Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: New Jersey, USA
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I don't agree with the not reaction theory (it implies that parrots are either stupid or sadistic and they are neither). And I don't agree with the no shoulder rule, either (parrots don't know of dominance, in a flock, every single bird is equal). If a bird bites, it's not a matter of not allowing the bird access to us (although it is a matter of not giving them the opportunity), it's a matter of figuring out why the bird is biting and fixing it. There is always a reason why they do it and 99.999% of the time, it's something we do or don't do that it's making them bite. Parrots are not naturally aggressive. It's not wired into them because they are not predators and they don't live in a hierarchical society so aggression, per se, is not necessary for the survival of the species or the individual and nature does not give an animal a gene or behavioral trait that they will never need. She doesn't work that way. Parrots only bite in defense, protection, frustration or pain. And, as we control absolutely everything about their lives (where they live, what they eat, when they wake up, when they go to sleep, who they play with, when they produce sexual hormones, whether they fly or not, etc), it's always our fault. It simply can not be otherwise.
Now, I am not in your house so I don't know what preceded the bite so you will have to take the time to pay attention and observe his interaction with you and the children. Could he be tired? (is he kept on a strict solar schedule?) Could he be hungry? (he is weaning and could need some handfeeding still -they do regress a bit) Could he be overly excited? (are the kids carrying on? playing video games with all those terrible electronic noises too loud?) Is he been asked to do something he doesn't want to do or at the wrong time? (parrots have times during the day when they are more receptive to interaction -after breakfast and before their dinner- or when they just need to rest -a couple of hours at noon).
Not allowing him on your children's shoulders will prevent him from biting their ears but it's not going to fix the problem so I suggest you re-evaluate your husbandry and observe the ABC:
Antecedent: what was happening right before and during the action (in this case his biting)
Behavior: what exactly happened? what did the bird do? was it a nip? (when he doesn't break the skin) - was it a bite? (when he breaks the skin) - did he display?
Consequence: what was the bird's and the human's reaction?
Does changing the antecedents change the behavior and/or the consequence?
Dealing with birds is very difficult for us because we don't think in flock terms, we think in a hierarchical type of society terms so, to us, aggression is aggression. But, to a parrot, aggression is pretty much the only way of letting us know that there is something wrong, something that is bothering/upsetting/scaring them. This is most especially true of clipped birds because a bird which doesn't want to stay with us and is able to fly, would do so but a clipped bird has no option but to bite because he can't get away.
Last edited by petiteoiseau; 02-21-2014 at 03:54 PM.