Bird sitting in a cage

Can Birds Sleep With Lights On?(& When To Use Cage Covers)

Birds can sleep with the light on but for sound & proper sleep, they need sufficient darkness. In case you are concerned about night fright among your birds, you should turn the main light off, use a cage cover & a dim night light instead.

To be healthy, they need to be exposed to a sufficient duration of light and darkness. Lacking exposure to any one of them can be deadly for them.

Let’s take a deeper look at this topic.

Do Birds like to sleep in the dark?

Birds need alternating phases of light exposure and darkness to be healthy. Hence you need to ensure that they spend the night under sufficiently dark conditions which will ensure that they enjoy proper sleep & thus have sound health.

Any presence of strong light, sound, or motion can end up disturbing them at night. So you should always make sure that the main lights of the room are switched off in the rooms where the birds are shortly

Do Birds need a night light?

Birds may not need a night light as they prefer complete darkness but certain birds like cocktails are known to be prone to night frights. So to protect your birds from acute night frights using a night light can be good as it will enable them to see in the dark which further will help them to calm down quickly.

Many birds do not need night light and keeping them with a night light will be redundant. Whether your bird needs a night light or not varies a lot on a case-by-case basis. You can try keeping them in the dark for a day or two and see if they remain calm. You don’t need to enter the room at the night to check on them as they will wake up the moment you step inside the room. Just keep an ear out to see whether they are acting strange and making sounds or not.

Any kind of noise can wake up the birds in the middle of the night. In such conditions, if the room is pitch dark, the birds may find it hard to understand where the noise came from and whether they are in some kind of danger or not. As they won’t get to see anything in the dark, they will keep on making loud noises and can start flying around in their space frantically which may make matters worse and disturb their sleep.

So the best way to counter this problem is by using a dim nightlight, which won’t be powerful enough to disturb their sleep, however, in case of a night fright will help them to get calm as they will have the option of seeing around there room. So essentially the night light will act as a beacon in their space which will make the darkness more favorable for them.

What is a night fright in birds?

Pet birds often start panicking and making loud noises and act frantically in their space after waking up from their sleep in the middle of the night. This is called night fright or night terrors in birds. Using a dim light in the room can help in solving this problem.

Birds are wild creatures and have a light sleep. Any kind of noise is bound to wake them up and after waking up in absolute dark conditions, they find it hard to calm themselves as they have no clue about the source of the noise as they cannot see.

It keeps them awake and as a result, they start acting strangely in the middle of the night.

Is covering a birdcage essential at night?

Covering a birdcage gives the birds that extra feeling of safety which helps them to have a good night”s sleep. Also, it will minimize them from getting exposed to light and sound in their living space. 

If you have a separate corner in the house dedicated to keeping the birds then it is not needed to cover the bird’s cage, especially if that area is located at a somewhat secluded corner of the home which remains dark and quiet throughout the night. However, if you keep your birds at a busier part of the house, then you must cover up the birdcage to minimize the chances of disturbing your pet bird”s sleep.

Covering the cage will not only help in minimizing the light exposure but to a certain extent, the sound exposure as well.

However, sometimes you may find that your pet bird is not loving the cage to be covered. This may further lead to behavior issues. So when introducing a birdcage cover, the first two or three nights only cover one side and then again after a few days, cover another side, see how they respond to it.

Are cage covers good for birds?

    • Cage covers can be great especially if you have your pet birds placed at a busier corner of the house. It will make sure that the bird is not disturbed constantly by constant exposure to light and noise.
    • Cage covers will notify your birds that it’s time for napping. By using the cage covers regularly you will lead to the creation of a habit cue that will let the bird know that it’s time to go to sleep.
    • They can instantly make your birds feel a lot more secure. If your pet bird has got issues of sudden disruptive behaviors and getting stressed out easily, using a cage cover is a great way to soothe their nerves and make them feel relaxed.
    • Cage covers protect the bird from the cold night winds. If you have your pet bird placed on the balcony or just beside the window, cold breeze especially in the winter can cause problems to them at times.

It’s essential for the well-being of the bird that it enjoys a sound sleep without any kind of noise or light disturbances. So if you can sufficiently ensure that then you won’t be needing any cage cover. Otherwise, you can put use a cage cover which needs to provide the bird with sufficient breathing air yet needs to deter away strong cold winds, any strong noise vibrations, or any kind of light rays.

Even after using the birdcage cover, you should try to make a lot of sound in that space as birds are sensitive to even the slightest of noises. So watching tv or speaking loudly with others while having the birds in the same room post evening is not a wise thing to do, even with covers. Cage covers help in minimizing the light or sound exposure, it doesn’t nullify them completely.

However, while covering the birdcage, make sure you have at least 1 to 2 sides of the cage open, otherwise, it can decrease the airflow inside the cage. They need a constant supply of fresh air to breathe and to enjoy a steady sleep.

Should you cover the cages if you use dim night light?

You can use cage covers even with dim light if you have other pets in the room that can make a sound. If you think there is not much chance of light or sound disturbance then using the cage cover doesn’t seem to serve any fruitful purpose.

If you use cage covers, you must always keep at least two sides of the cage open for enough air supply

When not to use birdcage covers?

If you keep the birds at a location that is secluded from the rest of the house and if you can ensure that there won’t be any light or sound exposure there, then you can avoid using cage covers. Also if your bird has respiratory issues even then you should never use cage covers. 

Cage covers decrease the light, sound exposure however they also hamper the airflow within the cage. If your bird already has problems with breathing then using cage covers can be harmful to them. So you should consult with the vet in such conditions before you do anything.

There are instances where some birds prefer having their cage covered whereas others do not prefer having a cage cover. It varies from bird to bird basis.

What to cover birdcage with at night

You should use a cloth covering whose fabric texture is light and it needs to be breathable enough to allow the sufficient passage of air through them. Dont cover the cage fully & leave 1 or 2 sides of the cage open for suitable airflow.

What time should I cover my bird’s cage?

Birds need to have around 12 hours of proper sleep to be healthy so you should try dimming the lights and covering the cage around 5 PM to 7 PM in the night.

The time you need to cover your birdcage depends a lot on where the birds are located and how secluded that area is. Also even after covering the cage, you should try to make little to no noise in the space where birds are kept and try to dim the lights. It’s because even with the covers on, any tiny bit of noise is sufficient enough to keep them from sleeping.

In case you have the bird cages at a busier location in the house, then it’s best if for the night time you remove them from their normal location and put them at a secluded corner just for the nighttime.

Birds are just like us and hence if they don’t have a sound sleep at night, they won’t be themselves the next day and in the longer run, improper sleep is bound to have some detrimental effect on their health.


Should I leave a night light on for my bird?

Nights lights are a necessity for many birds especially with cockatiels, budgies, etc. Night frights are very common in pet birds and they can cause sleeplessness and affect health adversely. Having a dim night light will allow them to see to some extent and help them to calm down.


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