing the bad effect of the mirror on your pet bird is not enigmatic. If you’re used to keeping a close eye on your bird, you’ll notice the change in their behavior in no time.
Increased Territorial Behaviour
You’ll notice the bird getting protective about the mirror as a result of its territoriality. They’ll not like it if someone comes around their bud.
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24/7 Interaction with Mirror
If you see your bird spending most of the time in front of the mirror talking/singing, then know that the problem has definitely begun. Your pet bird starts thinking that it belongs to the mirror and will show undesirable behavior if you try to take it away from them.
Birds have a habit of feeding each other out of love and affection. If your pet bird is trying to feed the mirror, it means that they think of the reflection in the mirror as their partner. This will prove to be unhealthy for their social growth in the long run. This also indicates that your parrot needs company.
Take the mirror away from your birds’ cage as soon as you can. The longer you keep it in, the stronger will be the affection of your bird for the mirror. This false perception of a partner will be detrimental for their psychological and emotional health.
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Are Mirrors Beneficial For Birds?
To be fair, there’s more harm than benefit. If you’re bothered about your pet bird being lonely, try to get them interesting toys. Mirror should really be the last option.
If you’re looking for enjoyment for a short period of time, you may try a mirror. See how your bird reacts to it. But there’s no point in putting a mirror in their cage for the long term. It’s nothing but harmful for their social, physical and emotional health.
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Are Mirrors Bad For Parrots?
Parrots are one of the most attention seeking pets. They need good company and interaction all day long, be it in the form of another partner parrot or their owner. If you cannot give them their due attention, then it is not fair to keep them.
Especially, if you have a single parrot as a pet it needs a lot more company. You should definitely not give them this company in disguise of their own reflection in the mirror. Unlike some other birds that have the ability to distinguish between a reflection and a real life bird, parrots are not capable of doing so.
Mirrors are not a good idea particularly for single parrots. They are bound to build a connection with the reflection they see while considering it their potential partner and this will lead to behavioral disturbances.
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How To Eliminate The Harmful Effect Of Mirrors On Birds?
If you’re planning to experiment with keeping a mirror in your birds’ cage, then to avoid the harmful changes in your birdie’s behaviour take some precautions. Introduce the mirror in the cage and make sure that the bird sees together your reflection as well as its own. Interact with the bird while in front of the mirror. This way your bird will learn to differentiate between a reflection and reality because your bird is unaware of how it looks but definitely recognizes you. When it’ll see your reflection in the mirror it will learn about its own as well.
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5 Ways To Help Your Bird Adjust To A Mirror
Finally, you’ve decided to give a mirror to your bird. Wait and read the ways to help your bird adjust to a mirror. Gradually introducing a mirror is a good technique that helps in adjustment. Let’s read out the 5 ways in detail:
Introduce Your Bird To Mirror Gradually
It’s better to place the mirror near the bird for a few minutes and then remove it. Increase the time of mirror exposure slowly. This way your bird will accept it. But if you expose your bird to a mirror from the first day full time, your bird will get confused.
Must Show Your Reflection To Bird
In order to introduce a mirror, it’s good to show your reflection as an owner to the bird in the mirror. Birds can’t recognize them in the mirror. But when they see the owner’s reflection, they can understand the mirror a little bit.
Double Check Your Bird’s Behaviour
Dont keep the mirror full time in front of the bird. When you move it away, keep an eye on the bird’s behaviour. If his behaviour is not changed, the bird is unable to understand the mirror. If your bird is more aggressive in its absence, he is feeling lonely.
Touch Your Bird When It’s Close To Mirror
Don’t leave your bird unattended when it’s close to mirroring. You should kiss or tap on its head. It’s better to touch or pat it. This way, the bird will try to build an association between your touch and your reflection in the mirror.
Try Mirror Tests Or Some Easy Tests
To judge your bird’s behaviour, apply a mirror test. There are many easy tests to check your bird’s psychology related to mirrors. Draw some colourful marks or attach some stickers to the body of the bird. If the bird tries to scratch that sticker after seeing the image, it means your bird can recognize its reflection. But if it did not scratch the stickers, it means he thinks that there is some other bird, not his reflection.
Do Birds Pass The Mirror Test
The mirror test was developed by psychologist Golden Gallop in 1970. The aim of this test was to explore whether animals possess the ability of visual self-recognition. In this test, animals were brought in front of mirrors. When they get used to mirrors, their behaviours are noted. Many animals passed this test. Psychologists claim that such animals have large brains and they are highly social. To your surprise, ants also pass this test.
What about birds? Do Birds pass the mirror test? Most of the birds do not pass the mirror test. The first bird to pass that test was Eurasian Magpie. Some pigeons also passed that test after training. But parrots dont pass that test.
In this test. Researchers stick colourful stickers to Magpies. Fortunately, when exposed to the mirror, Magpie recognized the stickers in the reflection and tried to scratch them. It means Magpie have a high level of empathy to recognize self-image.
Do Parrots Recognize Themselves In A Mirror
Different species of parrots react differently to mirrors. Many feel that it’s another bird, they utter funny notes to attract that bird. Many birds even offer food to the mirror in funny ways. To check whether a particular bird recognizes itself in the mirror or not, mirror tests are applied by psychologists.
When the mirror test was applied to the parrot what was his behaviour? Do parrots recognize themselves in the mirror or not? Unfortunately, parrots do not recognize themselves in the mirror. They think it’s some other bird. It means the brain of parrots is not as developed to the level of visual self-awareness in the mirror.
During mirror tests, when colourful stickers are applied to the body of parrots, they don’t show any behaviour change. They did not try to scratch the stickers as Magpie did in its mirror test. That’s why parrots did not pass out that test.
Why Do Birds Like Mirrors: 3 Reasons
Do birds like to see themselves in the mirror? Many birds feel captivated by the mirror’s images. They thought it was some other birds. So they enjoy its company and start playing with it. Some birds even sing a song and offer food to mirrors. That’s funny!
Let’s discuss 3 reasons why do birds like mirrors:
They Feel Captivated
When birds see their image in the mirror, they feel captivated. Many birds don’t have the ability to recognize themselves in the mirror. They don’t know how do they look like in real life. So, they feel addicted to this image and love it thinking it is another bird.
They Enjoy Mirrors Company
When mirrors are placed in a lonely parrot’s cage, they enjoy its company. He thinks of it as some other birth. He dances and sings songs to make fun with it. Even the bird offers his food to the mirror thinking of another bird. But this has an unhealthy impact on the bird’s behaviour.
They Play With Mirror Images
Birds love mirrors because it reduces their boredom. They play with mirrors in many ways. They scratch the mirror’s surface with its beak and claws. They feel happy to see their image in it. YOu can say they are obsessed with the mirror’s version.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Do Birds See in The Mirror?
Unlike humans, birds don’t see their reflection in the mirror. They feel its intruder is not a reflection of himself. They behave as they should behave like intruders. In spring, this behaviour is a bit different as the mating season is nearby.
Are Garden Mirrors Bad For Mirrors?
Yes, garden mirrors are also unhealthy for birds. They feel captivated by its image. It depends on how much time your bird is exposed to that mirror. The shorter duration of mirror exposure is OK. But if exposed to a longer period of time, it’s not advised and bad for a bird’s psychology.
Are Mirrors Damaging to Birds?
Yes, mirrors can hurt birds’ psychology. They may react to it aggressively, thinking it is some intruder. In this attempt, they can also hurt their beak and claws by continuous punching on the mirror surface. That’s why psychologists don’t recommend mirrors for birds.
Why Do Birds Look at Themselves in The Mirror?
It does not mean birds are looking at themselves in the mirror. They are unable to understand mirror function. They don’t even know what they look like in real life. Instead, they look like intruders in the mirror. Assuming them an enemy they react differently.
Now we are going to wind up the interesting post of mirrors being bad for birds or not? It’s up to you to decide whether you should give mirrors to birds or not. Birds are sensitive. They don’t have high-level emotions and empathy to self-awareness.
If we’re trying to bring them close to mirrors, we’re the culprit of playing with their emotions. We should love and care for our pets’ emotions too. That’s why I would recommend you to arrange the physical company of your pet bird instead of introducing mirrors. You can buy and keep pairs. That’s all I want to say. Happy Birding!