The Hazards of Parrot Companions

Our tracking of how many days since a bird has bitten anyone here just got reset. I was cleaning Bo’s cage, and she was playing on the floor. Due to her lack of perching ability, the bottom of her cage is solid. As I spread the towel on the bottom, I could not see her. She thought, I believe, that I was playing with her. So she launched herself up and grabbed the moving towel. And my finger.

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This was not the worst bird bite I have ever had. Not the worst I have ever seen. And not the worst from Bo herself. And she did look contrite. Later she actually let me scratch her head by just reaching into the cage, not keeping the bars between us for added (my) safety.

Years ago, two dear friends who also are parrot lovers, took Mike and me on a tour of the best bird stores in San Diego. We had a great day, but at the end, when we were all pretty tired, our friend Todd got a little careless with a green wing macaw. She nailed him on his cheek and flew off. Luckily we were in the back room of the bird store so she didn’t get very far. As soon as he stopped bleeding, he picked her up again and let her know he was not afraid of her.

That was totally the worst bite I have seen a parrot give a human. My darling Fin has the worst bite I have seen a parrot give another parrot. There’s a clear indentation where the tip of Io’s beak went into the flesh next to Fin’s beak and ripped half of the poor lovebird’s beak off. I am amazed that he does as well as he does, even if he is a little whiny at times. He totally has the right to be. I may have spoiled him some.

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In my book, the worst biters are parakeets and cockatiels. Budgies do not let go if they think you are going to hurt them. And cockatiels are easily spooked. In fact, I got a nasty bite today on my left hand index finger, which balances Bo’s bite on my right hand ring finger. I could make a comment about giving the parrots the finger, but I won’t.

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Why do birds bite? That is such a common question. Usually, because they are afraid. But also there are territory issues and dominance issues. Here are a few web sites that address the issue. Remember to watch your parrot’s eyes. Pinning or pupils narrowing to tiny points often means trouble ahead.

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http://blog.petsolutions.com/bird/understanding-why-your-bird-is-biting/

http://www.cockatielcottage.net/bite2.html

http://www.birdchannel.com/bird-behavior-and-training/bird-behavior-issues/bird-behavior-issues-biting/why-parrots-bite.aspx

Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Sunday.

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