We’ve been looking into getting some new toys for our cockatiels recently.
They’ve been seeming a bit bored with their old ones, and the last thing you want on your hands is a bored cockatiel!
So, we’ve been thinking about what we could get them, and the other day as my son was brushing his teeth, he remembered that he had heard parrots like mirrors.
Cockatiels probably did, too, I assumed, but I wanted to be sure first, so I decided to look into it.
So, do cockatiels like mirrors?
Yes, cockatiels like mirrors. Cockatiels like looking at their own reflection for a few reasons, and like many birds, they are just attractive to shiny, eye-catching objects around them. Mirrors are a great toy and a great way to keep your cockatiels stimulated and entertained.
Cockatiels are highly complex and social birds that tend to need a lot of stimulation, and one of the best ways to do that is by providing multiple toys.
Mirrors are another toy, and a very popular one, since cockatiels seem to enjoy their own reflection so much.
In any case, cockatiels love having mirrors and will appreciate them in their cage.
Should cockatiels have mirrors in their cage?
The simple answer is that, while they will naturally do okay without one, keeping a cockatiel should be a constant, unending attempt to keep them entertained in as many ways as possible.
Mirrors aren’t enough on their own to keep your cockatiel stimulated, but they certainly add a lot to the repertoire of toys.
That said, many would not advise having a mirror in the cage if you have only one cockatiel.
This can interfere with their training, and while some would suggest otherwise, for my money, a mirror is no substitute for another cockatiel.
Ideally, you shouldn’t keep a cockatiel on its own.
Some would also say that, if you do have two cockatiels, there is then no need for a mirror since they have one another to play with.
As I said, though, they will still play with the mirror even if they have each other, so it’s again just a case of adding as many extra forms of stimulation as you can.
That is, forms that they can choose to interact with as and when they like.
So, they don’t need a mirror, but it certainly helps in many ways!
Can cockatiels recognize themselves in a mirror?
It has been the subject of a lot of scientific studies, as it is with many animals.
The simple answer, when it comes to cockatiels, seems to be no.
However, they do not recognize the bird in the mirror as themselves, but rather another bird.
It can be difficult to determine exactly what the cockatiel recognizes the reflection as, but it does not seem, generally, to recognize it as itself.
This is why many people employ the mirror.
For a solitary cockatiel, it can make it seem as though the bird has a companion.
However, the cockatiel can bond with the mirror cockatiel, which can be problematic in many ways.
Again, a mirror is not a substitute for another cockatiel.
Do cockatiels like looking in mirrors?
They certainly seem to enjoy looking in mirrors, for a variety of reasons.
The first and foremost, as I said, is that they feel the reflection is another real bird, and so can get emotionally attached on that level, feeling it is the same bird each time.
If they are already bonded to another cockatiel, then the mirror is more of a source of fascination.
Again, they still don’t recognize it as themselves, but they don’t necessarily form the same bond with it either.
It’s just like a stranger bird, mimicking their actions.
Though they cannot quite understand it, they are stimulated in part because their reflection confounds them.
Are mirrors dangerous for cockatiels?
Some would say they are, especially for a single cockatiel.
It isn’t likely to be dangerous in the sense that it will cause any immediate harm, but as I said earlier, it can get in the way of training and bonding.
Thinking that a mirror is a good replacement for active socialization is the real problem.
Even if your cockatiel has a mirror and enjoys playing with it, they still need to be socialized a great deal.
Whether by you or another cockatiel—but not by a mirror.
Mirrors are, almost universally, a toy that cockatiels love and will keep them very enriched.
They are a great addition to your cockatiel’s cage, and to all the existing methods of stimulation you have for them.
It’s not a good substitute for other cockatiels, but it is a great thing to have nonetheless.
Some cockatiels can entertain themselves for hours admiring mirrors and their own reflections.
So, yes, cockatiels like mirrors!