Eye pinning/flashing

Hey, long time no see! The other day I started thinking about how much our birds actually communicate with their eyes, particularly eye pinning/flashing. All of my birds have really bright eye colors, which makes detecting excitement really easy and it’s obvious that they communicate with eachother by eye pinning too. And let’s mention that I am able to dilate and contract my pupils volontarily, which I guess is kinda weird, but obviously nothing I think about or do that often. But anyway, I started wondering if that could be a thing that birds actually cared about, like “pinning” my own eyes when hanging out with my birds?Today, during my one-on-one cuddle/play time with Nicko, he was pretty calm though happy and talkative and pinning his eyes a lot. And so I did that too. His pupils went tiny as he perked up and proceeded to dance and whistle while pinning like crazy. What do you think? Total coincidence, or could human-to-bird eye/pupil communication be a thing?

Hello mrbowlerhat! Given that they notice and respond to tongue wiggling, why wouldn’t they? I can’t test it because I don’t know how to expand and contract my pupils except by changing the light. The way is open for you to lead the in new levels of communication with parrots.

I also use my eyes to communicate with my birds but I just squint and open my eyes wide, not quite contracting or dilating pupils (by the way, this is done through voluntary epinephrine release) and I don’t know if it really works or not (I only do it with the amazons when I want to show them I am upset at them). Be careful with which species of birds you use it because, usually, pinning eyes is an aggression display.

No, I don’t think that it is just coincidence given how much they communicate with body position, eyes, as well as feather position. I do think that if you are going to use it to communicate with your bird better that you do need to study you bird closely to understand what you might be saying when using non verbal forms of communication. You don’t want to be saying the wrong things too often.

Wolf wrote:I do think that if you are going to use it to communicate with your bird better that you do need to study you bird closely to understand what you might be saying when using non verbal forms of communication. You don’t want to be saying the wrong things too often.Yeah, definitely! I mean, I can’t always read him, so obviously he won’t always be able to read me, especially something that he knows can mean either happiness or “attack mode”. So yeah, that’s why I tried it out when I knew he was happy and content and doing some pupil action himself.

I will bet that you will misread him more than he will misread you!!!

I agree with Wolf, 100%! We have trouble reading them but they have no trouble reading us! These are social, highly intelligent, prey animals and, to them, body language and vocalizations (in terms of tone of voice as well as actual words) are a matter of life and death so they are hard-wired to observe and learn and to do it well. Because they are raised by and live with humans, they have learned to read us better than we read other people ourselves.