From the time that we are children, we all know that birds make nests – that’s just common knowledge. By the time we are 7 or 8 years old, most of us have seen a bird’s nest for ourselves, or maybe even had to build one of our own for a school project. But parrots aren’t like most birds. As we all know, parrots are extremely intelligent and social, and they don’t always follow the patterns of typical birds. So the question then lies – do parrots build nests? And if they don’t build nests, what do they do?
The answer to this question is yes and no. Some parrots build nests, while others do not. According to Wikipedia, there are only 9 types of parrots that build nests – the Monk Parakeet, 5 species of Lovebird, and three species of Ground Parrot. Other parrots find their nests and make homes out of cavities in tree hollows, cliffs, banks, or the ground.
But this leads us to ask many other questions as well. What do birds/some types of parrots build nests for? Where do these parrots build nests? What are nests built from? How do they even know how to build a nest? And what are nesting boxes? Today we will answer all of these questions and more, so let’s not waste another minute.
Why do parrots build nests?
The main reason that a bird builds a nest is to raise its young. Nests are a safe and warm place where they can lay and incubate their eggs. They also help to provide protection from predators and other birds of prey. For the first 2-3 weeks after birth, the nest also provides a home for baby birds, or a place that they can stay while their mother and/or father are out foraging for food.
Where do parrots build their nests?
Parrots and other birds can nest in multiple places. The most common place that you will find a bird’s nest is in the trees. With that being said, you have probably also seen birds nesting around your home as well. Other places you may find birds nesting include on the ground, in burrows, or in cliffs. But what determines where a bird will nest?
Lack of human interference
Parrots and other birds want to nest in the safest place possible. Why? Because they want their young to be protected from predators. This is why most birds will build their nests high up in the trees where most predators can’t reach them. But in reality, most birds will build nests in any nook or cranny that they can find that they feel will be safe for their young.
Unfortunately, not all predators are stuck on the ground. Some of the worst predators for eggs and young birds/parrots are birds of prey like hawks, eagles, and owls – all of which can fly. For this reason, being up high isn’t always a safe option, which is why birds will always look for places where they can hide their nest.
Is food nearby?
Parrots and other birds who build nests for their young also need to feed their young. This means that they need to go out and forage for food. But each time the parents leave their young, they are leaving them vulnerable to predators. For this reason, birds try to create nests where there is ample food supply available. The quicker they can access food, the quicker they can get back to their young.
What About Parrots that Don’t Build Nests?
As we mentioned above, not all parrots build nests. In fact, there are over 300 different species of parrots and only a few of them have been known to build nests. So what do the rest of them do? They find holes or burrows where they can lay their eggs. Some parrots find holes in trees, while others find holes in the ground, in the sides of cliffs, or even under rocks.
Some parrots, like the burrowing parrot, have also been known to dig their own holes and burrow nests in those.
Even though parrots don’t build their own nests, the same principles for selecting a space to lay their eggs applies. Parrots look for a nesting area that is away from humans and predators, that is concealed and safe, and that is close to food supply.
What is a Nesting Box?
A nesting box is something that parrot owners can buy if they wish to breed their parrots. To put things simply, it’s a dark box where your parrot can go to feel safe and protected when laying their eggs.
Most nesting boxes are deep, and L shaped boxes are very popular. This shape gives your parrot somewhere to go where they are not visible from the entrance. Other aspects of a nesting box include the inspection door and a peephole. Entrances should be narrow so that your parrot can squeeze in. Anything too wide will not be as comforting to them.
Having said all that, nesting box requirements differ from species to species. If you are planning on breeding your parrots, check with the proper species requirements or ask an expert.
Why shouldn’t you let your parrot nest at home?
Unless you are planning on breeding your parrot, allowing them to nest isn’t a good idea. Why? Because nesting instincts come along with hormones. And if you have ever met a hormonal parrot, well, let’s just say they aren’t very pleasant. Hormonal parrots are like hormonal teenagers – except on top of being moody, they may also become aggressive and noisy, and may start to bite.
In the wild, parrots only nest when the conditions are right. Most parrots, for example, will only start nesting when the weather is starting to get warmer and the food supply is at its best. This means that breeding season and nesting only occur a few weeks out of every year. It also means that once those weeks are over, the hormones die down and the parrot’s behavior will return to normal.
In captivity, however, the conditions are always right for nesting. Think about it, you provide them with ample food and a warm place to live year round. This means that nesting can take place at any time – and so can those crazy hormones. If you want to avoid the hormones and behaviors that come along with nesting, you need to prevent your parrot from doing it.
How do you do that? Don’t let them sneak into any dark, cozy spots. If your parrot is hiding out in your closet or cupboard, they’re probably nesting. If they are hiding behind your curtains, they are nesting. Find them in a box? Yep. They’re nesting – and soon you’re going to start to see their behaviors change. To avoid the hormones, keep your parrots out of dark places where they can do this – unless you are trying to breed.
What should I do if I see a parrot that has fallen out of a nest?
While it’s unlikely that you will ever find a baby parrot that has fallen out of it’s nest, if you do happen to stumble upon one, it’s best to just leave it alone. Though it may be tempting to rush to a baby parrot’s aide, you could end up doing more harm than good. In some cases it may just be that the baby has wandered from the nest in the days before they are ready to take off on their own. This is probably the case if the parrot’s feathers are opened and covering the body.
If the feathers are not opened and the body is not covered, the parrot is probably very young. In this case, you can try to put the bird back in it’s nest (if it is low enough). If the nest is too high, you can make your own nest and place the bird in there.
If you find a baby parrot on its own, never wait around to see if the parents return. If you are near the nest, they will not return to their babies. Secondly, never provide the bird with food or water. Parrot babies do not drink water – they get all they need from the food that they eat. With that being said, they have a very adapted diet. Any attempt to feed them food not provided by their parents could end up causing them harm.
The best thing to do if you have found a baby parrot out of its nest is leave it be. The more you interfere, the less the chance of survival.
Where is the strangest place parrots nest?
In termite mounds! And while this may seem strange, it’s really not that uncommon. Grey Cheeked Parakeets, the Orange Fronted Conure, and the Green Rumped Parrotlet have all been known to make nests in mounds that are located in trees. In most cases, termites are still present while the parrots nest.
In conclusion, parrots do nest. Some parrots build their own nests, but most parrots nest in holes and cavities that have already been created for them. If you are planning on breeding, invest in a nesting box where your parrot can go to feel safe. If you are not planning on breeding, don’t allow your parrot to nest. If you do, their hormones will go wild and you will have a moody parrot on your hands!