Want to learn about the many tricks to teach birds? You’ve come to the right place.
After all, pet birds are a joy to watch and study. Like other animals, they have their own habits and behaviors that can be fascinating to observe.
You may not know this, but many birds use tools! This is called tool use in the animal world, and it’s scarce among animals, including those that we often choose to raise as pets.
Birds are a lot like humans in their intelligence and ability to learn new things. Like humans, they need food, shelter, and company to be happy.
But did you know that birds also learn new tricks – and that teaching birds tricks is a great way to improve their quality of life?
In this post, we will share some of the best ways to teach your bird some fun new skills!
Which Birds Can Be Taught Tricks?
Teaching your bird tricks is something that most bird owners get a great deal of pleasure from! However, it’s important to recognize that not all birds have the capacity to learn tricks equally well.
For others, learning tricks is a great and meaningful way to provide social interaction and help them use their beak, claws, and brains. It can also help tame your bird and make it easier to handle.
So which you can teach birds tricks? Most of them, but the extent of the tricks might vary between species.
Some of the best and most easily trained pet bird species include:
- Mynah Birds
- African Grey Parrots
- Amazon Parrots
- Budgies Parakeets
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t give it a try if your pet bird isn’t on this list! Just about any pet bird has the capacity to learn, so give it a go!
15 Tricks to Teach Birds
Ready to bring your pet ownership to the next level? Consider teaching your pet bird a few of these tricks.
1. Step Up
If you’re thinking about teaching your birds some new tricks, the step-up trick is perhaps one of the first ones you should consider.
It is a fundamental trick that is easy for you to teach and equally easy for your birds to master.
In fact, this trick is the cornerstone for many other tricks you might teach your birds to learn more advanced techniques. Your bird will have to master this trick first.
Step-up can also be a useful trick for helping you bring your bird to the vet or clean the cage. I
t’s an important command that you should teach to your bird as soon as you can!
Fetch is another fun trick you can teach your pet bird. Not only is it a cool party trick, but it’s also a great way to encourage bonding.
When done correctly, this trick will teach your bird how to pick up an object, bring it to you, and drop it in your hand.
It’s best done with larger birds like parrots, but many other kinds of birds have the capacity to learn this trick.
To do it, select an object that is a suitable size for your parrot’s beak, like a button. A brightly-colored object is best.
Hold it to your bird, waiting until he takes it, before you say the word, “fetch.” Give him some time to play with it, then when he drops it, say the word “drop” and reward him with a treat.
Then let him pick it up on his own, repeating the commands.
3. Potty Training
Wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t have to spend all of that time cleaning your bird’s cage each day? Believe it or not, some birds can actually be potty trained.
You can train your bird to use the bathroom on command in a spot that you designate – but be aware that it will take some time.
4. Wave Hello
After your bird has mastered more basic commands like step-up, you can teach him how to wave hello.
This is a quick, easy trick to teach that’s sure to impress your friends and family when they come by to visit.
Just make sure you have lots of treats nearby to reward your bird when he masters this fun trick – it won’t take long for him to see some success!
5. Take a Bow
This is a trick you might want to save until you’ve taught your pet bird some other tricks – and you want him to be able to take a bow after being praised for all of his hard work!
Teaching your bird how to bow after putting on a show is not only fun, but it’s pretty easy. To do it, hold a treat at eye level.
Move the treat toward the ground until your bird follows it with a bow. Then reward with another treat and recite the chosen command. Eventually, you won’t even need the treat anymore.
6. Shoulder Sitting
There’s nothing more adorable than letting your pet bird rest on your shoulder! Plus, it will make you look like a pirate – you can’t beat that.
To teach your bird how to do this, put your bird gently on your shoulder, repeat the chosen command (like “sit”), and reward him with a treat.
You can then start moving with your bird on your shoulder. Over time, your bird might feel secure enough in this position to allow you to move from room to room!
7. Learning How to Talk
It might seem as though learning how to talk is an extremely advanced trick that very few birds can actually master, but their laity is that all kinds of bird species can be taught how to talk.
This is one of the most beloved tricks for parrots, and there are a variety of techniques and methods you can use to teach your bird how to do so.
Repetition and patience are two factors that will come into play.
However, keep in mind your bird species if you want to teach him how to talk. Not all species have the innate ability to mimic words, so your efforts might be a losing battle if that’s the case.
Otherwise, go into training with a hopeful, positive attitude. With enough dedication and practice, you might have a little chatterbox on your hands before you know it! Some birds can even be taught how to sing or talk on the phone. How cool is that?
We aren’t making this one up – you can actually teach your parrot how to dance!
This one is actually pretty easy as long as your bird wants to cooperate. Put on some dance music and start to dance yourself. Your bird will likely start to watch you and may eventually join in by stepping from foot to foot on the epoch or joining in.
You can teach your bird how to talk as well as how to whistle. You should save the whistling for after the talking since too much whistling might deter your bird from wanting to learn how to talk.
However, it’s an easy trick to teach – all you need to do is whistle a bit yourself, and your bird should mimic you!
10. Head Bob or Dip
Head bobbing and dipping are two other tricks you can teach to your birds. If you have parrots and want to teach them how to dance, this is actually an easy trick to start with.
The easiest way to train your bird how to do this fun trick is through mimicking behavior.
When you have the full attention of your bird, bob your head, then offer praise or a treat when your bird follows suit.
11. Tongue Clicking
Tongue clicking is an easy trick that actually exists as a natural form of bird communication (especially around parrots).
Tongue clicking tends to be a positive behavior that sends the message of, “Hey! I like you!” you can teach your bird how to click its tongue on command simply by clicking your own tongue – it will mimic you.
12. Play Dead
You can also teach a bird how to play dead! This is best done with intelligent birds, like parrots, but as long as your bird knows how to step from one perch to another, you can teach it how to bow.
Start by offering your finger as a perch. When your bird tries to step up, move your finger away. Your bird should fall on its back.
This sounds mean, but it will make your bird look as though he is dead. Over time, he will learn how to do it independently with the addition of a simple command.
13. Ride a Skateboard
This is a more advanced trick that they can complete only by the most talented and intelligent of all pet birds. If you’re able to pull it off – or should we say, if your bird can pull it off – though, you’re going to be able to impress your friends and family seriously!
It’s a variation of the step-up trick, so once your bird has mastered that, you need to get your bird comfortable with the idea of standing on a skateboard while it’s being pushed. Easy!
14. Climb a Ladder
Teaching your bird how to climb a ladder is easy. Of course, to do this, your bird will first need to know how to do the step-up trick.
Then, they can climb a bird-sized ladder that snaps onto the side of the cage. Reward them once they reach the top!
15. DIY Clicker Training
If the tricks above don’t do it for you, then don’t worry. If you have a clicker, you can teach a bird just about anything your heart might desire (within your bird’s natural limitations, of course).
Clicker conditioning will allow your bird to learn by building upon the core concepts of classical conditioning.
Tips for Tricks To Teach Birds
Training pet birds is a ton of fun – both for you and for your birds! However, there are a few tips to keep in mind if you want the experience to be both enjoyable and productive.
For one, start with brief sessions. Limit things to just two to three 10 minute sessions per day.
Frequency is key here since these brief sessions will help keep your bird’s attention without causing him to forget what was previously learned.
If you’re trying to teach a trick involving props, leave them near your bird for a few days. You might consider playing with the items yourself in front of your bird to make him more interested.
When you work on tricks together, do so in a quiet place that is free from distractions. You may want to incorporate a special treat or reward you only offer when working on training sessions.
Food rewards are good options but choose those that they can consume in just a few seconds so your bird does not get distractions.
Try to train at the same time every day and keep things positive and loaded with praise.
Watch your bird for signs of aggression, fear, frustration, hunger, and sleepiness – if you see these, it might be time to take a break.
Birds are intelligent and social creatures that need stimulation to be happy. With a few tricks, you can provide your bird with the mental exercise they crave while also having fun together as a family.
Whether it’s teaching them how to play fetch or letting them perch on your shoulder for pictures, these simple games will help enrich your relationship with your feathered friend!