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The best ways to play with your pet bird

Birds are intelligent, curious, and interesting. They also love to play little games with their humans. These games are fantastic for enrichment, well-being, and bonding with their owners. So what kind of games can you play with your pet bird?

Playing games with your bird can help the two of you bond in fun new ways. Let’s take a look at how much fun you and your remarkable pet can have.

Woman with bird on head and shoulder
Sean Murphy/Getty Images


Some birds will play fetch much the same way dogs do. You may have to train your bird to understand the point of the game, but once it’s established, it’s a simple way to encourage your bird to get some exercise.

Start with something simple. Toss a small ball or rope and call your bird to bring it back. Once your bird understands the game, you can play it with just about any small item.

A variation on this game is toss. Instead of bringing the small item back, encourage your larger birds to toss it back to you. In some cases, their aim is really good.

Hide and seek

Hide and seek is a game birds are naturally good at. Plus, many birds want nothing more than to be close to their owners. Set your bird down gently and move quickly to stand or hide behind something. Your bird will most likely start to look for you.

If your bird doesn’t move, call your bird or show your hands to encourage your bird to come toward you. As you continue to play, you can hide in farther places or for more extended periods. Ensure that your bird doesn’t feel stress over “losing” you.


A great way for your bird to get some exercise is to play chase. You must have a good relationship with your bird for this to work. Again, because your bird wants to be close to you, you can set your bird down and scurry away. Call your bird to you.

When your bird comes, run to another spot, encouraging your bird to keep following you. You can play a reasonable amount of time so that you and your bird can get a bit of exercise.

Dance party

Birds love to listen to your music, so that may be a great way to build health and have some fun. Hold your bird on your hand or shoulder and begin to dance, encouraging your bird to move around. Anytime you need a fun break, put on some music and dance with your precious bird.

Find the treat

Similar to the way cats play, take three cups, and hide a treat underneath one. Move the cups around and allow the bird to find the treat. You can make this as simple or as tricky as your bird can handle.

This is an excellent way to encourage your bird to think. It’s suitable for offering treats or for hiding a small, favorite toy. Either way, your bird gets some mental stimulation.


Peek-a-boo is a wonderful game you can play at any time. You can play a simple game, encouraging your bird to remove the blanket from in front of your face. You can also do it with something like your couch or kitchen island.

Look at your bird and say, “Peek-a-boo!” Race to the other side of the couch or island or whatever you’re using and do the same. Your bird will begin to run back and forth to meet you, giving you both great exercise.

Why should I play with my bird?

Smiling woman holding bird
Eugenio Marongiu/Getty Images

Birds are highly social creatures. They need stimulation and enrichment for their well-being. Without these, they may turn to negative behaviors such as feather plucking, noises, or other bad habits.

Playing with your pet provides exercise, as well. Birds kept for pets often cannot fly for safety reasons, but that doesn’t mean your bird doesn’t need activity. This structured playtime not only helps with bonding but burns off that energy for a healthier, happier bird.

Play time also helps birds bond with you. It’s essential that they trust their owners, and playtime helps them feel like you’re part of their flock. Soon, there’s nothing more enjoyable for your bird than to be with you.

But I give my bird toys. Isn’t that enough?

Toys and exciting enrichment tools are a vital part of your bird’s life, but you are the most essential part of your bird’s life. Those toys should be an extra, not the only form of activity your bird gets.

Toys won’t provide enough exercise, and they can’t replace the company you provide. Birds are social, so it’s essential to maintain those bonds. Games you play encourage your bird to think, to play, and to have a relationship with you.

Playing with birds

These games are just a few things you can do with your bird. You’ll be able to build a solid relationship with your bird and offer bonding to keep your pet happy. You can also invent your own games to ensure that your bird always has something fun to do with you.

Make certain your bird trusts you and build on that trust before you try to play something like hide and seek. Your bird must know that you haven’t disappeared. If at any time your bird seems stressed, stop the game immediately and reassure your bird.

These times could be some of the best memories you and your bird have together. Get creative and play regularly. Your sweet bird will be happy as you two create a special bond.

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