6 top games for birds that'll keep your feathered friend entertained

Teenage girl with bird sitting on her shoulder
(Image credit: Getty Images)

These top games for birds will do it all, from helping your pet bird burn off some unwanted calories to keeping their minds active and alert. Plus, they're so much fun that we're pretty sure you’ll end up enjoying them too!

From parrots and budgies to canaries and cockatiels, there’s something for everyone in this list. However, it’s important to remember that not all species enjoy the same games so there will be a little bit of trial and error in order to work out exactly what your pet loves.

Whatever you and your feathered buddy decide on, playing games together is a great way to build on your bond and, more often than not, you’ll be left with a huge grin on your face once you see the joy it brings your pet.

So, without feather ado, here’s a range of games for you to play with your beloved pet bird!

1. Fetch

Playing fetch isn’t exclusively for dogs. Some parrots love to chase after a small ball or lightweight toy and bring it back to you over and over again.

Teaching your beaked buddy simple commands such as “fetch” or “go get it” will assist with their cognitive function. Plus, they will also be getting lots of exercise in the process!

2. Hide and seek

Otherwise known as Peekaboo, this game follows the same rules as when played with another human, most commonly a baby or toddler. 

To mix it up and make it more interactive, encourage your bird to physically find you. So when you hide underneath a lightweight blanket, your bird must pull back the covers to find out where you are.

Alternatively, you could hide around a corner or behind a door and help them find you by calling their name until their little head appears.

parrot on owner's shoulder

(Image credit: Getty Images)

3. Get your groove on

Many birds love music and will often dance when they hear it by bobbing around. Sometimes, when they see their owners dancing, they will attempt to mimic the moves.

Birds are visual learners, so why not put on some of their favorite music and start showing off your own “wing-flapping”, head-bopping moves. Encourage your feathered friend to join in using commands including “let’s dance” so that they recognise this activity in the future.

4. Chase

Even though it may not be the full version of chase that you would play with another human or a pet dog, birds also get a thrill from being chased too.

To transform this into a smaller-scaled game, set smaller parameters - such as the bed or living room floor - and use your hands and fingers to chase your bird instead. Saying things such as “I’m gonna get the birdie” or “I’m gonna get your tail” will help to elevate the fun and playfulness of the game. 

Be sure to let your bird catch a breath in between games though as you don’t want to over-exert them in a short space of time.

budgie playing

(Image credit: Getty Images)

5. Slamdunk

We’ve all seen the clips online but did you know that birds really enjoy playing basketball?

Teaching your feathered friend how to dunk a bird-sized basketball into a bird-sized basketball hoop couldn’t be more fun! Simply buy a miniature basketball set and show your pet how it’s done with the help of a keyword associated with the game, such as “woosh”, “toss”, or “slamdunk”, to reinforce the game.

Your bird is so clever that even if they don’t seem to be all that interested at first, if you show them enough times they’ll soon know exactly what to do. 

6. Staircase dash

This is the ultimate game when it comes to keeping your bird fit but it must be played with caution. 

Place your pet at the top of the stairs and call them down. Most will begin the descent naturally and, in doing so, will get lots of exercise along the way.

The second part of the game involves running up the stairs as fast as you can. Instinctively, your bird will most likely start following you because you are “their” human and they don’t want to be without you.

Of course, it goes without saying that pet birds are a lot smaller than humans, so make sure that you watch your footing with this one.

Chloe Petrylak

Chloe is a freelance writer, editor, and proofreader, who has more than ten years’ experience in creating animal-focussed content. From National Geographic to Animal Planet, Chloe’s passion for creating fact-filled features all about wildlife and the environment is evident. But it’s not just wild animals that Chloe’s fascinated by. Having written more than 75 articles for PetsRadar - and having her very own four-legged friend by her side - it’s no wonder that her love of dogs (and, of course, cats) has grown exponentially.  

Her website, www.chloemaywrites.com, and social media pages - @ChloeMayWrites on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter - showcase her knowledge through daily facts and trivia tidbits. For example, did you know that snails have teeth?!