When Your Bird "Discovers" His/Herself...

Photo by Dave Location: Moab, Utah On the rock: Congo African Grey "Cressi" 

I've always dreaded the thought of bringing up a child and going through the whole "discovering themselves" phase. My aunt and uncle tell stories of my nephew when he first discovered himself, and I recall the time in my life when I outwardly told my parents I had as well, without knowing what I was truly saying or discovering... and now knowing that my dad's brother was telling stories of his kid makes me realize my own stories were probably told throughout the entire family as well. How humiliating. So here I am... about to share Cressi's.

Cressi did this VERY early on. I remember calling my fellow bird owning and training friends and saying, "I know it's way too early, but I'm pretty sure she's..."

Of course, no one believed me. Cressi was a whopping 1 year old when she showed the first signs of being... well, horny. It was while we were showing off Bondi's skills of lifting her leg up on a fire hydrant. That fire hydrant was Cressi's first... experiment. She grabbed that thing and went to town. Dave and I reacted so slow that we just stared with our jaws dropped at her thinking of anything it might possibly be that she was doing... besides blatantly humping the crap out of the hydrant prop. I couldn't believe she was showing hormonal signs this early on, it didn't make sense. I still had years to go before I had to worry about this behavior, right?! Wrong.

Cressi is now 3 years old and she shows hormonal signs when we do certain things with her that provoke it. There's known things you "don't do" in the Spring with your bird, certain ways of petting and so forth, but these things are things I've noticed provoke Cressi and aren't well known among owners. So in case you're accidentally doing any of them with your bird and noticing aggression or mating behavior in your bird, take notice you might have a Cressi on your hands too!

  1. Mimicking the sounds she makes when she's horny makes Cressi horny
  2. Blowing air out through our nostrils hard in her face
  3. Providing small props (like the well known fire hydrant) that she can easily over power

Some obviously make sense. If you were horny and someone was making sexy sighs and moans you'd probably wanna jump their bones too... so don't copy your bird, even if it is kind of funny... resist the urge. We didn't realize they were her horny sounds at first, until it lead us down the path... These sounds from Cressi are grunts, grumbles, heavy breathing and "oo"'s and "oomphs"'s. Good thing I chose to write a blog post on this topic instead of do a video blog... embarrassing...  Cressi was going for some nose hairs in Dave's nose one day and he blew really hard through his nostrils into her face to get her to go away without having to pull her away or move her. Turns out, it didn't work and she liked it. She would act like she was eating the air and after a while, the horny sounds would come, followed by holding her wings real low and looking, well, hot and bothered, as I call it. The fire hydrant provoked her very first horny episode so we keep small props of similar size to a minimum with Cressi and only let Bondi perform that trick when Cressi isn't around.

More helpful articles on hormones & parrots and our film on how to deal with hormones

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.

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