While I was enjoying my morning coffee this morning I looked out my window and noticed it was a gray, rainy day.
Most people don’t like rainy days, but I enjoy them.
There’s something cozy about being inside your warm, dry house while the rain falls outside.
I like to wrap up in a warm blanket and read a book, or catch up on some television.
As I watched the rain come down and puddles start to form I found myself wondering what wild parrots do when it rains.
Do they seek shelter? Do they enjoy the rain?
Would my parrot like it if I sat their cage outside for a bit in a light drizzle?
If you live in a warm climate then, yes, your parrot might enjoy splashing in the rain. Wild parrots tend to live in rainy, forested areas and are used to fairly constant light rain. In the wild the start of the rainy season often signifies the beginning of breeding season and abundant food and water supplies.
Today we’re going to look at what parrots do in the rain, whether they can fly in the rain, what they do to find shelter during heavy rains, whether parrots can sense bad weather as it moves in, and whether your parrot would like it if you put his cage outside for a bit in a light rain.
What do parrots do in the rain?
Wild parrots often use light rain as a means of cleaning their feathers.
They seem to like the sound and feel of the rain, and will often spread out their wings and shake around like they’re playing in it.
Bathing is very important for parrots, and the rain helps to rinse away any dirt that has accumulated on their feathers.
Dirt can cause irritated skin which can lead to over grooming, feather picking, and itchiness.
The rain also provides lots of fresh drinking water to wild parrots, and keeps the plant life they eat lush and healthy.
This abundance of food and water leads to the beginning of mating season because adult parrots know that there will be enough nutrients available to support their offspring.
How can I bathe my parrot at home?
Wild parrots live in areas where there are regular light showers, providing them ample opportunities for baths.
The climate you live in most likely doesn’t provide enough warm, light rain to allow your parrot the same luxury.
Now that you know how important it is for parrots to bathe you might be wondering how you can bathe your parrot at home.
The easiest way to to use a spray bottle to finely mist your parrot.
Make sure the water isn’t too warm or too cold, aim for room temp or a little warmer.
If your parrot enjoys it you’ll notice they’ll spread out their wings and shake around just like a wild parrot would.
If your parrot doesn’t like the spray bottle method you can try turning on the kitchen faucet and setting your parrot on or in the sink.
They may feel more comfortable when they can control how they’re interacting with the water.
Just like with the spray bottle you want to make sure that the water is warm, but not too hot.
No matter how you decide to bathe your parrot, make sure they are able to stay warm until they’re dry.
If it’s chilly in your home you can provide them with a bird lamp to sit under.
You could also consider taking them in the bathroom with you when you shower as opposed to getting them wet.
The steam from your shower may be enough to moisturize their skin and help them dislodge dirt from their feathers.
Make sure not to bathe your parrot at night.
Parrots who go to sleep wet can get cold, leading to illnesses like respiratory infections.
Are a parrot’s feathers waterproof?
While a parrot’s feathers aren’t waterproof, they are water resistant.
This means that they won’t repel water completely, but they’ll be able to help the parrot stay mostly dry.
Parrots achieve this level of water resistance through preening.
When a parrot preens they’re spreading oils from a gland near the base of their tail all over their feathers.
This oil not only makes it easier for the parrot to remove dirt from their feathers, it also provides some measure of water resistance and helps to keep them from getting cold and waterlogged when it rains.
Can parrots fly in the rain?
Parrots can fly in the rain but they won’t go far or fly for long.
Parrots use air density to fly by pushing down on the air with their wings.
When it’s raining the air is less dense, making it difficult for parrots to take off and maintain height.
Heavy rains also often bring wind and turbulence which can push against a parrot in flight, making it difficult for them to fly.
Parrots will often choose to perch and conserve their energy rather than try to fly in the rain.
What do parrots do for shelter during heavy rain?
Most parrot species dwell in the rainforest, so frequent misting is pretty standard for them, but during a more severe storm they’re likely to try to find some shelter.
They likely don’t have to worry about freezing, since they live in warm climates.
Some species of parrot nest in hollow spaces in trees so you’ll find them there when there’s a heavy rain.
They’re able to hunker down and keep warm and dry in their homes.
Other parrots live in the canopy and are less likely to be able to find a dry spot to weather the storm.
Parrots who are unable to get completely out of the rain will perch on a sheltered branch, flatten out their feathers so the rain runs off of them, and sit upright with their beaks pointed into the rain.
This posture allows them to conserve energy and remain as dry as possible.
The rainwater runs off of their top feathers, leaving the downy feathers underneath dry and warm.
Since parrots will eat both plants and insects it’s fairly easy for them to find food during prolonged periods of rain.
Insects will shelter from the rain in their nests but the parrot will still be able to forage for fruits and other plants to eat.
Can parrots sense impending storms?
While scientists aren’t sure that parrots and other birds can sense impending storms it is widely suspected that they can use subtle changes in the atmosphere when a storm is rolling in.
Parrots are able to sense changes in air pressure, partly because the changes in the density of the air make it more difficult for them to fly.
They’re also sensitive to temperature changes and will notice the dip in temperature that comes before a storm.
While there’s no way to know for certain if a parrot can predict the weather, it is certainly a possibility.
Would my parrot like it if I put their cage outside when it rains?
If you live in a warmer climate it’s likely that your parrot might enjoy it if you let them enjoy a light rain.
The next time you have a warm, light rain come in try putting their cage outside, or in your outdoor enclosure if you have one, and see how they react.
Make sure you stay to observe them, so you can bring them in if they look afraid or startled.
When letting your parrot enjoy a nice outdoor shower be sure that you have taken steps to ensure their safety.
Do not take your parrot outside if it’s chilly, or if the rain is cold.
Since parrots are birds that typically live in warm climates it’s easy for them to get hypothermia which could cause death if they are left out in the cold for prolonged periods of time.
If you’re leaving your parrot outside unattended make sure that the enclosure is secure.
Parrots can be very good at getting out of their cages and you don’t want yours to wander away.
You also want to make sure that they have some sort of sheltered area where they can get out of the rain if they choose to.
If you notice your parrot avoiding the rain and spending more time under their shelter it may be time to bring them inside.
Being tropical birds, most parrots will enjoy the chance to bathe in a warm, light rain.
If your parrot enjoys it when you bathe them, try putting them in a secure outdoor enclosure the next time a little rain comes through.
You’ll be giving them the opportunity to play in the water and bathe their feathers.
Just make sure they don’t get chilly!