My first cockatiel went through a
period of night-time seizures when he was about a year old. I’d wake up in
the middle of the night to hear him flapping violently and screaming in his
cage. He calmed down after I turned on the light and talked to him, but
would clearly be a bit “shaken up”.
It took us a while, but I eventually
determined that they occurred mostly when he’d managed to get a bite of
something that had sugar in it (I’d been giving him graham crackers). Once
the source of sugar was removed, the night thrashes ceased.
Since then, I never allow my birds
to eat any foods with sugar.
There have been other incidents of
nighttime disturbances, but only the cockatiels seem to have them, and only
once in a while.
I’d love to know who first coined
You’re sitting in your family room
with your bird. Everyone is relaxed and happy. And “it” happens. The bird
freaks out, flaps and flies around the room screaming it’s head off. Then,
as suddenly as “it” started, “it” is over. The bird lands, pants a bit
(maybe), but settles back down more or less as before. You are left
wondering what happened.
It’s even more fun with multiple
birds – although I’ve yet to see a UBE in which they all participate – there
is almost always one who sits it out and never appears to be disturbed.
There’s a variation of this
phenomenon. It doesn’t have a name as far as I know, but birds are not the
only ones who do it. I’ve known cats to do this:
You’re sitting with your bird and
suddenly it looks up and stares intently at “something” which is hovering
just above your head. This “something” is clearly fascinating, because the
bird looks and looks at it. You’re thinking “there must be a bug on the
wall behind me”, but that’s when you notice some of the other birds gazing
at “it”, too.
I will not attempt to offer an
explanation. You are free to come up with your own.