Our little winged friends astound us in more ways than one. Their stunning colors and feathers offer a beautiful sight for anyone lucky enough to catch more than a glimpse at them.
The way they hop from branch to branch and their ability to fly are other remarkable attributes that make them so different from any other creature we encounter on earth.
Perhaps one of the most surprising reasons we find birds so fascinating, is that it is rare to enjoy them in their natural environment. We spot them from far away and want nothing more than to get a closer look.
But as we slowly approach these gorgeous little creatures, they fly away as quickly as possible.
So what causes this sudden flight at the sight of humans? Understanding why birds act this way pertains to behavior patterns set deep within their genetic coding and habits learned from birth.
Are birds scared of humans?
Yes… and no. Most birds are afraid of humans, and rightfully so. For thousands of years, birds viewed humans as nothing more than predators, which meant fearing them acted as one of the best ways to ensure the bird’s survival.
More recently, hunting birds has decreased, and many homeowners welcome the sight of seeing lovely little songbirds in their windowsills. I highly recommend you check how to welcome birds to your garden without risking your vegetable.
In turn, some birds have slowly developed a tolerance for interacting with humans without the threat of violence. These birds may come relatively close to humans before flittering off.
While it isn’t a complete turn-around, it does illustrate a distinct shift in the way birds perceive humans. Beyond an inherent feeling of survival, being scared is a learned behavior.
Birds who interact with humans regularly, such as domesticated animals or rescued and rehabilitated species, often build a trust with their handlers that makes them less frightened around other humans.
Do birds watch humans?
Birds watch humans almost more than we watch them. It’s a normal habit associated with self-preservation. By paying attention to what potential predators are doing, they can assess whether that animal is a threat to them and their flock.
In nature, predators tend to look directly at their prey before they strike. Making eye contact or looking anywhere in the bird’s direction, then becomes a signal of danger.
Birds use these signals as indicators for when to fly away and when it’s perfectly fine for them to stick around.
Why do birds fly away from humans?
Birds see us as predators, which automatically signals to them a clear and present threat. It would be similar to how many of us would feel standing before a tiger without those extra inches of glass standing between us.
Since they are genetically predisposed to be afraid of humans, their best defense is to fly away from us as quickly as possible.
What are birds afraid of?
What birds fear revolves around their instincts to protect themselves from predators. It’s the reason why scarecrows in the shape of humans, owls, and other birds of prey so commonly exist in traditional farming.
In fact, anything that mimics the qualities of these dangerous hunters keeps birds at bay.
Even introducing new and unusual items to a bird’s surroundings generates anxiety since this prevents them from adequately accessing a plan of escape.
Homeowners often use shiny objects to keep birds out of their fruit and vegetable gardens. These could be anything from old CDs to mirrors to pinwheels with reflective pieces on them.
The flashes of light confuse the birds and leave them feeling a little disoriented, which is not an ideal state of being when it comes to remaining alert.
Noises also leave birds with this same sense of confusion and irritation. These sounds don’t even have to be loud for them to scare the birds off.
There are ultrasonic devices gardeners use to produce sounds only animals can hear.
Not only do they keep birds away, but they also deter other pesky creatures like deer and raccoons.
What colors are birds afraid of?
Of all colors for birds to be afraid of, the one you’d be least likely to suspect is white. But as it turns out, white is the color birds fear the most.
The main reason birds automatically panic about this color is because they associate it with warning signals. Birds use white feathers as a form of communication with other birds, heralding the approach of danger or some other imminent threat.
Much like we use symbols and colors to represent warnings in our societies, birds rely on these representations of caution to keep them safe.
It is important to choose the right colors when buying a birdbath. See What Color Should A Birdbath Be?
Do birds poop when scared?
Yes, they do, and they’re not the only ones. Fear poops are natural responses creatures from every kind of species seem to share.
There are numerous reasons offered up as an explanation for why this might be the case. In general, it is viewed as a deterrent for predators. If the smell isn’t enough to turn the creature away, the thought of eating tainted meat might do the trick.
Alternatively, some believe that emptying the bowels allows the animal better chances of recovery after injury since it removes as much bacteria from within the body as possible.
It’s also possible that birds do this to make them more efficient fliers. Pooping right before taking flight lightens the load, so to speak, allowing the bird a faster retreat.
Why does your bird suddenly get scared of you?
When it comes to pet birds, many things make an otherwise calm bird grow suddenly scared. Introducing anything new to their habitat is the most common issue and may require the bird to get used to this item before they relax again.
If they show fear toward you, the bird may feel overwhelmed due to recent interactions. Some pet owners want to shower their animals with attention, even if the birds themselves feel differently.
Being overly aggressive or demanding with them makes them uneasy. So giving them their space is a great way to earn back their trust and offer them the time they need to themselves.
Learn more about Do Parakeets Like To Be Held And Cuddled?
Can a bird die from being scared?
Animals don’t die from fear itself, though they may die from complications caused by fear. Fright triggers several different biological functions in the body, including a release of endorphins designed to protect the animal.
These endorphins act as a signal to the rest of the body, inciting the animal to “fight or flight” to survive their current situation.
What these chemicals also do, however, is increase heart rate and pump the brain with a shot of sometimes-dangerous components that frailer animals might not handle well, resulting in heart attacks.
Even healthier animals experience wear and tear to their body when exposed to these stressors over long periods.
Other external problems may occur due to this fear, such as birds flying into windows or other objects that create irreparable damage.
Domesticated birds may startle in their cages, especially when disrupted at night, and hurt themselves by slamming against the bars.
How can you tell if a bird is scared?
Birds who are scared become more vocal, screeching and squawking as loudly as possible to let anyone in the vicinity know something’s wrong. This response is inherent in their need to warn other members in their flock of danger but also alerts their owners when kept in captivity.
Along with vocalizing, birds display other signs of aggression, such as biting, hissing, or tossing things around their area.
Other tactics birds employ is to make themselves look bigger. Showy birds like cockatiels and peacocks do this by using their crests or large tails, respectively, to appear much larger and therefore more threatening in size.
Smaller birds may climb up onto a higher perch or a rock to produce the same effect. This not only gives them the advantage of height but a better vantage point of the threat.
How do you calm a scared bird?
The first step for calming down a bird is to identify the source of the problem. If there is an imminent threat to the animal, handle this first before the bird gets hurt. While this is much easier to handle when it comes to pet birds, there are instances where species in nature may also require a little assistance.
For instance, if the bird is trapped in something, you won’t be able to get anywhere near it until it relaxes enough to let you get close.
As with all animals, the easiest way to calm them down is by talking to them in a soothing, monotone voice. Use slow, easy movements to approach so that the bird does not mistake you for a threat.
Pet birds require the same approach. A little patience and understanding go a long way to reducing any stress, especially if there is something causing them anxiety regularly. Even if you don’t see something as a threat, your pet might.
Anything new can be particularly frightening for birds, so introduce items to their cage slowly, monitoring their behavior as you do so.
You may also need to give them some time outside of their cage. This added stimulation is a fantastic stress-release for birds and allows them time for exercise that they desperately need.
Since fear is a natural response developed to keep us safe, it makes sense birds equate everything scary to predators and their chances for survival.
Reducing these stressors for pet birds is essential to maintaining a strong and healthy lifestyle. These ideas also make incredible, environmentally-safe options for keeping pesky birds out of your veggie gardens.