Dave the Bird Dude is a bird expert who is helping me to lean how to bond with a pet bird. Dave's tip is to master preening.
I asked Dave, "What is the difference between preening and patting a bird?"
He told me that preening helps to form a bond between birds (and yourself ). When they are out in the wild this preening helps to reduce aggression between birds and it is a very important part of connecting with each other.
It's like two people giving each other a hug.
Preening is the bird's way of communicating and saying, "I care for you."
Patting is where you glide your fingers over the feathers and leave oil behind. This can ruin the integrity of their feathers.
Preening, on the other hand, is a light pinching motion that they do down at the base of the feathers and work their way out. They do this in the wild for each other. They preen around the head and neck in particular as they can't reach this spot for themselves.
Dave preens Inca by lightly pinching the feathers
Preening helps your bird to remove wax that naturally covers new feathers as they develop.
It's a wonderful maintenance system. So when you preen your bird, you are helping them to maintain their feathers and building a stronger loving bond at the same time.
When your bird sits on your shoulder and nibbles around your neck, ear and head, they are preening you!
So, to strengthen your bond with your bird, preening is the best way to go.