Games We Play

by Monica Gonzalez published: 2/4/01


Date last edited:  06/20/12








Tips on playing with your bird

Start the new year with some healthy habits!

Spending quality time with your feathered loved one is very important. It has many benefits. Quality playtime is enriching for you as well as your pet bird.  It provides mental stimulation and bonding. I couldn't think of a better way to spend time than to interact with my flock.

Here are some tips and ideas for you to play with your flock.

**"Dropsies" **
When your bird is in a mischievous mood, they will sometimes drop their toys on purpose. My first response to this is to associate the drop with an "UH OH!". You bird will eventually pick up on this word
and start using it.  Secondly, this is a part of interacting with your bird. He/she is trying to tell you to "Come play with me!" Your bird is thinking "I drop it. Mom/Dad comes and picks it up." Birds will go on for hours with this game!
**Catch Anyone?**
Who says a bird cant play catch?? Well maybe not with a real ball but you CAN with a Terry Cloth Ball or a small Wiffle Ball (ball with holes in it).  Item needs to be able to be gripped by their beaks.  Specifically I have a terry cloth ball that I use to play catch with my grey Oliver.  He gets very excited when I come out with the ball.   He knows "ITS SHOWTIME!".
First you want to ensure your bird is not fearful of the ball. Reserve the initial playing sessions for 5-10 minute intervals so that your bird will get accustomed to the game. This builds trust and enthusiasm for the next play session. Gently and slowly roll the ball to your bird.  Don't be discouraged, if at first, your bird doesn't know what to do. They will at first watch you and your reactions, so be sure to be enthusiastic and talk to your bird. Tell him the name of the game and be consistent so they learn the phrase. They will eventually start to roll the ball back to you. Then before you know it he/she will pick it up and fling it at
you!  That is when the fun really begins! 

Be sure you try to read your bird's body language if he/she is adapting to the game and wanting more before attempting the next play session.  Please take note of your birds playful moments so you learn
these types of body language. This will help aid in so many things. 

**Dancing & Let's Get Crazy!**
Ok so not everyone is an expert at dancing. I certainly am not! So I draw the shades (VBG) and turn on a song that has a good beat to it (Our favorite CD is Banaphone by Raffi). Now, turn up the volume so your bird gets into the rhythm. Are you keeping an open mind? Ok now is where the fun begins! In front of your pet bird, start to sway and sing (don't worry the neighbors wont hear you). Swing your arms to the music and clap and bounce. Before you know it your bird will be dancing right with you. 

My Oliver LOVES Banaphone so much, when I ask him "Do you want to hear Bananaphone?" he will nod so incessantly that his body bounces then he skips from side to side! Honest!  If you have some song favorites, bring your bird in the room. He will love to join you in a song festival! Whatever your choice in songs, I believe he/she will love to listen and sing right along with you!

**Peek A Boo**
An old but GREAT favorite!  Peek A Boo can be played anywhere. In your bedroom, in the family room, in their cages. This one is a personal favorite for me! You can take a small plain towel that is light in color (some birds do not like patterns on some towels). And between you and your bird, you hold it up and say "Where are you?" in a high tone. Drop the towel, and say "PEEK A BOOOO, I SEEEEE YOU!" 
With my little Grey, he will not wait for the towel to come down. He flies on top of the hand towel and says "PEEK A BOO". They certainly are precious aren't they?!

**Nite Nite**
Yes, all good things must come to an end.  Well why not read a nice book with your bird before bedtime. This will relax both you and your pet bird.  Some ideas are children's books, poems, a nice novel, passages from the bible, the ideas are endless!

It is a good to get into a routine with your bird at bedtime. This aids in an enjoyed time together.  Birds are flock animals and they thrive on the attention we give them. It helps in establishing a wonderful bond between humans and birds. 

**Gonna Getcha**
Another favorite! This is especially great when trying to accustom your bird to your fingers and touching in areas they may not appreciate so much.

Game can be played anywhere you like (i.e. bed, table, on top the cage). Take your fingers and run them like a spider would and say "I'm gonna GETCHA!" and emphasize the GETCHA! They usually go running away from you but within seconds they are back for round 2!

Once your bird is used to this surprising game, you can start exploring new areas. For example, try to touch his/her belly or beak gently when emphasizing GETCHA.  This gets to be a "hands on" type of game in getting your bird involved in you touching him in certain areas they may not be accustomed to.



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