Every culture loves fireworks! From the 4th of July to New Year’s Eve, we celebrate with the triumph of bright, bursting fireworks. Fireworks engage almost all of our senses. Same thing with thunder. Loud bangs and bright lights are bound to frighten any sensitive animal.
Fireworks in particular are great to be around if you are expecting them, but very scary for our pets that don’t expect them or understand them. Pets often go into fight or flight mode during fireworks celebrations.
Put yourself in your bird’s position. Bright bursts of light, loud bang after bang after bang, and even the unusual smell of burning sulfur waking them up after they’ve been asleep.
Anything that is unexpected and out of the ordinary routine – plus, involves sensory overload can freak your parrot out and send it into flight or fight mode.
You might observe wing flapping, feather chewing, screaming, and other fear-related behaviors. Some parrots are prone to developing ongoing trauma-related behaviors after such an event, especially if they’ve hurt themselves. So, you’ll want to ensure that you are there to help your scared parrot.
Anticipate that your pet bird might become extremely distressed during fireworks celebrations. Plan to support your parrot especially if this is their first fireworks or thunderstorm experience:
- Stay close so that you can help them feel safe
- Prepare for their safety before the big day
Here’s how to plan for the next big bang.
SUPPORT A CALM DEMEANOR:
Parrots are prone to anxiety, especially in new or unexpected situations. Even if your bird is not anxious, always plan to reinforce calm behavior rather than the anxious behavior. Label the calm behavior with a word like “settle.” When you notice your bird acting anxious, ignore it until it calms down. Then, as soon as it calms down, offer it a delicious treat.
FOCUS ON PARROT WELLNESS:
One of the best things that we can do to prevent over-anxious behavior in the first place is to satisfy our pet bird’s wellness needs. If you’re unsure of what I mean by that head over to this blog. A well-nourished bird that’s getting enough sleep, exercise, enrichment, and social experiences is more resilient.
PLAN AHEAD FOR THE BIG DAY
Nevertheless, planning ahead to support your. bird is the best thing thing you can do.
- Get your bird used to being in a sleep cage prior to the celebration. The sleep cage should be small and comfortable. Remove the perch if you are afraid your bird will flap around and injure itself. Get your bird used to the sleep cage being placed in a dark, confined room like a bathroom with now windows or closet. This will muffle the constant banging sounds and shield your bird from the bright lights.
- If you can’t get a sleep cage, cover your bird’s regular cage with a heavy blanket to shield it from the bright lights and loud noise.
- Play relaxing music for background noise.
- Watch your bird for breathing difficulties. Fireworks displays come with the smell of burning sulfur. Parrots have extremely sensitive lungs so anticipate that the smoke and smell may be irritating for your bird. You may want to run an air cleaning system as a precaution.
TRAIN & DESENSITIZE:
Not only should you be rewarding and reinforcing calm behavior, but you can also desensitize your bird to the sounds of fireworks. Get on YouTube and search for fireworks videos. Play them for a half-hour or so each day. Each day, play them progressively louder. Always be available to supervise your bird while playing the desensitization videos and make it a point to generously reward calm behavior. Also, act like you love the noise. Never try to desensitize your bird to the smell of fireworks.
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