Do you have a fear of birds?
Updated: Jan 30
Not many people will discuss a fear of birds. Spiders, bugs, heights, yes. But birds, that isn’t so common. Still, it is just as challenging for those who suffer from this phobia, as those who are crippled by the thought of delivering a speech to a group or by dogs in the street. What makes that true? Phobias are based on the same fundamental principle - anxiety. Let’s take a closer look.
What exactly is it?
Ornithophobia, as it is formally known, is the fear of birds, and it can take many forms. Some people fear only birds of prey, while others are afraid of household pets like budgies and parrots, and others fear birds in a more general sense. Ornithophobia occurs when someone has such a strong fear of birds that being in the presence of a bird, or even seeing a photo or video of a bird, triggers an extreme anxiety response.
Is it different from other phobias?
In some ways, it is just like other phobias. They are all excessive, intense or irrational fears that cause people to avoid certain objects, creatures, situations or activities. What these have in common is that they all pose little or no danger, but for some people their fear is so great that it becomes a phobia. Their fear becomes amplified and interferes with everyday life.
Experiencing phobias can be an overwhelming, frightening and isolating experience. They can place limitations on people's lifestyles. Many people are confused by the emotions they feel when confronted with their phobias, but feel powerless to control them. This is when they put coping mechanisms in place, which often only heighten the challenge.
One way in which a fear of birds sets itself apart from other phobias is the almost constant threat of being presented with a bird. Birds are present throughout populated areas of the World, making it hard to go through an entire day without a single encounter. Therefore, it is not uncommon for those with ornithophobia to gradually restrict their activities.
What are some of the symptoms?
Like all phobias, the symptoms of ornithophobia vary according to its severity. By this, it is dependent on the triggers, length of exposure and other such variables. But ultimately, you are likely to experience some of the following:
A sense that you are in danger
Shortness of breath
Fear of losing control
It is also common to experience anticipatory anxiety in the days before a likely confrontation with birds. As mentioned earlier, a heightened sense of anxiety is the underlying issue with all phobias, therefore an anxiety attack is also possible at that moment. Some signals that you are experiencing an attack include extreme fear, chest-tightening, chills, dizziness, nausea, and more. When an anxiety attack does happen, these feelings will dissipate with time, and with physical distance from the triggers, but they can be utterly debilitating.
What can I do?
Firstly, check your severity by taking the free fear of birds test over the website. The report will provide some very helpful tips on how to overcome Ornithophobia.