When you bring home a cockatiel, you may be tempted to place his cage in front of a window so he can enjoy the sights and sounds of the outside world. This isn't always the best thing for your bird, though, and under certain circumstances, it can terrify or physically harm him. While some exposure to the outside is healthy, leaving the cage directly in front of a window can put your pet at risk.
Room with a View
Cockatiels benefit from exposure to a range of light and dark environments, and keeping the cage in the same room as an open window can help. The natural light that comes in through the window may be harmful if he is directly in front of it, though. Overexposure to direct sunlight, whether outside or through the window, can overheat your bird. Keep the cage in an area where he's exposed to natural light without being forced to sit in it directly.
Preventing Night Frights
These birds are particularly prone to "night frights," or a state of panic caused by waking suddenly and becoming disoriented. Cockatiels are unable to see in the dark, so if they're startled awake, they become frightened and can hurt themselves thrashing in the cage. You should not keep the cage near an open window at night, as animals outside or even the headlights of a passing car could wake your bird and frighten him. You may even cover the cage at night and run a machine that produces white noise so he isn't startled awake by the sights or sounds of the outside world.
Healthy Sleep Habits
Your cockatiel needs significantly more beauty rest than the average person, and he takes it all at once. These birds have to sleep for about 12 hours straight on a nightly basis, and keeping your bird's cage near a window may disrupt his rest. If the period between sundown and sunrise is less than 12 hours, you should keep your bird's cage away from any windows or covered, so he's able to get the sleep he needs without the sun waking him up too early.
Monitoring the Temperature
If the room with your cockatiel cage gets too much sunlight, it may affect its temperature. Your bird's room should be between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, without drafts or temperature fluctuations greater than 10 or 15 degrees within a 24-hour period. Unless the room is climate-controlled, natural light can raise its temperature. If the room does have climate control of some kind, keep the cage out of its path, as well -- he shouldn't sit in front of air conditioning vents or fans.
Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.