how to make a new bird feel comfortable

You begin to get to know your bird when you bring him or her home for the first time. Your bird is getting to know you as well, and it’s not clear to them that you mean well. If your bird came from a shelter, it’s possible that it has a history of negative interactions with people. You must establish trust and strengthen your relationship. Your bird needs to understand that you are its caregiver—the one who gives it food, entertainment, and toys.

It’s better to start the bird off with a few toys in its cage rather than overwhelming it with dozens of toys. Again, it’s fantastic if the bird can play with familiar toys from its previous home in its new cage. Offer the bird a few different toys with varying textures or colors if it didn’t already have those. Certain birds prefer to chew on wood, while others prefer to chew on paper or cork. Different species have different needs. Cockatoos are real chewers. Amazons also can be real chewers. However, because he isn’t really a chewer, my religious parrot has had the same toys in his cage for a very long time. All that matters is the kind of bird and its disposition. Let your bird be your guide. Present various hues and textures to him or her and observe what draws their attention. After that, you could suggest more toys that resemble the ones he or she appears to enjoy. My cockatoo has a lot of toys that I have purchased for him, but he is only interested in one particular toy: a ball with several colored wooden sticks sticking out of it. Over the years, I’ve come to realize that all he really wants is those sticks, so I don’t need to spend a lot of money on him fancy toys. I’ve spent a ton of money on other things, but I’ve discovered that he always goes for the straightforward sticks because they make him happy.

Now that you’ve either bought or adopted a bird, an amazing journey has begun. You will spend a very long time in this house with your bird. It’s crucial that you first help this bird get used to its new surroundings. Birds are highly accustomed to their surroundings, so altering them can cause them great distress. So, don’t expect everything to be perfect right away. You want to make him feel comfortable. The best way to accomplish that is to introduce some familiar items, such as the food the bird has been accustomed to eating, into the new environment of the bird. These items may have previously been in the bird’s previous habitat, which may have been at a store, breeder, or shelter. Perhaps their previous diet isn’t the greatest in the world, and that’s okay for the time being. We can work on that later. Place those things and that food in the bird’s new cage so it will become accustomed to its surroundings. Remember, this bird is going to be overwhelmed. You are a stranger to your bird, and if you share a home with others, your family members are also strangers. It’s a new house, a new cage, a new setting, with unfamiliar sights, sounds, and smells. All these things can be really overwhelming to bird. Therefore, you should prepare the cage ahead of time when you first bring the bird home to avoid fumbling around in it while trying to get the bird in. Carefully open the bird’s carrier or whatever it is in, and allow it to enter the cage.

The cage needs to be a comfortable, secure, and ultimately the bird’s favorite spot to be. You don’t want it to serve as a jail, prison, or other punitive facility. So, you must make it attractive. The best way to accomplish that is to preload the cage with toys or other items that your bird is familiar with. Then, add some of the bird’s favorite food—even if it’s not the healthiest—and allow the bird to simply sit there and observe everything. Don’t try to handle the bird right away. Don’t approach the cage and start talking loudly. Allow the bird to simply perch and observe its surroundings, getting acclimated to new sounds and sights as well as new surroundings.

Like humans, birds also have preferences when it comes to food, attire, colors, music, and a host of other things. Thus, get to know your bird and observe what kinds of textures, colors, sounds, sights, and even food tastes he or she prefers, then follow that preference.

Educating bird owners since 1997.

Clip both the wings or have a professional do it for you prior to taming. Once you get the bird home give it about a day to adjust. Taming should be done in a small room without much furniture. Bathrooms, shower stalls, and hallways that can be blocked off work well. The bird should be transferred from the cage to the taming room with as little fuss as possible.

The cage should be completely out of the room. Birds that are afraid will fly towards the cage if they see it. The training room should ideally be out of your other birds’ line of sight and hearing. Basically, all you want is a space to yourself, the bird, and the training aids. Treats, a towel, two wooden dowels (perches), and something safe for you to focus on (a phone, book, tablet, or crochet) are among the taming tools. For larger species, you can use grapes, nuts, and other fruits; millet spray is a great treat for any bird.

Lesson 1: I am Not a Predator

The goal of the first lesson is to show that you’re not some ferocious predator trying to kill the bird. It’s an easy process: a few feet away from you, place a towel on the ground, and then scatter the treats on it. Put the bird on the ground, take a seat, and engage in your non-aggressive activity, paying no attention to the bird at all. Chances are it will try to get as far away from you as it can. For this reason, the space needs to be compact; you want the bird to be around rather than ten feet away. Chirping is acceptable occasionally, but keep your eyes closed. Eating nutritious finger foods like popcorn or carrots while reading is also beneficial. It might eventually work up the courage to explore, move, or preen. You can begin the following lesson once the bird physically begins to relax around you.

Lesson 2: Stick Training and the Up Command

The goal is to get the bird to approach a wooden perch before moving its finger. You’ll need two perches that are familiar to the bird. Avoid using anything ostentatious or unusual that might frighten the bird. Wooden dowels from the bird’s cage work well.

To begin, grasp the perch at the very end and encourage the bird to take a step up at the other end. This can take a while. Most birds step up willingly if correctly prompted. Offering the perch above the feet and slightly below mid-chest is recommended. If it’s too high or too low, the bird won’t move. Push gently to knock the bird off balance, and it should come up. Some birds, despite being unsteady on their current perch, bravely cling on. You just have to be persistent.

Once the bird steps up correctly, praise it and try again. This time, ask it to step up with a word. The standard word is “up,” but feel free to choose any word you know you’ll use frequently. I usually fall back on “come here. Use it consistently, whatever you decide, and make sure everyone else in the house uses it as well. Recall to lavish the bird with praise following each successful step up.

Eventually the bird should begin stepping up easily when asked. Based on the bird, this could be a good time to end the session. Some birds will just jump off and go somewhere else if they become bored with constant step-ups. You definitely want to stop before that happens.

The next step is to switch from perch to finger. Step up again, but each time move your hand a little closer to the bird by sliding it along the perch. If the bird becomes scared, back off a few inches and try again later. You should eventually be able to reach under the bird’s feet with your finger while still holding onto the perch. At this point you can try switching completely to fingers. Make sure you hold your fingers straight. A crumpled finger isn’t very inviting.

Try the bird from the cage once more after it has been finger trained in the taming room. To encourage it to come out of the cage, try to provide it with an enjoyable activity to do when it is not inside. A playstand filled with nutritious treats like millet would be ideal. You’ve made progress if your bird can play contentedly by itself on a stand in the same room as you. People frequently worry about petting, and it’s not something that can be really taught. Not every bird likes to be petted, so you shouldn’t force them to Cockatiels, cockatoos and conures usually like being pet; budgies don’t. Focus on building a good relationship with your bird. Earning their trust is key.


How long does it take for a bird to get comfortable?

By making a routine out of slowly reaching into his cage each morning, your bird should become increasingly more comfortable with your hand. It may take your bird anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to feel comfortable with your hand inside his cage.

How do I make my bird comfortable in a new home?

Don’t try to handle the bird right away. Don’t approach the cage and start talking loudly. Let the bird just sit there, look around, familiarize him or herself with the surroundings, hear new sounds, see new sights, and just get used to things. Perhaps start by putting the cage in a quiet room somewhere.

How do you get a bird to trust you?

By spending as much time as you can with your bird you will help it to relax and feel that it can trust you. Try reading a book or some other calm or quiet activity near your birds cage. Gently and quietly speak to your bird to allow it to get used to your voice. Birds need social interaction to be happy.