The melting snow and brighter sun, herald in the arrival of spring with all it's wonders, and newness. It's the time for planning our gardens, and finally venturing outdoors to enjoy the warming weather. It's also the time for hormonal instability in our Companion Parrots. Our once sweet, loving friend can awaken one day to be an angry, frustrated and sometimes down-right nasty Parrot. There is no way to stop the natural cycle of hormonal changes that normally occur for most species twice yearly, spring and fall from adolescence into maturity. Depending on the species this can begin as young as the first year for Lovebirds, Parrotlets and similar smaller species, to as late as the tenth year and beyond for large Macaws and Cockatoos. However, there is no specific age for the first indications that our little baby is becoming an adult.
Parents are often shocked when one day their once lovable, affectionate Companion, begins to act aggressively, sometimes biting without any per-warning, refusing to leave their cage and otherwise acting in a totally uncharacteristic manner. The change can happen literally over-night. In my years with Companion Parrots I have observed this annual " coming-of-age" may times over. Yet, despite this, I am still taken off guard at the often unexpectedness of it's arrival. Some years the spring brings in the Hormonal season for Parrots later into the spring, other years it begins very early, as it has this year. Almost over-night my entire flock of Companion Parrot adults morphed into hormonal, loud, and unruly adults with their minds set once more upon finding a mate, building a nest and rearing young.
The majority of my Companions are domestically bred Parrots, ones that have never nested in the wild. There is absolutely no difference in attitudes,or behaviorism between these individuals and the few "Wild-Caught' adults who make our flock their home. My once cuddly sweet Companions can often times become very aggressive,unpredictable, biting more readily, and are vocally louder then at any other times of the year.
Preparing ourselves for these annual changes in personalities and not taking any of it personally goes a long way. Very bonded Parrots can and do at times change loyalties at these times of year. This is normally not permanent and shouldn't be taken as a rejection by our companion. It is simply nature having its way with our Companion. They are seeking out a mate and their focus is not on friendship but reproducing their species.
Parents may be severely bitten when attempting to handle a hormonal Parrot whose body-language is clearly saying, " stay away". Respecting the Parrot's right to make decisions is fundamental to retaining a close bond, and preventing injuries. Learning to read one's Parrot is a must to continuing interacting with them when they become very hormonal. Respect territoriality and learning when to back off, and when to interact will lead to harmony, trust and a safe and happy hormonal season with your Companion.