It can be pretty confusing for any bird to go from a metal cage to a plexi glass cage, even if only part of the cage is plexi glass. It is so confusing to a bird who has never been in one before and I can't tell you how many times they will bang their head on the front, tap their feet looking for grip and walk straight into it once in a while to get to you. I realized when I brought Hymie, the Hyacinth macaw, home for 6 weeks and introduced him into his new cage. Well, he went from this cage:
Photo by Jamieleigh Location: Waynesboro, VA In cage: Hyacinth Macaw "Hymie"
To this one with an entire plexi-glass front:
Photo by Jamieleigh Location: Orlando, FL Cages by Cages by Design
The first things Hymie did was check out everything inside the cage, but then when we was done, he knocked his head about a zillion times against every part of the glass and tried to step on it a ton because that's what he is used to doing... being able to climb on every part of his cage!
It definitely took some adjusting and once he started getting comfortable flying around in our bird room, he hit it a bit more...
I had been teaching him it was okay to fly himself back to his cage, but with our cage you can only have half of it open on the front and for a bird, it can be a little hard to tell which part is glass and which part is not! Hymie hit one side when we took flight that wasn't open, poor guy, but he "got back on the horse" so to speak and didn't stop flying more after that (that is, after his headache went away).
Once he figured out the plexi glass situation in his cage, which took about 2 days and multiple hits, he had yet to figure out the glass doors in the bird room. You see, the bird room looks like this...
Picture by Jamieleigh Location: Orlando, FL In bird room: Hyacinth Macaw "Hymie", Blue Throat Macaw "Jinx" & Camelot Macaw "Tusa"
Hymie flew all the way from his cage (the other side of the room) and hit that glass door behind him in this photo, since I was sitting on that red couch and he thought he could get to me... it only took once for him to learn he couldn't go through that door.
However, when you have glass around, you need to be pretty careful because if a big bird chips the end of its beak, it will normally bleed and becomes pretty scary for the bird. I highly recommend putting a bird who isn't used to glass on one side and you on the other, I do this normally with both me and the bird on the ground so it walks instead of flies. The bird will then try to get to you through the glass and you can show it that it's hard and unbreakable and teach the bird to walk around and look for an opening, or to just know it's impossible to get through depending on your situation.
It probably sounds pretty brutal for Hymie to hit the plexi so many times, but the truth is, he wasn't hitting that hard because at the time of flying, he didn't have enough muscle or practice to gain enough speed and power to seriously hurt himself. He never bled or anything like that, and was perfectly fine after hitting (just so everyone knows) and was very new to flying at the time so it was a good time for him to learn while he didn't have the strength to make the flights strong enough to hurt himself when hitting it. His flights were also fairly short.
And since I get this question a ton, all plexi front cages are from Cages by Design (now Custom Cages).
Article by Jamieleigh Womach. She has been working with parrots and toucans since the age of 17. She isn’t homeless but is home less than she prefers to be. She travels the world with her husband, daughter, and a flockful of parrots whom she shares the stage with.