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When your cockatiel is agitated or upset, he is at risk for hurting himself by breaking blood feathers, a leg or even a wing while thrashing around in his cage. The first step to putting an end to his agitation is to identify the cause. Call your veterinarian if you can't find the cause, or suspect your bird is ill or injured.
Fear and Insecurity
Screeching, panicked attempts at flight and flapping wings are all signs that your cockatiel is scared. The source of his fear may be easy to pinpoint, such as another household pet attempting to break into his cage, or it may be less obvious, such as a cat spotted outside a window or a dog growling on the television. If your cockatiel does not feel safe and secure, he will continue the behavior until he does. You may need to cover his cage or move it to a different spot where he does not feel threatened.
If your cockatiel is lonely and is unable to get your attention through calls or movements, he may express his frustration by screeching and flapping his wings. He will usually settle back down once he has your attention, but rewarding his agitated screeching could teach him that it is the best way to get what he wants. Spend plenty of time with your cockatiel each day, but do not reward him with attention when he has been screeching or behaving badly.
Cockatiels commonly have night frights, or loud panic attacks caused by sounds or movements that pass unnoticed during the day. Your bird may screech, flap and dart around his cage until the light is turned on and he can see that there is no danger. A small night light, either left on or set to detect motion, can alleviate this problem.
Heaps of Hormones
During mating season, or as your juvenile bird is maturing, he may suddenly act irritable, aggressive or agitated due to hormonal changes in his body. Much of his agitated behavior may occur when the bird or person that he perceives to be his mate is within view, but not within reach. Your cockatiel may scream and screech to express his displeasure at being kept away from his perceived mate. Keep the mate out of view until his hormones settle down.
Sick and Uncomfortable
Some illnesses and parasitic infestations can make your cockatiel so uncomfortable that it shows through his behavior. A giardia infection, for example, can cause your cockatiel to constantly move around his cage and pick at his feathers and skin. He cannot get comfortable and his agitation is obvious. If you suspect that illness may be causing your cockatiel's agitation, or you cannot find a reason for his behavior, contact your veterinarian.