Lovebird nesting behaviour, what should I do?


New member
Nov 30, 2021
Bondi, lovebird
Hi there, it's been a while since I've been on here!
Bondi, the previously very grumpy lovebird, has been going very well. He's been very friendly and while he can still be a bit bitey, he has really settled down since my last posts on here.
I'll most likely refer to this bird as "he" out of habit, as this whole time I've thought of it as a male. However, he's now around one and a half to two years old, and has been showing a lot of nesting behaviour. I've always seen the regular chewing paper or cardboard into strips and tucking it under a wing, but he (she?) would usually hop across a couple of perches or do a short flight and drop it all and forget about it, and then go find something else to do; so I never really thought anything of it other than an activity for fun.
But, I recently built a small area to get some finches, and had space to put an outdoor cage. Nothing big like an aviary, but it's a sheltered cage where he can go outside and get some fresh air. He can't see the finches directly but can hear them as they're on a shelf above him. Since we're coming into winter here in NZ it's getting quite cold overnight, and he was bred and always lived indoors, so I've been taking him out in the morning and bringing him inside in the evening to avoid too cold of temperatures that he's not used to.
Anyways, my idea of transport was to get a little box that he can hop into and eat some millet for around 30-40 seconds while I take it out and put it into his outdoor cage. The idea was to associate the box with moving from cage to cage, and I can close the flap to safely carry him between cages (I'll attach a photo). The problem is, he really likes this box and has started taking strips off of his new toy and putting them into the box. When I took him outside for the first time, he actually thought the box was so cool that I could hear him running back and forth and happily chirping away as he spent about 40 minutes in there before he even had any interest in looking around his new cage. He had all familiar toys from his old cage, and didn't seem stressed at all. He just came out, drank some water, grabbed a pellet or so, and ran his way back to his beloved box. As I type this, he's inside (I haven't taken him out today as it's raining), going between taking shreds of paper from his new toy and putting them in his box.
I should also mention, in the past I've tried to put things like the bottom half of a tissue box in there for something to forage around in, and he's done the same thing where he plays for a bit but starts chewing things up and filling it with nesting material.

I have a whole bunch of questions, both around the gender of this bird and what I should do:
-Seeing as there's no other birds around for it to see as a mate, and there's been no strange behaviour towards me, is this nesting something a male would do, or can I be fairly certain I have a female?
-should I take the box away and find another way to move him between cages, or is it okay to just leave it there and let him/her enjoy it? I'm a little worried about egg-binding if it's a female that tries to lay infertile eggs.
-should I get another lovebird for it to bond with, or would that even help at all?
--Assuming this is a female, I could get another female or even get a male and just let them do their thing. Or should I try to stop the behaviour rather than encourage it?
---(I know that lovebirds can be quite territorial and aggressive, so I was also thinking I could get a cage to go side-by-side so they have their own spaces)

Okay, I've just taken two videos to explain a bit better visually what he's doing. Sound on if you'd like to hear a bit more about it.
All help and advice is much appreciated, TIA :)


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Welcome to the forums!

Male birds will nest or attempt to build nests.
I would try and get a blood test with you Avian vet so you can sex him.

First thing I’d do is remove that box! Or don’t provide him with boxes he can go into like that.
I guess it’s okay to use the box to live him from cage to cage but I wouldn’t leave it in there as it’s causing nesting behavior.

I wouldn’t get him another bird friend unless you want to. Don’t do it because you think he’s lonely or needs a friend. There’s a good chance he may not get along with a new lovebird and then you’ll have two birds that need separate out of cage time and attention so they won’t fight.

Other tips for hormone minimization:
Make sure he gets 12 hours of good quiet sleep.
Don’t feed excess sugar/fat/protein.
I’m not saying omit these things from his diet of course, just limit them so that they aren’t over abundant as they would be in the wild if it were breeding season.

I personally, discourage all mating/breeding behaviors. I have male/female pairs of birds, specifically budgies and tiels that live together yet don’t have eggs. The tiels breed often but know the conditions aren’t right for eggs because: #1- No nest box
#2- No overabundance of food
#3- The days are too short, like they would be in a perpetual winter!

While we cannot eliminate hormones we sure can reduce them!

I hope this helps with you and your lovie! He’s such a cutie! 😍

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