Why Is My Parrot Scared Of Me

7 Reasons Your Parrot Is Scared Of You (And How To Fix This)

Parrots are naturally scared of people, especially the ones they are not familiar with. It takes a long time for a parrot to trust someone, but once they do, they form a close bond with that person.

It is normal for a new bird to be skittish initially, but if a previously friendly parrot suddenly seems to be scared of you, it can be a very difficult situation. Not only is it hard to gain back their trust, but you also face difficulties in feeding and caring for your parrot. 

Parrots can be scared of you if you’re too loud, move too quickly, or if you handle them improperly. Parrots also have a common fear of hands, which can manifest if they go through negative experiences. 

Signs Your Parrot Is Scared Of You

These are some of the behaviors your parrot might exhibit if it is scared of you:


An afraid parrot will often refuse to come out of its cage and stay inside to hide from you. They may feel even more threatened if you use your hand to get them out of their cages.

Flapping Its wings

When a parrot flaps its wings and moves to and fro frantically upon seeing you, it means that it is scared. It may even attempt to fly out of its cage, which can potentially hurt the parrot. 

Raising Neck Feathers

A parrot puffing up its feathers can mean a variety of things depending on the situation, but when a parrot raises its neck feathers, it is usually an indication that it is scared. In some cases, it can also be an attempt to appear larger and scare the threat away. Either way, it means that your parrot is alarmed by you and considers you a threat. 

Stares At You

Parrots that are extremely scared may show increased attention to your movements. They may not be able to take their eyes off you and follow you around with their eyes. They will freeze in one position and stare at you. If you go near them, they may exhibit frantic behavior. 

Sudden Aggression

Parrots do not show aggression without reason. When a parrot is being aggressive it means it views you as a threat. This might happen if it’s scared or feels cornered, and it’s trying to protect itself.

Runs Away From You

Parrots run away from people that they do not trust or feel scared of. Parrots are highly perceptive, and when they see you coming close to them, it activates their fear response. Running away can often signal fear or anxiety.

Why Is My Parrot Suddenly Scared Of Me?

Untamed parrots typically have a natural fear of people. However, if your parrot who has usually been close to you, suddenly starts acting aloof or strange, it’s possible that you mistakenly did something to upset them.

But don’t worry; if your parrot has always been close to you, it usually just needs a bit of reacquainting to rebuild trust and affection.

In the case of a generally scared parrot though, there are a few strategies that we will discuss. But before that, you need to find out what changed recently, that your parrot does not trust you anymore.

Scared parrot

Fear Of Hands

It is quite common for parrots to be afraid of hands. And it can occur in both untamed as well as trained parrots. According to the Association of Avian Veterinarians, the fear of hands in parrots is a direct result of hands being used to force birds to participate in training.

Some people use training methods improperly where they use coercion as a means to get the parrot to do what they want. It is more common when trying to stop unwanted actions.

This often involves making the parrot comply by using something they don’t like. These methods can lead to the parrot feeling scared or becoming aggressive. 

When humans face coercion, we usually try to get away from the people forcing us. This can hinder the goal of building a good relationship with our parrots. Many parrot owners might not even realize when they’re using force. 

Even small actions like pushing a parrot to step onto your hand can damage your trust. If your parrot shows signs of discomfort, like trying to escape or acting aggressively, it’s important to notice and stop what you’re doing.

Improper Handling

Handling a bird inappropriately or petting them in the wrong places can make them perceive you as a threat. For a parrot, being restrained by hand resembles the feeling of getting attacked by a predator. 

Grabbing them suddenly, not only causes stress in parrots but you might also hurt them. The correct way to hold a parrot is to let it onto your hand. If you haven’t already, you should start step-up training your parrot. 

You Make Quick Movements 

Parrots feel comfortable around people when they are predictable, meaning they do not make sudden movements. If you make too many quick and jerky movements around your parrot, they can become easily startled. Quick movements or unexpected changes can catch them off guard. 

As prey animals, it is natural for parrots to feel this way. When parrots know what to expect, this sense of predictability makes them feel safe. Also, when they lack a routine, they may become uneasy and stressed. Establishing a stable and consistent routine can help ensure that parrots feel comfortable and less prone to fear or anxiety. 

Negative Experiences

If a parrot has been through negative experiences, whether it is with you or its previous owners, it will generally be less trusting of people and be fearful. These experiences include being constantly neglected, yelling, punishment, and abuse. 

Sometimes, it can also be due to accidents or mistakes, such as you snapping at your parrot or an argument in your household. You don’t mean for it to happen, but your parrot registers it as a bad memory. 

When these things happen, it affects your parrot’s mental health, which not only makes them fearful but also leads to stress. It can promote other bad behaviors like feather plucking and excessive screaming. 

You Lost Their Trust 

You can lose a parrot’s trust rather quickly if your actions or behaviors make them feel threatened in any way. One of the most common ways this happens is when a parrot owner pushes their bird too far or forces them to do something. 

For example, if you’re training your parrot to step up and it is clearly fearful, but you continue to force it to step onto your hand while ignoring its discomfort, you risk losing your parrot’s trust.

Also, any form of mistreatment, such as yelling, aggressive behavior, or neglect, can make you lose their trust and cause stress for your parrot.

You Are Too Loud

Parrots do not like loud noises. They can feel disturbed and stressed if they’re living in a noisy environment. If you talk loudly or yell around your parrot, it can make them fearful. Even if you’re talking on the phone and it’s too loud, your parrot may feel scared. 

Also, if your neighborhood is too noisy, that can also be a source of distress for your parrot. They are more scared of sounds when they do not know where it is coming from. 

When parrots are raised in such surroundings, they can get used to the noise, but it will make them prone to screaming excessively. 

However, sudden noise can make your parrot terrified. It is always best to talk to your parrot in a soft voice and be careful not to scare them in any way. 

How To Get Your Scared Parrot To Trust You?

When a parrot is scared of you, the usual methods of gaining trust just do not work. You cannot offer a treat to a bird who is terrified of your hands and constantly runs away from you. This is why, you need to be patient with your parrot. The parrot may not always respond well when you’re trying to get close to it. 

Macaw looking sideways

Give Your Parrot Enough Space

In order to have success training a scared parrot, it is crucially important to figure out the distance at which it is comfortable interacting with you. You cannot walk up to their cage, so it is best to start from far away. Standing at the door of the room where your parrot’s cage is kept is a good start. 

Approach Slowly 

You need to get close to your parrot without freaking them out. Take small steps and pause in between. You can tell you’re too close to your parrot if they become uneasy. When a parrot feels like you’re too close, it will hunch down to prepare for takeoff. It may also start fidgeting on its perch and have its tail feathers flared. 

The most important thing to remember is not to rush the process. If you see that your parrot is not comfortable with how close you are, slowly take 3 to 4 steps back and start from there. It is not a quick process and will take a considerable amount of time. 

Once you are able to get close enough to your parrot, offer them a treat and slowly move back. This tells your parrot that you are not a threat and also that you care for them. 

Dorson Joseph
Dorson Joseph

I'm Dorson, a bird enthusiast who's had a lifelong fascination for the avian world. I am a parent to my beloved Senegal parrot and budgie, which has deepened my love for avian creatures and taught me a lot over the years. I co-run a bird store and care center with my friends, where we work with experienced professionals to care for our flock. Now, I find great joy in sharing my knowledge with others, hoping to assist fellow bird keepers and enthusiasts in understanding birds and helping them live happy lives.

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