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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Polly wants a cracker... » » Wing Twitching (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Fábio DeRose
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Inner circle
San Paolo, Brasile
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I did some searching on the forum (via Google, since the search engine is all messed up again) but found nearly nothing on this subject.

Now, I do know that wing twitching is quite usual for most dove species, but I had only seen this behavior (on a frequent basis) so far on bonded pairs.

I have this dove which a friend gave me. He's 1 and a half year old male Java. He lives on a separate cage from the other birds, since they are all paired and I didn't find a partner for him yet. He's been with me for about a month now, during which I've been doing the usual training and getting him to know and trust me, which he accepted very well. In fact, within two weeks he was already doing pretty consistent flybacks.

In the last 4 days or so, however, he's been acting a little odd. When I try to take him for the usual hand feeding session in the morning and when I'm refilling his food dish in the afternoon he acts all stressed out, doing bow coos as to show that I'm intruding his territory and pecking really hard at me. When I insist and take him to perch on my hand, though, he calms down and goes back to normal, except after 10 minutes or less sitting on my hand or shoulder his wings start twitching really fast, then he bows down, stays with his head low, and coos non-stop for a long time.

Sometimes he just twitches his wings and lightly pecks my fingers or neck from time to time (As if preening me), without all the bowing and cooing.

On the first day he did that, I thought the shaking indicated he was afraid of something. (Perhaps my living room's sofa, which is red, and took him to another room. He stopped, but not for long.)

After doing some research over the web, I came to find that this is a sign that bonding has taken place between the Dove and I, and the nearly non-stop twitches when I'm nearby are a sign of affection from the bird, as when he's 'preening' my hand or neck. Quite understandable, since he's never had a female partner and this friend who gave me the bird didn't spend much quality time with him. But what's really quizzing me out is that even when I put him back into the cage he will most likely bow down, stay with his head as low as possible on the ground of the cage, coo and wing-twitch for extended periods of time. He eventually stops and goes back to his usual stuff, but does the bow cooing and wing twitching even if I'm not nearby. That and the aggressive behavior in the morning or when I come to refill the food.

I'm quite puzzled, since I've had other signs that he bonded with me really well, like the fact that if I'm in the room his cage is located at and someone comes in and I give that person attention, he gets all agitated doing bow coos and a high pitched, aggressive-sounding "laughing" (You know what I mean), like he's jealous of my divided attention. Is this cute or what? ha-ha.

So, what do you people think is going on? I know for a fact that birds, like all other animals, have their own personalities and idiosyncrasies, but these recent behavior changes have me intrigued. FYI, I haven't made any changes in the environment, moved the cages to another place, changed the water or food locations or whatever else could motivate stress on the bird.

My only theory for the aggressive behavior is that due to the fact I feed my birds twice a day (In the morning and in the afternoon), he gets mad when running out of food and perhaps thinks I'll take out the few that is still left. Even to me this theory sounds dumb, though, since my other four doves have always been okay with this feeding schedule.
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Bob Sanders
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Magic Valley Ranch, Clanton, Alabama
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He is learning to trust you and that can be a factor since by nature he is "hunting a friend". Most likely, longer daylight hours can explain this. Nesting season is gaining momentum as the days get longer. Some things are just "hardwired".

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Fábio DeRose
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San Paolo, Brasile
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I see, thanks for the input, Bob!
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Autumn Morning Star
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Wing twitching is most often performed by the male bird, especially when he reaches sexual maturity [and when the days get longer, like Bob suggested]. He will sit on the nest and twitch his wings to attract a female. He is essentially saying: "I am a worthy male bird and will EVEN sit on the nest for you. So let's get romantic!" This is sort of like the guy who cooks a fabulous meal for a woman on the third date [and does the dishes afterward].
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Bill Hegbli
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Eternal Order
Fort Wayne, Indiana
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Yes, I was going to say, he is just horney. I had 2 males and they did this periodically. One would even get on top of the other. I guess he was gay. This is also the time they get the very loud.

If you take this bird out of the site of the others, it may help some, but if he still hears the other birds he will continue this actions.

There is really nothing you can do, as I have never heard of 'fixing' a bird.
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Fábio DeRose
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San Paolo, Brasile
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Nah, That doesn't really bother me anymore. At first I was really quizzed, 'cause I had only seen this happening on bonded pairs, and even then it wasn't as often as this one does (And he does it every day, sometimes for hours non-stop). I even find it kinda cute when he sits on my shoulder and tries to woo-hoo it Smile. On a side note, he has quit the somewhat aggressive behavior when I come to take him out of the cage, but still seems to get angry when seeing me giving attention to someone (He hops, does a high-pitched 'laugh' and bow-coos continously). So, he's in love and horny. No wonder he learned so fast to perform flybacks, LOL.

I've been trying to get him a 'wife' but it seems like white doves are nearly extinct over here.
Fábio De'Rose - Ilusionista
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