Do Parrots Like Shiny Things?

This morning I saw a magpie and thought about how they are ‘known’ for stealing jewelry and shiny objects.

I wondered, if magpies like shiny things, do parrots like shiny things also?

Keep reading to learn the answer to this commonly asked question.

In answer to the question, parrots don’t actually care for shiny things. In the wild, parrots might have confused shiny objects for clean, fresh water. It is also known that in the wild that parrots might decorate their nests with shiny things they find. But mostly, in captivity parrots are a little bit frightened of shiny objects. 

Let’s explore why parrots don’t actually like shiny things and bust some myths!

Why are parrots attracted to shiny things in the wild?

It is thought that parrots like shiny things as the reflection could look like water to them.

It is a natural instinct for animals to be constantly seeking fresh water.

The reflection of the sun on some litter (inside of a crisp packet), could look like a small bit of water.

Researchers also say that birds will take shiny things such as litter and add it as some decoration for their nest to attract a mate.

It is usually the male that would do this, people think it is, again, down to the shine looking like fresh water which will entice the female.

Do birds steal shiny things?

Many people believe that birds go out of their way to steal objects from humans.

This is not the case.

Parrots and other birds are scared of humans and wouldn’t go near someone unless they felt comfortable.

It is a myth that birds like to steal earrings, rings and small shiny trinkets.

The University of Exeter conducted a study in which they put shiny objects in amongst one pile and matte objects in another.

They put some food in the middle of the piles.

It was noticed that the birds didn’t feed so much when they were near to the shiny things and acted very wary.

However, when they were near the matte pile, they didn’t seem bothered at all and ate up all the food!

There isn’t much evidence to support parrots and other birds stealing shiny things because they want them.

They might just be stealing shiny objects accidentally, they might get mixed up with twigs and leaves.

Do parrots like their own reflection?

Researchers think that parrots are actually scared of their own reflection.

It is thought that when a parrot sees itself in a mirror, it doesn’t actually understand that it is looking at itself!

It is recommended that you don’t put a mirror in a cage as your pet might try to talk to the mirror and become obsessed with it.

This is not fair on the parrot and could cause behavioral problems in the future.

That being said, if you have lots of birds a mirror could be a fun toy.

Parrots in large groups won’t see the mirror as a friend because they already have lots of friends with them!

Do parrots like shiny jewelry?

Lots of parrot owners report that their parrots sit on their shoulder and pull their earrings out and nibble on them.

There isn’t that much research to support that parrots steal jewelry because they like shiny things.

They might try to steal jewelry because it’s small and might look like food.

It’s a good idea to not let your parrot chew on your jewelry because of toxins in the metal and they might swallow small objects.

Before your parrot sits on your shoulder it might be a good idea to take all your jewelry off.


Do people try to scare birds off with shiny objects?

Many people hang old CD’s, aluminum foil and other shiny objects in their garden to stop birds from coming in and eating crops.

People hang these items or put them across their roof.

On particularly sunny days the reflection of the sun is so bright, it startles the birds and they don’t enter the garden.

If you have a parrot in your home, it is a good idea to keep shiny or reflective objects away from direct sunlight in the room your parrots cage is in.

For example, if you have a mirror opposite a window, it is a really sunny day and your parrots cage is near the mirror, the sun reflecting on the mirror could really scare your parrot and make them behave in an aggressive way.


What else are parrots scared of?

So if birds are scared of shiny objects, what else are they scared of?

In the wild, parrots would be scared of any predators.

I think it is kind of a given. Parrot’s main predators in the wild are snakes, big cats and large birds of prey.

Parrots are also wary of sunglasses and glasses on people.

Glasses can change the appearance of people.

Your parrot might not recognize you if you take your glasses off or put them on for the first time!

Your pet might want to take a closer look!

Your parrot can see colors just like how we can and also all the colors on the UV spectrum.

If someone wears a bright colored shirt, they might scream and act scared.

It is said parrots are particularly frightened of the color red.

This might be because it signifies danger.

Parrots can become frightened when things change.

For example, adding new toys to his or her cage, moving house or meeting a new person.

You can introduce these things slowly to show your parrot these aren’t things to be afraid of.

As a lover of shiny jewelry, I can’t understand why parrots don’t like shiny things.

It is interesting, however, that humans have come up with a myth that birds like to steal shiny objects from us.

Throughout this article, we have learned that your jewelry is safe from your parrot, (unless it’s a tiny earring that might get pulled out) parrots are scared of their own reflection and humans made the whole thing up about birds being thieves!

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