When a bird pulls out its feathers, we call it a naked bird. And feather plucking is a stress factor. 98% of the birds that are naked and go to a veterinarian come back negative on all diseases and all bloodwork.
When humans are unhappy, we can tell someone about it. Birds cannot, so their way of showing it is plucking. “Look, Mom, I pulled out every feather I own!”
The birds that have the most trouble with change are Cockatoos. A good example is an Umbrella Cockatoo we had here named Charles. He came to us naked, not a feather. Every time his owner would make any change, like a new toy for the bird, Charles would pull out his feathers.
Well, we got him fully feathered here and one day, we decided that maybe he would like a window view. We moved his cage 3 feet and by the next morning, he didn’t have a feather on his chest. We didn’t move him again for 8 months and he grew his feathers back. And kept them. We never moved him again.
A friend of ours went from wearing contact lenses to glasses and his Cockatoo pulled out all its feathers. A couple who had a Moluccan Cockatoo brought him to us naked. After they’d had their second child, the bird started plucking and never grew a feather back. We got him fully feathered, the couple came for a visit and stood there watching him pull out his chest feathers. The husband said, “If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I wouldn’t have believed it.” There was something about them he just didn’t like.
Why does a bird hate one person and love another? People have said that female birds prefer men. Not true. A bird picks and chooses who it likes. Or hates.