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Should I Cover My Bird’s Cage At Night?

There is one question that a bird owner is going to ask at one point,: whether they should cover the bird’s cage at night. The answer isn’t as simple as you might think. 

While there are benefits to covering a bird’s cage at night, you might end up with a bird who simply doesn’t want to have it covered. Or they could change their mind about a covering after using it for years. 

Whatever the reason, pay attention to the signs that could pop up if the bird doesn’t need a cage cover, which includes excessive squawking when you cover it.

Of course, if your bird does prefer their cage covered, you need to know what types of covering to use because not all fabrics are made equal.

Do I need to cover my bird’s cage at night?

Do I need to cover my bird’s cage at night

There isn’t a definite answer to whether you should cover your bird’s cage at night. 

Sometimes, covering the cage is better for the bird, while not having a cover is perfectly acceptable in others. It simply depends on the bird.

It depends on the bird.

Every animal has a unique personality, and no one pet is the same as another. 

It’s important to remember this because something that works for one pet might not work for your other pet. With covering a bird’s cage, this rule applies. 

Some birds may take well to a cage cover and fully embrace it. Others could have a less than stellar reaction and show their dislike of the cover vocally.

Why do some people cover their bird’s cage at night?

Some people prefer to cover their bird’s cage at night because they think it’s best for the bird. The thing is, they aren’t entirely wrong. 

There are good reasons people may cover their bird’s cage at night that can benefit the bird in the long run.

Good reasons

There are many reasons some bird owners may decide to cover a bird’s cage. Even if you don’t like to cover the cage, acknowledge that there are benefits to cage covering. 

These reasons include:

  • being able to establish a proper sleeping pattern for the bird, 
  • helping the bird out in stressful situations, 
  • giving them privacy and a feeling of security when surrounded by the cover, 
  • regulating their temperature should it get too cold.

How do you tell if your bird doesn’t need a cage cover?

How do you tell if your bird doesn’t need a cage cover

There are signs with everything. Some are subtle, while others are more on the obvious side. 

By paying attention, you’ll be able to pick up on the subtle signs of stress that a bird may display. 

This is the best way to tell if a bird needs a cover or not. Why are they displaying stress? Well, it could be as simple as them simply preferring no cover.

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Signs of stress

If you put a bird cover on and a bird starts showing such signs as feather picking, squawking, aggression, fear, or loss of appetite, then chances are they are stressed out. 

Other signs they could show are general crankiness or constantly picking at the cover. 

You should take a few days to see if they will get used to the cover because it might only be temporary. However, if this continues, it can mean there is a problem.


Some birds aren’t accustomed to being covered and will have to grow used to it. 

However, you need to keep in mind that they may never get used to it. They could prefer their cage to be coverless and want to wake up with the sun. 

The best way to tell is undoubtedly through trial and error. While it may cause your bird some stress, you’ll eventually know what is best for them.

Why do some birds squawk when you cover their cage?

One thing we know birds tend to do is squawk, including to show they are in some type of distress. Could this be a sign of a bird needing a cover? 

Well, yes, but it can also happen when you cover their cage. This could be something as simple as them not being used to the cover or them depending too much on it.

Not used to the cover

We touched on before that a bird could display signs of stress because they are simply unused to the cover. 

The best thing to do is give them a few days to warm up to the cover. 

Of course, you might end up with a bird who decides they don’t want anything on top of its cage. That’s all right too.

The biggest way they’ll display this is through excessive squawking, among other typical signs of stress. 

I emphasize squawking because birds are very vocal animals, and even if they can’t mimic human speech, they will do their best to get your attention through squawks, chirps, and other such vocalizations.

Dependent on It

On the flip side, you could have a situation where the bird is getting used to the cover and is super dependent on it. 

Yes, unbelievably, this can happen because remember, there is a phrase where they say there can be too much of a good thing.

Now, in retrospect, this may not sound like something to be concerned about. Why would you be worried if your pet bird is so used to a particular cage covering? 

Well, think about it like this. What happens if you lose the cover they like, or it becomes so old that it just can’t be used anymore? 

A cover could easily go missing if you are, and it gets lost in the shuffle. The same goes for if you are traveling.

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In the case of the cover being too old, that’s self-explanatory. All good things come to an end, just like there is too much of a good thing.

The best way to circumnavigate this is to have them not sleep with a cage cover for a few nights a week. 

By doing this, your bird won’t become so dependent on the cover that it cannot sleep without it.

What are the best types of cage covers to use?

What are the best types of cage covers to use

Finally, if you end up going with a bird cover, there are a couple of things to keep in mind because some bird covers are better than others. 

The better ones to use are usually a dark color (preferably black or dark blue) and a breathable or light fabric (like cotton). 

Breathable and light fabric

A good thing to keep in mind in choosing a cage cover for your bird’s cage is that the cover isn’t on the heavy side. 

This means you have to say no to that favorite quilt or thick blanket you like covering up with. If it’s heavy, then this could negatively affect air circulation. 

The best way you can get around this is by using a type of material that is lightweight and breathable.

If you are not sure if a type of fabric fits the light and breathable criteria, consult someone who is an expert on birds, including your vet or someone who owns/runs a pet store.

Dark color

So, you have a light piece of fabric that is easy for air to circulate through. This means you are half done! 

The other thing to remember is you need to choose a cover that is a dark color because not only does this help block out light, but it also keeps shadows at bay.

Birds are often easily spooked (no surprise given they are prey), so they could be scared by something as simple as your shadow or one from, say, a nearby object. 

When it comes to light (even if it is artificial), this will make them think it’s time to wake up.

Take it from someone who has owned birds. At the first sign of light in the morning, they are up and ready to go. 

So, if you want your bird to get a decent amount of sleep, consider buying a bird cover that is dark and lightweight.


And there you have it, an answer to the age-old bird parent question regarding whether you should cover your bird’s cage. 

It’s not something that has a simple answer because some birds like coverings and some don’t. 

You must pay attention to the personality of your bird and all their quirks and preferences. 

By doing this, you will notice if they suddenly grow tired or stressed out with their covering or if they even need one in the first place.

Remember, should your bird still want a covering, make sure it’s the right type so as not to put your bird at risk.