Parakeets are popular family pets, which are easily trainable and may be taught to mimic sounds such as melodies, words and kissing noises. When they get tired, they tend to puff up their feathers before getting comfortable, but sleepiness is just one of the reasons for feather puffing.
When a parakeet settles in for a brief nap or nighttime sleep, she may puff up her feathers to regulate her own body heat. Since they only weigh between 30 and 35g (about an ounce) parakeets need to make an effort to control their internal temperature. Make sure your bird is in a climate-controlled area, free from drafts, and she should have no problem regulating her own body temperature. If a parakeet appears to be continuously fluffing her feathers, try covering three sides of the cage to cut down on possible drafts and retain some warmth in the cage.
Most parakeets love their cleaning rituals. Sometimes a bird will fluff up her feathers in an attempt to settle them back into place during her daily preening time. If the bird has a little bathing dish in the cage, she may fluff up her feathers while bathing to shake off excess water.
Since parakeets are incredibly social, the fluffing of feathers could be a way of showing excitement over seeing a favorite person. They often prefer a higher-pitched tone such as a female's or child’s voice, but the one that they bond with will cause the excited stir. If the parakeet hasn’t bonded with a particular person, she may show excitement (puffing) over a favorite toy or when offered a special treat.
Anxiety or Illness
If a parakeet isn’t well socialized she may feel threatened by social interaction and puff herself up to appear larger to a natural predator, trying to protect her territory or partner. Talking to the bird in a calm manner and using slow movements will make a parakeet feel more secure. Offering a fearful parakeet a bit of grape or honeyed millet may endear the bird to human contact. On occasion the puffing of feathers might indicate illness. A sick bird will have dull, cloudy eyes. If the puffing lasts throughout the day without deflating, or the bird seems too quiet or listless, consult an avian veterinarian as soon as possible. Birds tend to mask illness so they don't look like easy pickings to predators, so your bird may have been sick for a while by the time it becomes obvious.
Nay Moon has spent a decade working in animal shelters, primarily with dogs, which led her to becoming a certified dog trainer in 2009. Currently Nay is working toward her Bachelor of Arts in English literature.