Tailfeathers
Contact | Tour
where bird lovers gather
Bird InformationMessage BoardNetwork Home

 

Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: theory - bird's behaviour

  1. #1
    Brand New Egg
    Name
    Jo
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Stokkem
    Posts
    41
    Thanks
    4
    Thanked 7 Times in 7 Posts

    theory - bird's behaviour

    It's not that I developed my own theory, but it can become much easier to explain or understand a bird's based on psychological models made for us humans. But I've never seen that in the context of our birds.

    Probably a lot of us have heard about Maslow's Pyramid of Needs. It's a theory about what our motivation is, to help us develop as human beings. (human -> birds)



    Basically this means that a basic level needs to be fulfilled before we can move on to the next and higher level. It also means that if basic needs aren't fulfilled, everything on top of that might collapse.

    a. physiological needs: water - food - warmth - rest (- sexual drifts)
    b. safety needs: shelter - safety - security - health/well-being (- safety for their babies)
    c. Emotional/social needs - love/belonging: flock life - (monogamous) bonding. This is a level where birds differ from a lot of other animals. Birds don't want to dominate or be dominated, they want everybody in the flock to be on the same height on the imaginary social ladder. A dog in a pack is different, they want to be submissive to their boss. A cat (or a cat-like animal) is also different, they want to dominate.

    The last 2 pieces of the pyramid aren't as wide, and can vary among different birds and different species. I'll only mention a few of these "needs".

    d. esteem: training/learning tricks - learning in general - ...
    e. self-actualisation: motherhood - parenthood - "job" - their role in their life - ... // In my belief, as humans we can't connect with a bird on this level and we can't interfere with a bird's self-actualisation.

    Especially parenting is a very complex need, because it can be related to all 5 different levels. This means that frustration about sexual drifts (lowest level: physiological needs) can have a negative influence on a bird's complete behaviour. Being a bad parent (highest level: self-actualization) doesn't really affect a bird.

    In practice, this pyramid can learn us a lot. It literally means that it's impossible (or very hard) for a bird to feel safe, whenever his physiological needs aren't fulfilled. It learns us that it's impossible/hard to make a bond with a bird as long as it doesn't feel safe or suffers from major insecurities. It learns us that you need to have a meaningful bond with a bird if you want to train him.

    ***

    During their life, the importance of these needs will vary.



    But this also leans us that if me there's something wrong with a young birds physiological or safety needs, the impact will be much bigger than for an adult bird. We often see that in birds.
    -> A bird that has been restless or doesn't get the right nutrition on a young age, misses on developing to feel safe and secure. That's why the impact of doing something wrong when hand feeding a baby bird, can (and probably will) be that your bird becomes an easily scared and insecure bird when he's older.
    -> A bird that came to you on a young age shouldn't be handled too much. Maslow's pyramid learns us: The more he's scared and feels unsafe, the harder it will be to bond with him at a later stage. The dynamic learns us: On a young age, the impact of not taking care properly of a bird, the impact of a bird feeling unsafe/insecure is much, much higher.

    I truly believe that one of the aspects why this is important for people with birds, comes to bonding and training.
    -> You first need a meaningful bond with a bird before you can train him.
    -> Also: you don't need training, target training or conditional behaviour things to train a bird.

    Obviously, when we talk about bonding with a bird (and training him) we want that to happen with us. Most of the time, that's a difficult issue. Keyword will be: COMMUNICATION.

    ***

    In order to level up from a bird that feels safe and healthy to a bird that's our friend, their has to be communication between us. In two directions.
    -> For us it's hard to understand what a bird wants. And unfortunately the easiest and clearest way for a bird to communicate frustration, is by biting.
    -> For a bird it's hard to understand what his human wants, or what a human has done to him. That's why a bird will almost certainly bond with another bird (when there are two). The other bird will take credit for what we do (provide food, shelter, health, ...) because the bird can communicate what he wants, while we are probably just being weird.

    This also means that, when we notice that our bird has a biting problem, there is not one simple solution.

    Action - reaction. Biting might be a wrong ACTION.
    - The bird has "leveled up" to bite on moments that he's (against our will) trained to bite. Because he likes the outcome. In this case we also need to step back a level. Probably a bird who bites out of habit is a bird who's not properly bonded to us. If we want to correct that, we first have to rebuild that bond, before we can train him not to bite.
    - Hormonal behaviour is another way of biting as an action. But here it happens on a lower level. A bird will bite out of hormonal influences as a (low level) physiological need (reproduction) or safety need (shelter/territorial drift)

    Action - reaction. Biting might be a wrong REACTION.
    - A communication breakdown between the bird and us. Biting as a way to say: I feel unsafe. And like I already mentioned: it's hard to befriend an insecure bird.

    Sometimes there isn't a problem at all.
    - Biting CAN be a way for a bird to express that he's on the same level on a social ladder. In a flock, this is why they do beak fights or some toe biting. Trying to teach a bird not to have beak fights is like trying to teach a bird not to preen. Both is ok!

    Again, insecurity is an important issue. The pyramid learns us that social needs (bonding and having a flock life) is a higher level of needs than feeling safe, being secure. Without safety and security, a bird won't reach a higher level: social and emotional needs / love. BUT it's on that level of social needs, that a bird will reserve his place in a social hierarchy, which should be equal with his partners and other birds/people in a flock.
    => an insecure bird won't feel the need to be on the same height in social hierarchy and will become needy/dependent or dominant/aggressive.
    This is important, because it implies that you shouldn't train an aggressive bird to be sweet, you should take away his insecurity and bond with him or allow him to bond with his partner. This also implies that an insecure bird can become aggressive towards his other flock mates.

  2. #2
    Tailfeather
    Name
    Ellen
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    USA Midwest
    Posts
    11,231
    Thanks
    18
    Thanked 1,285 Times in 1,284 Posts

    Re: theory - bird's behaviour

    Thank you for your post! It will be of help to many caregivers who have concerns about bird behavior.

  3. #3
    Mom of 3 fids Chick Tailfeathers Supporter!Tailfeathers Supporter! DesertDweller's Avatar
    Name
    Pat
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    California
    Posts
    1,158
    Thanks
    36
    Thanked 50 Times in 50 Posts

    Re: theory - bird's behaviour

    Hey Jo! You are rapidly becoming my hero. I so appreciate you applying Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs (as I learned it so long ago).
    Birds are people! They are not just ornaments. They have feelings, they have wants, desires and needs. I get so happy when someone points these things out.

    After I had a severe case of anaphylactic shock, I thought I needed to rehome all my birds. I couldn't bear living without them. Since the allergy trigger was sunflower seeds, I figured I might be able to live with finches again. Then, 2 females laid eggs. Plus, I can't bear having birds that I won't be handling. So, now I have precious Benny Francis the amazon and the 2 sweet cockatiels. Quality of life, as my doctor says, is very important. And, I say that's very true for me AND for the birds.

    Keep up the great work, Jo! I love reading what you have to say! Thanks!
    Whitefaced Pearl Cockatiel Smokey Bear: Hatched June 14, 2018
    Whitefaced Pied Cockatiel Wolfie Barry James (Wolfgang): Hatched approx: December 25, 2017
    Yellow Naped Amazon Benny Francis: Hatched March 24, 2018

  4. #4
    Hatching marroqui's Avatar
    Name
    Laila
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    427
    Thanks
    2
    Thanked 12 Times in 12 Posts

    Re: theory - bird's behaviour

    I agree, thank you so much Jo for this post. It is really informative. I only just learnt about Maslow's hierarchy of needs in the last year or so in some of my psychology classes at university, and it is interesting to apply it to the behaviours of birds too. To be honest, whilst many of my subjects would focus on humans and the human brain and behaviour, I've been more interested in trying to find information on the behaviour of birds instead. I wish there was a course on animal psychology so that we can choose if we want to focus on humans or only animals Lately I have been watching the Indian ringneck we have as well and have began to wonder what is causing his behaviour too, by thinking about human behaviour. He is regularly running around, in a frustrated way, and from one second to the next he can go from being really happy taking a bite out of a seed or vegetable to instantly being cranky and running around again and screaming. We originally thought it was hormones, because when he started moulting he stopped that behaviour and was mostly quiet and relaxed and the lady we get our French millet from said its most likely hormones because breeding season was on the way but once his moult finished he was back to that behaviour and I still cannot figure out what he wants. To me it is almost similar to bipolar disorder. It saddens me to think he might not be happy a lot of the time. The lovebirds are always so happy with any simple thing. But the conures and socrates the ringneck not as much, they don't play with toys. I do think that maybe bigger birds have different needs and wants than the little ones. I thought they would start to copy the little ones, as socrates did when he started eating his honey stick because he saw the little ones do it, but it seems its only that which he copied and nothing else. Looking at that hierarchy of needs I do wonder if it comes down to the basic needs not being satisfied, maybe I need to take away the honey sticks, so that the basic need of food - HEALTHY FOOD WITHOUT SUGAR - is satisfied and see if that helps.

    I think in general, birds are wired different in the way they think, especially females, but that they also have many similarities to humans. For example, we may think "oh its cold, I'll give this happy hut to my bird so he or she has a warm place to sleep inside their cage" - that is human thinking, but to the bird they will see the happy hut and think "oh a nest, time for me to start mating and laying eggs" without thinking about the cold (this is something stupid I did myself last year with happy huts). However, there is one thing that I saw which I'm not sure I agree with, the social needs and birds not wanting to dominate, Maybe it is only lovebirds, but if I keep my lovebirds in groups they try to dominate each other and try to establish a pecking order, which is why I keep them in pairs or in singles so that the dominance isn't as bad. I think I'm going to re-read this post regularly to remind myself so I can monitor all the birdies.

  5. #5
    Tailfeather boomer girl's Avatar
    Name
    Deanna
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Colfax, California
    Posts
    17,270
    Thanks
    34
    Thanked 789 Times in 785 Posts

    Re: theory - bird's behaviour

    Thanks Jo, this is truly a great post and made me think not only about birds but people as well. I have not heard of the Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Pyramid and find it very interesting. It does fit well for a bird as well after you explaining how you think it fits them. I am very happy you posted this here.
    Fly Free Boomer, we will forever love you.

  6. #6
    Brand New Egg
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Posts
    91
    Thanks
    4
    Thanked 4 Times in 4 Posts

    Re: theory - bird's behaviour

    I regularly use this with rescues!

  7. #7
    Mom of 3 fids Chick Tailfeathers Supporter!Tailfeathers Supporter! DesertDweller's Avatar
    Name
    Pat
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    California
    Posts
    1,158
    Thanks
    36
    Thanked 50 Times in 50 Posts

    Re: theory - bird's behaviour

    When I was a young mom, I got Dr. Benjamin Spock's Book of Baby and Child Care to help me with my new family. It was a great book! When I got a new puppy, I found a book written like Dr. Spock's. It was called Book of Puppy and Dog Care. The two books so paralleled each other it was amazing. Then, later I got Robert Stroud's Digest of the Diseases of Birds. I found that putting the advice from the three books helped me with people and animals. There's so many similarities that I'm surprised that humans still think that birds and other animals are so much different from us. They're not. Birds are 'people' too. They think, they decide, they choose, they feel, they desire, they enjoy, etc. etc. Just like us.

    I'm glad to see this thread because I'm sincerely hoping that people new to birds will get the idea and work with it to make their lives with their new companions happy and rewarding.
    Whitefaced Pearl Cockatiel Smokey Bear: Hatched June 14, 2018
    Whitefaced Pied Cockatiel Wolfie Barry James (Wolfgang): Hatched approx: December 25, 2017
    Yellow Naped Amazon Benny Francis: Hatched March 24, 2018

  8. #8
    Tailfeather
    Name
    Ellen
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    USA Midwest
    Posts
    11,231
    Thanks
    18
    Thanked 1,285 Times in 1,284 Posts

    Re: theory - bird's behaviour

    I have homed birds for many, many years. They have taught me many things of life. They are very intelligent, and love life. They really do not expect anything from us, but only to be loved and protected, fed and watered each day, and cared for with respect, and commitment to their needs. I consider mine to be like two year old children, and often times they mirror that behavior. But I would be lost without them. I feel they are the most beautiful of all creatures of the Universe, both inside and outside! They are perfect in every way.

  9. #9
    Brand New Egg
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Posts
    91
    Thanks
    4
    Thanked 4 Times in 4 Posts

    Re: theory - bird's behaviour

    Quote Originally Posted by maxollie View Post
    I have homed birds for many, many years. They have taught me many things of life. They are very intelligent, and love life. They really do not expect anything from us, but only to be loved and protected, fed and watered each day, and cared for with respect, and commitment to their needs. I consider mine to be like two year old children, and often times they mirror that behavior. But I would be lost without them. I feel they are the most beautiful of all creatures of the Universe, both inside and outside! They are perfect in every way.
    Thanks!
    Your commitment to rehoming is appreciated! People forget that rehoming and rescuing save lived! I understand the desire for breeder babies, I keep 1 or 2 at my home always for my sanity. I prefer the challenge of rescues over rehomes. Although they usually take longer, the most loving and loyal birds ever were rescues!

Remove Ads

Similar Threads

  1. theory: the BIGGER the CAGE the BETTER
    By lovelybirdowner in forum General Bird Talk
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 11-16-2009, 10:29 AM
  2. possibly a bonkers theory?
    By pixibubbles in forum General Bird Talk
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 10-30-2009, 02:52 PM
  3. Just a Theory...
    By Baboo's Momma in forum General Bird Talk
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 04-13-2009, 09:27 PM
  4. Night Fright theory.
    By Katzyn in forum Cockatiel Care, Feeding, Dangers, Health
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 01-29-2008, 05:14 AM
  5. Replies: 1
    Last Post: 03-19-2004, 09:11 AM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Message BoardNetwork Home