How to Train a Pet Bird to Come to You (Owner’s Guide)

One of the best parts of having a pet is getting to spend time with it. But if you can’t get your pet to come to you, that will be hard, if not frustrating. Before you get too stressed about your pet, consider learning a few ways to call for your pet bird.

To train a pet bird to come to you, it’s important to take things slowly and to give the bird space. Take it out of the cage and give it a comfortable place to rest. Have some treats on hand to encourage the bird to come. Keep practicing with the bird each day until it comes independently.

Whether you just got your first bird or have had birds before, they can be very social. But it can take a while to train your pet bird to come to you. Keep reading to learn some tips and tricks to use when training your next pet bird.

Prep Your Home

First, you should make sure your home is safe and comfortable for your bird. You should clean any surfaces where your bird may land and rest. Ensure that the surfaces aren’t sticky or have tons of dirt or dust.

You can also get play stands to put in each room for your bird. That way, they’ll have a safe place to rest when you want to take your bird into different rooms. If they don’t want to sit on your shoulder or arm, they should have another option.

You should also make sure everyone in your family knows how to interact with birds. Make sure your kids know not to be super loud or fast with their movements. If someone interrupts your training, it will be harder to do.

Wear the Right Clothes

Whenever you want to train your bird, you should wear the right clothes. Wear soft fabrics and avoid knits and other materials that could get caught on your bird’s talons. That way, your bird won’t get stressed when they land on you and try to fly away.

Look for a piece of solid cotton fabric, and make sure your clothes are clean. If you have long hair, consider pulling it back into a ponytail so that your bird doesn’t get caught in your hair.

You may also want to remove any bracelets, rings, and other jewelry that could get in the way. Give your bird a safe place to rest on your arm or shoulder. Wearing the right clothes is an easy way to prepare for your training session.

Go Slowly

As you approach your bird, do so slowly. Try not to startle your bird or make them fly in the opposite direction. Fast movements can scare your bird, so you should be careful and slow.

Don’t run toward your bird, but keep your gait at a consistent speed. You should give your bird plenty of space and time to react to you and be calm.

When you speak to your bird, use a quiet, low voice. That will also help keep you from scaring your bird, so you can get closer and start to work with your pet. Then, you can start to form a bond that will make your bird want to come to you.

Be Quiet

Try not to make loud noises as you walk toward or near your bird. Avoid wearing loud heels or boots, and consider going barefoot if you can. You should also turn off your phone or put it on silent to keep it from ringing and startling your pet.

If you have other pets, make sure they aren’t in the room to make loud noises. You can keep your other pets in a separate room or outside while you train your new bird. And if you have other birds, you may want to move them to a different room to give your new pet more attention.

While you may not be able to avoid things like a squeaky floor, be quiet when you can. That way, you can give your bird a comfortable environment for your training.

Open the Cage

Once you get to your bird’s cage, open the door, and allow your bird to fly free. You may want to close the door to the room so that your bird can’t fly throughout the house. But giving your bird the room should be enough space to train them.

You can also open the cage and take your bird to a separate room. Make sure you have a safe spot for them to sit, but going to another room can be a bit uncomfortable for the bird. The good news here is that you can be your bird’s safe space.

If your bird doesn’t recognize the room, but they know you, they may feel more comfortable near you. That can make it easier for you to train the bird to come to you. Then, you can move the training back to the room with the cage, and you can feel just as safe to your bird.

Use Treats

Most pets love a good treat, so you can use that to your advantage when training your bird. Before you start training, put some bird food or treats in a baggie and put it in your pocket or near you. You can use the treats to entice your bird to fly to you.

When you start, consider having a few different treats on hand. Your bird may not like one treat as much as another, so you may need to experiment to find what works.

If you know what your bird’s favorite treat is, you can start with that. But having a few treats can keep things interesting. Then, when your bird may not be as interested in one treat, you can switch to another.

Share a Safe Snack

Perhaps you get a little hungry during your bird training sessions. Well, sharing a snack with your bird can be another way to train your bird to come to you. You can have a small piece of fruit or a vegetable, and you can give a bite to your bird when they come over.

Make sure any snack you use doesn’t contain sugar or salt and that it’s safe for your bird. If you aren’t sure if something is safe, don’t use it. You can also ask your vet about what foods are safe for birds, and you can use those in future training sessions.

Birds love to bond with other birds over food. So it can be an easy option if nothing else seems to work with your new pet.

Try Grooming

Just like dogs and cats, birds love when you pet them. You can approach your bird in their cage or on another surface with the intent to pet the bird. Make sure you follow the same steps as before, being quiet and slow as you walk up.

You should also pet your bird slowly and start with small motions. Watch your bird to see how they react and adjust accordingly. If your bird starts to look stressed or attempts to bite you, stop the petting.

You want to make your bird feel good so that they can trust you and come to you. It may take a few small petting sessions per day, but petting may help your bird feel safe around you. Then, they can feel better about flying toward you later.

Play With Your Bird

You can also play with your bird. This won’t necessarily make them want to come to you, but it can help you bond with your pet and build some trust. If you haven’t already, get some bird toys from a local pet store, and try various toys to find one your bird likes.

You can also sing or talk to your bird. The bird can stay in the cage, and you can stand or sit by them. You can talk about random subjects to your bird, such as your day. Talking can be a good option but remember not to yell.

If you like singing, you can also sing to your bird. Some birds like to dance to music, which can be an excellent tool for bonding with your pet. Once your bird is comfortable around you, you can even carry them on your shoulder around your house.

Give Your Bird Time

It can be hard not to get frustrated when your bird resists all of your attempts to train them. But some birds need time to open up to you and your home. In those cases, forcing your bird may only make things worse.

Instead, give your bird time to come to you. Let the bird come when they’re ready. You can keep giving them treats or playing with them inside their cage as you build a bond. Eventually, your bird will start to come to you.

Keep Training

Finally, don’t give up on getting your bird to come to you. As you give your bird time and space, they may realize they want to be with you. So while you shouldn’t overdo the training sessions, keep up with them.

Take about 10 minutes a day to work with your bird. As your bird gets more comfortable, you can do more training until they’re able to fly to you.

Why Your Pet Bird May Not Come to You

If you feel like your training efforts aren’t making any progress, something more may be at play. You should consider a few potential reasons why your bird may not come to you. Some reasons have to do with your training, but others you may have no control over.

Consider a few causes of a hesitant pet bird.

Their Past

If you got your pet bird from a shelter or rescue, you probably wouldn’t know the bird’s history. In some cases, the bird had a bad experience with a prior owner. So the bird may not want to trust humans.

Your bird may also be hesitant if they haven’t had much exposure to humans at all. If the bird was living in a home and neglected, they may not know how to react to you. It can take time to forget about those painful memories.

Your Past

As you go through more bird training sessions, consider how you conduct yourself. If you’ve been loud or fast or have worn dirty clothes, your bird may not want to come to you specifically. You may have accidentally scared your bird, and it can be hard to change that.

Your bird may also not want to come to you if you’ve given them bad food. If the treats you’ve used were ones your bird didn’t really like, using the same treats won’t make them want to come to you. You may need to give your bird time as you change your training methods.

Other Pets

You can’t always control what your pets do, including other animals. If you let your dog or cat in the room when you train your bird, your other pet could startle the bird. Consider if your other pets are around your bird and how your pets act.

You may want to shut the door or put your dog or cat in a kennel in the future. That way, you can give your bird more space and freedom to fly around.

What to Do When Your Bird Won’t Come to You

Not getting your bird to come to you can be annoying, especially after multiple tries. But there are a few things you can do when your bird isn’t cooperating with your training efforts. You can still make progress at building a relationship with your bird, even if it’s not the one you want.

And maybe later, your bird will decide to come to you.

Go to Your Bird

If your bird won’t come to you, go to your bird. You don’t have to open the cage door at first, and that can give you and your bird some separation. As you go to your bird, you can sit or stand near the cage, and you can just be there.

That can give you the chance to enjoy your bird without worrying about training. You can be quiet and just look at your bird, or you can talk or sing. Or you can sit on the other side of the room and just be a presence near your bird.

Start Opening the Cage

After you go to your bird a few times, you can open the cage. Then, your bird can have the option to come to you, but they can stay in their safe space as well. You can continue to be quiet, talk, or sing.

Your bird may decide to stay in the cage, but they may want to explore parts of the room. Let your bird do what makes them comfortable. If you don’t want your bird to fly around your whole house, make sure you close the door to the room.

Take a Break

If your bird won’t come to you during a typical training session, take a break. You and your bird may be getting annoyed with the other, and continuing won’t help. Give yourself the rest of the day to relax and try training the next day.

Next time, you can try a different tool to train your bird. If you’ve used treats, you can try toys, or you can try singing to your bird. Rotate between different things until you find something that resonates with your pet.

Make a Routine

You should also try to make training your bird a routine. Schedule training for the same time each day, and follow through with that training. Sit near your bird at the same time, give them the same treat each time, and keep everything else as consistent as you can.

That way, your bird can start to get used to that routine. As the bird learns that you will keep doing those things, they may be more receptive to your training. You can also involve your family in a routine so that everyone can work with your bird.

Schedule time for you, your partner, your kids, and anyone else who will be near the bird. Then, your bird can get to know and trust everyone in the home.

Consider a Vet Visit

Sometimes, your bird may want to come to you, but they won’t feel comfortable. If nothing seems to work, take your bird to the vet. Your vet may be feeling sick, which could explain why treats don’t work.

Or your bird’s wing or leg may hurt or be broken. You can’t always discover those issues as a bird owner, and a vet can do a more thorough exam. Your vet may find that your bird has a serious issue that needs treatment.

Go through whatever steps your vet recommends. Then, once your bird is feeling better, they may come to you without any problems.

Final Thoughts

Birds make great pets, and getting them to fly to you can be one of the best parts. But if your bird doesn’t want to come to you, you may feel sad or defeated. Luckily, knowing how to train your bird to come to you can help you build a bond with your new pet.

Darren Black

I'm Darren Black, the owner, and author of I am from Scotland, United Kingdom and passionate about sharing useful information and tips about properly caring for an animal's wellbeing.

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