Why Parrots Bite
While it may seem that your pet bird unpredictably bites there are three common and predictable reasons that pet birds bite. This article will help you learn why birds bite so that you can manage the behavior rather than allow your parrot to get in the habit of biting.
While any parrot can be trained to be handled using positive bird training methods like Clicker Training for Birds, knowing the cause of bird bites will assist you in developing a” bird training plan” and help you preserve your relationship with your bird.
FEAR: Many bird bites are a fear reaction. Like any animal of prey, birds are easily startled by novel or unexpected situations. Attentiveness to scary situations is actually a life saver that allows the bird to quickly escape danger. A pet bird that is startled or scared but sees no way to escape the situation may bite in hopes of defending itself. We’ve all heard of the “Fight or Flight” response to fear. Birds instinctually fly off to avoid situations that are scary. Our caged birds aren’t so lucky so they may resort to the “fight” mechanism of self-protection when scared. Imagine a pet bird that is scared, with clipped wings or in a confined space. That must be a very defenseless feeling. Building safe, trustworthy socialization experiences is fundamental to transforming fear related bird bites. A scared bird may rear back on the perch and growl. He may stand high on the perch with dilated eyes slick feathers.
POSSESSIVENESS: Pet birds are known to be possessive of their chosen mate, their home or cage and maybe even their bird torys or accessories. Pet birds may bite to preserve their home and their relationship with a chosen mate. In the wild, a healthy mate is a great asset. Birds mate for life, so they may fiercely safeguard the relationship with their mate. We “humans”, may view possessiveness as a negative trait, but for a bird, possessiveness keeps the species alive. Mate protection related bird bites tend to be more instinctual in nature. A bird has firmly attached to one family member in particular may bite others whom it perceives as trying to take its mate. Accepting a birds need to protect its primary relationship and learning to read a birds body language are critical steps to avoid bird bites in this situation. Use research based bird training techniques like those offered by Good Bird Training DVD’s to gain a relationship with a possessive bird.
MOOD: One of the fascinating things that attract us to birds is their range of “human like” intelligence and emotions. Just like you and I, our pet birds have times when they just want to chill and not be bothered. Pet birds are a lot like a toddler aged child with quick mood changes and intense feelings. They live in the moment. Birds can experience a range of emotions within a day. Birds may become more stimulated during “transitions” such as feeding time, when they have to go back to their cage and bed time. While a pet bird can’t verbally tell you what it is feeling at a given time it clearly shows you with its body language. When you learn to read your parrot’s body language it allows your parrot to communicate with you. And, we all know that communication is the glue that holds a relationship together. Once you learn to read your bird’s body language, you can predict if your bird wants to be handled or not.
HORMONES: We can easily predict that a sexually mature bird will become frustrated, over-excited and even agitated during seasonal breeding times in the spring. As the care-taker. you'll need to learn to predict when your bird becomes hormonal, usually in the fall or spring. You'll also need to accept that your bird needs to safely ventilate its frustration with more bird toys. And, finally, it is your responsibility to refrain from provoking hormonal aggression. Two natural, bird safe calming agents to assist with hormonal parrots are Avicalm and Herbal Relaxation Calming Formula.
ILLNESS: If your bird is biting because it is stressed from illness, training won't help. You need to take your bird to the vet. A sick bird may be on the bottom of the cage or show fluffed feathers and look as though it is shaking. It may perch with it's eyes closed, have diarrhea or a reduced appetite. The bird may be having difficulties breathing and may want to stay in it's cage. Sick birds usually don't enjoy as much interaction. If your bird is biting because it is sick
The two keys to dealing with a biting bird are for you to learn to read parot body language and routine, effective bird training when your parrot is calm.