The Emotions of Birds

Complicatingly Simple

‘’Yes I pooped on the couch and now need cuddles’’ -Tandoodles 

Small birds are surprisingly emotional.

It is common knowledge that dogs and cats have various emotions, but what about the birds? I am a new bird-mom to two male cockatiels. I had no idea that they would have such varied emotions. Because the internet is LITTERED with videos and blogs about the emotions of dogs and cats, I thought that my birds would be as emotional as my floral wall paper. Nothing could prepare me for what I discovered with both of my little birds.

1. Small birds are wired for emotions just like their bigger birdy cousins. Cockatiels and smaller birds may not always talk or do fancy tricks but their brains are able to process emotions through the exact same way. Research proved that bird brains in general are neuron-dense. That means in a nutshell that they have the potential to be quite smart. This potential goes beyond being able to do parlor tricks though. It also means they can have the copacity for complex emotions.

Tandoodles loves kisses from momma 

2. Small brains that are neuron dense = a total brain (or almost total) response. This is something that took me a while to grasp. Birds’ emotions have striking similarities as that of children (0-3 years) emotions. Because the space between neurons are so small, and their brain is so tiny, is why they display certain behavior. I have been working with children for about ten years now and seasoned parents know that toddler emotions can range from “Disneyland-happiness” to “the whole world isn’t fair” in a surprisingly short period of time. Birds are exactly the same. They can go from loving you and giving you kisses to biting your face in seconds. Every bird is different, just like every child is different, but the potential for drastic change is still there. This is solely because more neurons are activated when an emotion is triggered. This is why birds reactively fly when scared. They are not making the decision to fly away, though. The neurons all over their small little brain is being activated at once. 

Mom missing us from her last trip overseas 

3. The love you give them is amplified. Because of their neuron dense brains, it’s not out of the question that the emotion you show them impacts their psyche. I smother my birds with love and wrap them in cotton wool. I’m 30-years-old and have no kids of my own yet, so they are my beautiful feathery babies. I have witnessed incredible acts of emotion from my birds that were very surprising. After giving kisses to one of my birds, he sporadically busted out in song. Conversely, after telling him not to chew the wall, he hissed at me and attempted to bite me. Five minutes later, after some sweet talking, he wanted some cuddles. I feel that I, overall, have very sweet (and spoiled) birds. 

I am magically majestic 

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The Emotions of Birds
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