Spring fever must have gotten to Simon.
Normally a cuddle bug when I get home, my little green Quaker parrot recently has become a flurry of activity.
I don’t blame him.
I grew a little stir crazy, too, when recent bouts of sun interrupted the seemingly endless rains that have plagued Lynchburg as of late. Simon’s particular kind of spring fever, though, is driven more by hormones than a longing for the sun.
On a recent day, as I settled in with Simon to watch some television, he set about to run amok.
First he tried to tell a blanket who was boss by viciously attacking it as I tried to toss it over my lap. Then he ran around under it like a madman, nipping at its various folds as though each had offended him somehow.
Simon worked his way out to the edge to look at me, before diving back in to attack the blanket once more.
When that game grew old, Simon leapt from the chair onto the end table so ungracefully he face-planted on the table. The moment he righted himself, Simon flew a loop around the living room, perhaps to brush off the embarrassment before refocusing his efforts at annihilating the buttons on the remote control.
I got scolded for rescuing the remote from its fate.
Simon then turned his attention to the mostly empty can of sparkling water on the end table, flinging it off with such force it’s clatter spooked him into flight once more.
Finally, he settled onto my lap but not for his usual head scratches. He’d tuck his head as if asking for some affection only to nip at my fingers.
He’s not normally this restless but spring has sprung and for parrots that means a hormone roller coaster.
It happens to every parrot this time of year, coinciding with longer days and warmer temperatures. It’s time for baby-making. But for most companion parrots, including Simon, that isn’t going to happen.
Even without a cute little girl parrot around, the pull of nature still takes over.
In parrot forums, you’ll find videos of parrots engaging in mating behaviors with inanimate objects or people, their caretakers asking, “What’s my baby doing?” There are also posts asking why such a sweet, fluffy baby has turned into a biting, screaming terror.
Some parrots will strut for their loved human or regurgitate food for them, fan out their tails or build elaborate nests in preparation for babies.
Parrots, in the absence of a mate, sometimes pick a special human to bond with, rejecting all others in the household and sometimes attacking them.
There are a few things that can help get through this, uh, awkward time with your feathered friend.
Pet Assure offers the following advice for dealing with springtime hormones.
Be sure not to encourage sexual behaviors, especially with inappropriate touching. For a parrot, that means don’t pet his wings, back or tail feathers. That could be misinterpreted as sexual advances. Stick pretty much to head scratches.
If your baby becomes obsessed with a certain toy or object, remove it from the bird area.
If the parrot becomes aggressive to other people, do everyone a favor and leave them in their cage when those people are around.
Spring fever soon will pass.
Simon will return to his cuddly, non-blanket-attacking self soon. In the meantime, I just have to deal with the craziness.