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Bird Behavioral Problems

Biting/Aggression

Reprinted with permission by Dotty Schira
of Bird Placement Program Parrot Refuge
Your bird just bit you and you are confused. You say to yourself, "How could my bird bite me, I thought he loved me." Before getting too upset, evaluate the situation. Did you do anything different? Perhaps you put a new toy in the cage or you have someone over visiting. Maybe your bird was in a bad mood and you didn't respect that.

Lets start with aggression. If your bird bites due to aggressive behavior then you need to handle this problem delicately. It may not be that your bird is mean but, that he is showing breeding behavior. In the wild, adult birds spend most of their day defending and protecting especially when they have young. Our pet birds still have many of these wild instincts.

They feel the need to defend and protect their cage, toys, and food supply as if they were defending their nest and young. You are the intruder and you must be chased away. Respect this behavior and don't force any issues during this time. Wait until your bird eases out of the "breeding mode" before trying to pet and cuddle him again. If your bird does not ease out of this mode and continues to get worse then quiet possibly, "mother nature" is calling. Your bird may long for a mate. You might not have a choice but to get your bird a cage buddy or give him to someone who can. This does not always mean your bird wants to breed. Keep in mind that they are flock animals and may just want the companionship of another bird in the same room if not in the same cage.

Make sure you do not have a mirror in your bird's cage. Many birds view a mirror as a mate. They do not understand why this potential mate does not interact with them after they call to, dance around and display to this mate. You are making your bird sexually frustrated and confused.

Now, the issue of biting. If you have determined that your bird is not biting because of breeding season then you must look for another reason. Birds bite sometimes to communicate their feelings. I have watched my ex-breeding pairs bite ( I retired from breeding many years ago), each other because one didn't scratch the other's head when it wanted. Or to say, "Get out of my way, I want that spot."

Birds sometimes bite because someone entered the room and they want you all to themselves. They are hoping that if they bite you, you will make the other person leave or you will leave to get away from the person. They do not want to share your attention with someone else. The person entering the room could get bitten because your bird is trying to say, "Hey, I'm quite happy with this person. Go away and leave me alone."