Sudden behavioral changes in my Green Cheeked Amazon

by Ashley

My Green Cheeked Amazon (Mexican Red-Headed Amazon) recently terrified me by acting bizarrely, suddenly out of character. He was sitting calmly on the perch I have for him in my room when he seemed to become startled. He jumped up and began flying in a disoriented way through the room, running into things and yet continuing to try and make it back to his perch. He's not usually so uncoordinated, and there was nothing in the room to spook him; he did this for seemingly no reason.

He worked himself into such a frenzy that he got himself backed into a corner, behind my nightstand. Here he began to flail almost uncontrollably, screaming and squawking like there was something attacking him. When I tried to reach him in order to calm him down, he ran under my bad, wings drooping, and began to hiss at me every time I drew near. He was acting like he had never seen me before, and like he had no idea who I was or where he was. He treated me like a predator rather than a familiar face. A few moments later, however, when I finally got him to come out from under my bed, he seemed perfectly normal once again.

I have had my parrot for at least 6 or 7 years now, and not once has he EVER acted this way, and with no warning. It really scared me, and I need to know if this was just him being startled by something... or something much more serious. He seems perfectly fine now, but I didn't want to take any chances so I came here. Any help or advice on this bizarre situation would be greatly appreciated.

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May 14, 2010
Behavior change in parrot
by: The Avian Vet

My first guess is that he was startled by something, maybe a noise or something out the window, or maybe you had a new article of clothing on.

A medical reason for this is seizures. You should take him in to be examined, have some blood work done, and maybe some x-rays to determine if he is healthy.

Also, birds do not see well in dim light, so, if you room is dim, this could be a contributing factor. Birds need some UV light to see perfectly, so you may want to give him a Full Spectrum Light.

Dr B

May 07, 2010
Sudden behavioral changes in my Green Cheeked Amazon
by: Linda

When we see sudden changes in behavior, it usually indicates a possible sick bird. The other thing you did not mention was whether this was night or day. At night, your bird needs to be securely locked in his cage at around 9pm, covered if it is necessary to make sure he has darkness and can sleep(no tv, radio or any other noise and light). If birds are allowed to sleep outside their cages, this kind of thing can happen, and the bird can be injured beyond repair. This sounds like "thrashing" or "night terrors" behavior. When a bird is startled out of sleep, they DO NOT KNOW WHERE THEY ARE, AND THEY EITHER FALL IN BOTTOM OF CAGE AND THRASH AROUND, BREAKING FEATHERS AND HURTING THEMSELVES, OR IF THEY ARE LEFT OUTSIDE CAGES, THEY FLY INTO WALLS, DOORS, WINDOWS, MIRRORS AND CAN KILL THEMSELVES. They will NOT recognize you because they are frightened to the point of having no point of reference to either their surroundings, cage or human keepers.

As I said earlier, if you leave bird out to sleep on perch, stop this immediately as birds need as close to 12 hours of darkness, peace and quiet as they can get and the same with full spectrum lighting in the day. Not sunight coming through a window either as that does not have anywhere near full spectrum as window filters it all out. Full spectrum lights can be hung above cage out of reach of bird and extension cord taped securely to wall and out of reach of bird.

I would strongly suggest you take your bird to an Avian Vet for a checkup to make sure he is not in the beginning stages of an infection. If it has been more than a year since his last visit, then definately take him in as we suggest once a year checkups to make sure birds are healthy. Birds cover their illnesses until they are SO sick they can no longer do so and by then, they are in serious condition.If this is night terrors, take steps to make your bird's sleeping time more secure whatever it takes to do so because next time, he may kill himself in his fear.

Thanks for writing,

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