How Caged Bird Keepers Get The Lighting Thing Wrong

3 budgies on tree branch with bright sunlight behind
Read in 6 minutes

The quality of light has little use for a captive bird.


It’s the light cycle that means everything.


Is lighting necessary to house parrots properly?


Are there any specific requirements with the lighting?


To be clear, the light coming into your home through it’s windows has little or no value to the bird in your cage.


Editor’s note: Home window glass strips all UVA/UVB from said sunlight


Recently, a regular customer of ours visiting the Birdie Boutique came in seeking solutions for her Congo African grey that a recently started plucking.


She had come in seeking vitamins or any other nutritional supplements that we could suggest to help shut down her birds feather self destruction.


When I hear this one of my first questions is, “how can we determine if there were any plucking triggers provided to the bird recently?”


She thought about it for a minute and related to me that the Congo grey lives with her mother and sister.


Editor’s note: There are two flavors of African grey, Congo and timneh. Timnehs can be 100 or more grams lighter than Congo’s coming in about the size of the largest of (Patagonian) conures


The sister thought that the bird would be more entertained by putting it in front of the big picture window rather than having the cage sit in the corner of the living room.


The 17-year-old bird who had been with the woman from post weaning days begun to pluck when the birdcage was moved in front of the large picture window.


I explained that birds don’t know the meaning of glass and although activities outside of the home can be entertaining to a bird there are many raptors like Peregrine falcons who populate the skies of Chicago especially in Hyde Park where she lived.


mitch tommy falcon 2014 How Caged Bird Keepers Get The Lighting Thing Wrong


Hyde Park is also noted to have a huge Quaker parrot or monk parakeet population.


I advocated that the bird be moved back to the boring corner of the living room where it originally resided and full spectrum lighting be introduced.


This blog post will hopefully help you understand why I made that suggestion.


As a side note I suggested adding Prime powdered supplement to the birds diet because it was known to have a vitamin A deficiency.


We also talked about introducing Lafebers Avi Cakes so the powdered supplement can be sprinkled upon this very nutritious treat that is held together by molasses making it the perfect medium to introduce powdered supplement in that it is very sticky.



Full spectrum lighting will also help birds feather colors appear brighter.


Some birds feathers can actually reflect UV light (budgies for one) used for choosing a mate.


To understand the effects of lighting and birds you have to understand the anatomy of a bird.


All birds have a small gland called the pineal gland behind the right eye.


He's handled a 1000 birds of numerous species when they would visit their monthly birdie brunch in the old Portage Park (Chicago, IL) facility. The one with the parrot playground. Mitch has written and published more than 1100 articles on captive bird care. He's met with the majority of  CEO's and business owners for most brands in the pet bird space and does so on a regular basis. He also constantly interacts with avian veterinarians and influencers globally.