The Bite Of Love

I have written before on bites from birds, looking at the problem from the point of view of not being able to read parrot body language. I posted that just a few weeks before Maynard came to live with us. I have learned more about bites since then.

I’m lucky that Maynard doesn’t bite me in a hurtful way. He loves to play with my fingers and my rings, hold my finger with his foot while he tries to get a ring off, and if we are sitting in my comfy chair, he will get in my lap and roll on his back while beaking my fingers.

However, if his arch enemy, also known as my husband Mike, should intrude on our festivities, I am in danger of a real bite. All in the name of love, you see. Maynard attacks Mike at every opportunity, going a bit nutty in the process. It’s every finger for itself then.

I occasionally take Maynard into the shower with me, which event he hasn’t quite decided to like or dislike. He bites the water, sings with me, always poops, and is happy to get out. Then he attacks the towel. I can get him on his back with caution so the bath mat absorbs some of the water from his feathers, but eventually I need to take him to the other bathroom so I can blow dry him. Yes, I never thought I would be blow drying parrots, but I admit I have. I tried towel drying Maynard once. Once. That was a bite I didn’t expect.

Maynard’s eyes are always pinning. You know, the pupil contracts suddenly. With him, it’s not such a sign that he is going to bite. Often it just means he is interested in what he is seeing.

Petfinders has a great article on general bird biting behavior. http://www.petfinder.com/pet-care/bird-care/bird-bite/ and especially address Amazons as having an overload behavior. Guess I should have read that before bringing the big green boy home.

The Parrothouse has a great list of Dos and Don’ts with biting birds, very informative. http://www.parrothouse.com/jh1.html I like the term, recreational biters. That would be my love bird Jake, who bites out of excitement and joy, as well as to get me to put him back in his cage when he wants a drink of water. He’s perfectly capable of going there himself, but it’s more fun to bite mom.

Cockatiels are tiny parrots, but their bites can hurt worse than some of the big birds. Luckily they have very clear signs that they are about to rend your flesh. Unfortunately, if you have to pick one up to prevent it being in a dangerous place, you have to ignore the signs. Cockatiel Cottage is a fun blog and site for great information on these little Australian immigrants. And as if there weren’t enough clues about birds descending from dinosaurs, they will hiss and sway from side to side to warn you off. http://www.cockatielcottage.net/bite.html

This cute video shows bonding with parakeets, or budgies as I call them. Great information, but they describe budgie bites as wimpy. Well, unless you get a female who is defending a nest. She will latch on and not let go. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3d8tRCcjH8

A side note, I found this cute video of a less than a year old budgie named Mango, and hope you like it as well. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQd_GIX_Vhc

I post the link to this site with some trepidation. The author explains pretty clearly why some people dislike the word Fid (furred or feathered kid) to talk about any pet. We should not treat our companion animals like people. We are different. But he gives an opinion on Dr. Irene Pepperberg’s work with the African Grey Alex, and I don’t exactly agree with that. Still, there is great information here. http://www.2ndchance.info/tameparrot.htm

I will leave you with this presentation by Steve Martin, not the comedian, actor, and musician, but an animal behaviorist who I have had the pleasure of watching at the former Wild Animal Park, now named the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. He talks here about people who don’t do their research before getting a companion bird, and why sanctuaries are growing everywhere, and are so important. http://www.naturalencounters.com/images/Publications&Presentations/Understanding_Parrot_Behavior_Naturally-Steve_Martin.pdf

Hug your parrots, and I will see you on Wednesday!

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