Birds as Pets

Why Lovebirds Shred Paper

My Peach-faced Lovebird is throwing confetti and it’s probably because I’m so cool, right?

Peachfronted Lovebirds Shredding Paper, Yes, Male Lovebirds Shred Paper Too…
Peachfronted Lovebirds Shredding Paper, Yes, Male Lovebirds Shred Paper Too…

And, yes, to answer your question up front, male lovebirds shred paper too. My Peach-faced Lovebird could be a male. I’m just guessing. Since I don’t intend to breed her, I don’t need to know for sure.

This active little Lovebird has a wild origin story. In 2012, she was found after a hurricane swept through the Gulf Coast area. A traveling birder who chases storms in search of rarities spotted her scrapping with a Northern Mockingbird.

When he returned the next day, she was on the ground, so he performed a rescue and brought her to me. I posted this ad to Craigslist and some of the lost pet sites:

A Hurricane Isaac worker found a fully flighted, healthy SMALL parrot with no band in the Back Bay, Biloxi area. It is not the lost Sun Conure. If you think it might be your bird, please describe it. A photo would help since there is no band. I don’t want to drive a long way to return the wrong bird, so I’m requesting a clear description/and or a photo first.

A scary number of people who lost their Cockatiels got in touch with me. However, although this little cutie was already tame, I couldn’t find anybody looking for a lost Lovebird.

Well, heck, we’ve got plenty of room. She settled in and made my house her forever home.

So why do Lovebirds shred paper?

It’s pretty simple. In the wild, Lovebirds are one of the few parrots who can weave a nest. To do that, they need to collect lots of material to tear and shape to their liking.

In the wild, she would gather leaves — maybe palm fronds. In the home, no book or magazine is safe. I’ve banned her from flying free in the room with the collectible volumes.

The impulse to chew can never be denied. To keep from driving her mad with frustration, I supply her with paper from outdated computer books and magazines. You know the ones. The library and the secondhand bookstore stick them on a table outside in hopes somebody will make them go away.

Definitely a job for a Lovebird.

It’s so cute to watch her go to work. Often, she’ll tuck the ribbons she makes in her tail. Other times, she’ll wear one or two as a dapper necktie.

Wild Lovebirds do that too. It’s a way of flying the ribbons back to the nest area.

She can get camera-shy when she’s working on her art. Over the years, though, I’ve grabbed enough photos to whip up a cute collage.

Author of “The Moldavite Message.” Seeker, traveler, birder, crystal collector.

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