Q: My bird bites me whenever someone gets near me. Is that normal? Or, my bird has suddenly started biting, what can I do?
Many bird people have problems with biting birds every once in a while.
In the first case above, it would seem that perhpaps your bird obviously loves you very much. Even though that may not sound very logical to you, it probably makes perfect sense to your feathered friend.
Below are a few of the reasons why your bird may be biting the one he loves.
1. In the wild, many parrot species warn away mates and young birds when they perceive danger. In our human world you can't fly away, so perhaps your bird is trying to give you the strongest warning he knows to make to you move to safety.
2. Your bird may not feel like sharing you right now so he could be telling you to move away from the intruder.
3. Your bird may just plain not like the person coming near, and since he can't bite that person, he bites the easy target, YOU!
If the biting is not out of love, then there are some questions that should be answered such as:
How old is your bird? Young birds can go through a 'beaking' phase and will need to learn how much pressure they can use without hurting their humans. Older birds may have arthritis, or other health issues affecting how you pick them up. Birds most definitely bite if in pain.
Also, the time of year can play a big part in some parrot's grumpy personality. Hormonal birds can be overly protective, even seeming quite aggressive, around their favorite people, their toys, or cages. Patience and a sometimes even a safe 'hands-off' approach until the breeding season has passed, works quite well.
When is the last time your bird visited an avian vet? Birds with even mild low-grade health problems can become very grumpy and bitey.
Has something changed in your bird's environment? Moving furniture, bringing in plants, painting the color of a room, or moving your bird even slightly, can all seem a little bit scary to a bird sometimes. Changing hair styles, hair colors, or growing a beard, can change your appearance and make you look like a stranger sometimes as well.
A stressful environment can also make a parrot become a biter. Fights, new babies, divorces, new people, new pets, and similar changes in the home front, can be easily picked up on by a bird and exhibited in sudden biting.
Does your bird get enough sleep? Not just covered up time with televisions still going, but truly quiet restful sleep.
Pay close attention the next time you are bitten, and with some careful thought and observance, chances are you will understand where and why the biting is occurring. Just try and look at life from your bird's point of view.
If you would like to read a little more about why a bird bites you may want to check out the following article by Liz Wilson.
"Bitting Parrots" by Liz Wilson
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