Doctor Hess: So, many birds are really cuddly and wonderful.
A lot of people don't understand that birds can be cuddly and sweet and fun to hold too. I don't think they necessarily think, "Oh bird, cuddly." They usually think cat, dog, fuzzy little pet.
But many, many birds are very, very sweet. I'd say the top of that list is probably the cockatoo. Cockatoos are very social. They love to snuggle.
There are some other birds too. Even African Greys. Even little birds like cockatiels can snuggle.
Really, if you put the time in and you work with the bird they will come to you, they will sit with you. They'll be your companion.
But there are certain cautions we have to take when we work with birds and we encourage them to snuggle because we can get into some problems. Right Sarah?
Sarah: Yes. Some behavioral problems can actually develop from snuggling. Once birds actually reach sexual maturity, the problem that we can reach is that the bird thinks that you are its mate, rather than its flock mate.
And past that point that's when we, unfortunately, have to maybe move away from the snuggling and just head petting. No body petting. No under the wings.
Because unfortunately the birds get very confused and that's where we run into the egg laying and possible serious behavioral issues related to reproductive problems.
Doctor Hess: Right. We don't want to send our birds mixed messages. So we will stick to petting the head. We will not let them think that we're going to mate with them.
And we can interact with our birds in many different ways, giving them treats giving them toys, even verbal praise. All of those things are nice.
But, pretending to be your bird's mate when really you're just your bird's friend, that's, you know, what can get a little confusing for some birds.
So we just have to make sure they understand who we are, where we are and what we're doing.