While bird owners tend to feel that their birds love them, there is no scientific evidence that can prove this. Most of the studies on human-animal bonding have been centered around more traditional family pets like dogs and cats. In fact dogs and cats are recommended as therapy pets for people undergoing mental health issues. This is because of the strong emotional connection and bonding that dogs form with their family.
The few studies that have been conducted on human-bird bonds suggest that the relationship can be both complex and profound. There is no evidence to show that the birds feel any emotions like love. Still bird enthusiasts and some bird owners say they have observed their bird showing different types of feelings. It seems to vary a lot based on the species and personalities of different birds.
Bonding of Birds with their Owners
While birds cannot speak and communicate their emotions or feelings to their owners, they have their ways of showing affectionate behavior. Many bird species will mimic human speech and form strong “bonding pairs” with their owners. They will take their owner as their partner and will enjoy playing with them or being handled. This seems similar to the bonds that pets like dogs and cats form with their owners.
Some say this behavior is more sort of a dependent behavior for the material advantage. The material advantage here means the bird interacts with their owners because they need food and shelter from them. This behavior is often called a transactional attachment. But the bonding behavior that most birds display seems to be something more.
A bird taken out of their cage may fly around but come back to their owner when they are called. Many bird owners find their birds following them around their homes or even outside but not trying to escape. If the bird did not consider their owners to be their partner they would not listen to them or could even fly away. Some birds make pleasant sounds or gestures when they see their owners walking towards their birdcage. These types of behavior do seem to show that birds can be affectionate with their owners.
Bonding of Birds with Other Pets
The bonding behavior of birds is not only limited to their human companions. Some birds tend to form strong bonds with other pets as well. Many bird owners have seen their birds interact and play with pets like dogs and cats. This further shows that birds not only develop bonds with their owners but also with other pets.
Birds are Popular Pets
While scientific research does not prove that birds can love, there seems to be some sort of bonding behavior in birds. The speech mimicking ability of birds is one thing that especially interests a lot of pet owners. Some birds like the Song Canary are a popular choice because of the melodious song they sing. Bird owners love the affectionate ways in which their pet interacts with them. This could be one of the reasons why birds are the fourth most popular pet in the United States. According to a survey, there were around 20.6 million birds owned as pets in 2017. Whether the birds can love their owners or not, pet owners love having them!