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Thread Description: question about understanding grey behavior

 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-16-2011, 08:34 AM Thread Starter


 
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Grey body language?

For those of you who own greys or have extensive experience with greys, or perhaps any other African birds, what can you tell me about their body language? Specifically, what are the earliest signals they give when they want to be left alone - as in when they don't want you to come any closer physically.
Actually, also, do they make any certain sounds?


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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-16-2011, 08:45 AM
 
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Greys make this kind of whiny growl, I can't really describe it, but it's a whine almost and they will put their heads down and push you with their beaks when they don't want to be touched. At least, in my experience. Sometimes they don't move their heads but they will lean away and make that same whiny growl.



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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-16-2011, 09:54 PM Thread Starter


 
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OK, Jenny, thanks. The putting the head down - that has confused me up until now. I thought she was begging for head scratches, but now I think I am wrong. I think she is telling me she wants me to back off, sometimes, when she puts her head down, but I'm having a hard time knowing how to tell the difference between the two.
When she first came home, she reverted to a very babyish stage, which has lasted all of this time. All she seemed to want was to cuddle for hours and be petted. Now, she is changing, and that is to be expected and a normal part of her growing up.
My only problem is, I think I am not understanding her body language. The other day she started striking at my hands. Understand, she did NOT hurt me, yet. I want to figure out her body language before she does.
She put her head down really far and fluffed up her feathers, but when I tried to pet her, which is what I thought that meant, she struck at my fingers. Shortly after that, I asked her to step up. She put her head down like that and fluffed up again, but I just kept my hand where it was - where she could have stepped up. Instead, she pulled her head back toward her chest and up - kind of like a snake getting ready to strike. Then she made this click, and I could tell it was a warning click of some type. I was thinking I should move my hand, but just didn't get it moved fast enough, when she struck really fast - BUT - she didn't hurt me, but this was definitely an "attack" that I don't want to cause to be repeated.
I got to thinking about lots of conversations I had heard from people at the bird store and greys, and they are always talking about how greys will put their heads down like they want to be petted, and people will try to pet them, and then they will strike out and bite really hard. That made me think even more strongly that this is a form of grey body language we are not reading correctly.
Also, I know this, when I put my hand into Roni's cage, or even when she is on a playstand, if I say "step up", and she puts her head down like she wants to be petted, I CAN pet her, always, but if, instead, I stick my hand under her like I am going to insist instead that she step up, she will bite, always. Roni is an African bird, too, not a grey, but a senegal. However, it stands to reason to me that African birds might have more similar body signals than, say, African birds and South American birds would have.


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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-16-2011, 10:21 PM
 
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Nanay - I think you're right, she's telling you she doesn't want picked up or messed with. Every bird is different, and unfortunately the best way to learn her specific "tells" are by watching and facing the results. I've seen some birds that, when they put their heads down because they're warning and may bite, will turn their head to one side, even just a little. It's more common in cockatoos that they will face you from a certain direction, almost like they cock their head at just the right angle, before they bite but I have seen other birds do it too. The click may be something to encourage - her version of "no" that she can use rather than strike or nip. I did post a video from youtube on your thread in the linnie forum that I found demonstrating the sort of noise I meant, but it's a rather angry grey being antagonized by someone... not my favorite example but the only one I could find.



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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-16-2011, 10:42 PM Thread Starter


 
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I was just over on the linnie forum and saw the video. Thanks for posting it - although I wanted to smack the person who wouldn't take "no" for an answer and kept pestering that poor bird.
My hope is that I can learn the difference between "no" and "give me a scratch".


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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-16-2011, 10:45 PM
 
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I'm sure you will be able to, with time. Until you see her do it enough, it'll be tricky. Greys aren't the easiest to read. Some are easier than others. They're very clever and crafty. Trust me when I say most greys who pretend they want scratches and bite do it because they're well aware of what they're doing I worked with a neighbors grey who was notorious for that. He would let u rub his head until you got comfortable with him and put your finger in the cage just far enough that you wouldn't be able to pull away easily before he tagged you



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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-16-2011, 11:04 PM Thread Starter


 
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Well, I never thought about that. Little stinkers. They must enjoy the drama.
Ashlynn didn't get any drama, yet, and, actually, she didn't really hurt me, but she has confused me enough that I'm kind of leary now handling her. I am very attached to her, but I am also very afraid of handling her incorrectly.


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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-17-2011, 06:28 AM



 
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well I don't have anything to say now but hey, I enjoyed reading this haha!

- Alexandrine parakeets Holly, George, Koda & - Crimson rosella Kasumi Orange winged Amazon parrot Paulie
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-17-2011, 10:16 AM
 
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I wouldn't worry too much, Nanay. As long as she's giving you warning nips, not bites, then she's just giving you her opinion. Goober makes angry noises and lunges at me all the time, it's just her way of saying "i dont like it" when I ask her to step up. Sometimes, I back off, other times I make her step up anyways. She does it especially every night when it's time to go back to the cage. Then she puffs up, growls at me, and lunges a few times but she just mouths me. she does it every night I just ignore it and ask her to step up and she will. She just seems to like giving me her opinion before she does it lol



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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-17-2011, 10:23 AM


 
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Jenny your description of goober puffing up, growling and lunging but not biting reminds me of my p'let... he will puff, growl , lunge and then headbutt. If pressed further he will bite...HARD! With him he gets very over excited and then will bite and we need to take the time to calm him down a little before asking him to step up.
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