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  #11 (permalink)  
Old 06-19-2019, 08:20 PM
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Re: Why is my conure attacking me ?

First of all thank you everyone for taking the time to respond. I do have a fleece hut in both his cages. I never thought about it as he's always had one, never seemed an issue, and he usually just sleeps in it, but maybe it is in fact promoting/encouraging hormonal/nesting behavior. I will remove it and the tunnel and see if that improves his biting/attacking behavior. I never pet anywhere but his head, either, and I've had other birds in the past(he's my first and only conure thus far) but now just him and I don't intend on ever having more than one at a time.

As for whether or not birds understand the separate/same connection of our hands and arms to ourselves, based on how and under what circumstance he attacks me I think he definitely knows he's biting a part of me personally - whether he understands what my hand is other than a strange spider appendage I don't know. I'm willing to just accept he can be nasty sometimes if that's the case, and it's reassuring to hear others with the same experience. Honestly it takes a lot of weight off my shoulders to know I'm not alone. Strange as it sounds it's easy to forget he's a bird sometimes and I get down when he acts viciously or aggressively at me. I don't have any kids but I imagine it's very much the feeling a parent feels when their kid says I hate you.
I have a question about the tent/hut situation though. It's summer where I live so the weather is really nice right now but we have cold falls and brutal cold winters. Its no arctic circle but the wind chill is killer and the temperatures plumet. As well as turning the heat up, I always had the fleece hut for extra warmth. I have a swing that's like a dowel perch with fleece pieces around the top that he likes to sit on. Would that be considered the same as a hut or tunnel as the fleece part does sit close to his body. It's kind of intended to be a cozy swing but I am very interested in seeing if removing these objects will help. Thanks again everyone you've all been very helpfu!
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Old 06-19-2019, 08:30 PM
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Re: Why is my conure attacking me ?

That fleece on the dowel is just as bad. Get a warming perch if you must and turn up the heat (+cover the cage to protect from draft). Anything with an overhang and/or sides that cup= nesty. Heck, even those silly coconut toys with the small holes in them can cause issues if they can look inside (they don't even have to be able to fit in them entirely). Piles of paper, bedding, blankets, under people's clothing, under the shadow of long hair while sitting in someones lap...it's easy to trigger them).
Remove them all and I bet you will see a difference within a week or so (seriously, it's amazing what an impact they can have).

Last edited by noodles123; 06-19-2019 at 08:32 PM.
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Old 06-19-2019, 08:44 PM
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Re: Why is my conure attacking me ?

I've been wanting to get one of those perches. I'll get one before it gets cold. I live in a really small place pretty much everything I buy for him I buy online because we have so few stores so my options are pretty much limited or non existent. I'll remove that dowel fleece swing also thanks
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Old 06-19-2019, 08:49 PM
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Re: Why is my conure attacking me ?

No problem! Glad we could help-- or at least help in theory.
They sell those perches on Amazon I believe. I haven't used them before, but there are members on here who have.
Also, the biggest worries should be be drafts and sudden temperature changes of 10 degrees + (which also stress their systems). If given time to acclimate gradually, they can tolerate cooler temperatures than one would expect. I would never be comfortable keeping my home in the low 60s, but there are those who do. My bird is used to a 71-76 degree house, so I couldn't just let the temp drop to 65 overnight, but if I did it slowly (over multiple days), I do think she would be okay.
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Old 06-19-2019, 09:42 PM
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Re: Why is my conure attacking me ?

I live on an island that gets pretty hot and cold I try to keep the temp in the fall/winter in the mid 70s. Our spring/summer is beautiful. I have the windows open (screens on) during the summer. He's flighted but rarely ever flies and isn't very good at it tbh so the windows don't concern me. He was hand raised from an egg and has never seen another conure ( ) and was an adult before he ever saw another bird so I don't think he ever really learned to fly properly. I have a chimney but it's closed and stuffed so no drafts can come in, however I do live in a house with several other people. I'm lucky they are either absolutely okay with the bird (some screeching at times) or indifferent to him but two people as much as I like them are really bad for seeing him as a thing and thinking I spend too much money on him and I'm being paranoid about temperature in the winter. One is bad for turning the temp down in the winter There was a day a couple years ago I came home from work with the heat at 58 in winter it was like a freezer in the birds room and I completely freaked out. It's something I have to stay on top of all winter god. I will have to invest in one of those branches I always had the hut or something similar or a fleece hanging blanket/perch just in the event the temperature was turned down he could at least try to stay somewhat warm.

Last edited by Socatze; 06-19-2019 at 09:59 PM.
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Old 06-20-2019, 05:51 AM
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Re: Why is my conure attacking me ?

They also sell special bird warming plates that anchor to a wall or something nearby. Here is one for birds that goes in the cage: https://www.amazon.com/Snuggle-Bird-...ustomerReviews
If you get anything that isn't specifically for birds, triple check that it contains no Teflon/PFOA/PTFE or PFCs (this goes for anything that heats or is intended to be heated within your home). Birds are one of the only types of pets that cannot handle Teflon, so even pet-safe products are not necessarily bird-safe products. I am 99% sure that the perch and cage wall warmer= relatively safe--at least in terms of Teflon (as it is specifically designed for birds and I don't see any crazy reviews about dead birds) but space heaters, heating pads, blow-dryers etc that aren't bird-specific can contain these deadly chemicals which off-gas and kill birds quickly. The only way to know is to call the company with the model number and then ask them whether it contains the following:

Teflon (brand-name)
PTFE= Polytetrafluoroethyline
PFOA= Perfluorooctanoic acid (sometimes known as C8)
PFCs= Perfluorinated chemicals

I always give the full name (+spelling) and the abbreviation for each. It feels very pesty, but it is so important. The sales-people aren't going to know in 99% of cases, and you need to list the spelling and abbreviation because either could be used on the manufacturing side of things. They will generally take your information and call you back a few days later.

You may already know all of this, but because you are looking at buying some sort of heat source, I felt like I needed to mention it. They also sell these hot oil radiators that a lot of bird owners use safely...

Last edited by noodles123; 06-20-2019 at 06:43 AM.
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Old 06-20-2019, 05:26 PM
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Re: Why is my conure attacking me ?

Quote: Originally Posted by noodles123 View Post
Quote: Originally Posted by Talven View Post
From what I understand of birds you are just your head. Every other part of your body is what you are perching on so biting hands or arms is just biting a very strange perch that moves.
Where did you guys hear this?
I read this in an article posted on a parrot rehabilitation and training site when I was looking at how to deal with a very aggressive GCC. This was the belief of the sites trainer who was supposed to have had a couple of decades of experience. It is quite possible that I have misconstrued what was being said as at the time I was searching through as many sites as I could find.

I did find this article that also seems to have a similar view. I couldn't find the original site I went to though.

Plus also based on personal experience with my different parrots. My GCC will chase down my hand to bite it if I catch a pin as if it was a separate entity rather than just biting me directly.

The biggest problem humans have with keeping pets of any sort is attributing humanisms to them. We become so attached to our pets that we forget that they are animals with their own behaviours and communication and start to overlay what a human would do or feel.

For example:- My wife's GCC will aggressively bite me if he is with my wife. This is not because he dislikes me but because he is showing normal bird behaviour. He is defending her from a potential threat or interloper.

My 2 cents - Australian thing to do with advice being cheap. So when you offer advice you are tossing in your 2 cents.

Always happy to offer advice even if I'm totally wrong If I'm wrong it makes those with more knowledge jump in to correct me so everyone benefits. If anything I suggest helps bonus.
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  #18 (permalink)  
Old 06-20-2019, 05:42 PM
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Re: Why is my conure attacking me ?

hahah! We say "my 2-cents" here too-but that explanation was one of the best I have heard.

I agree completely that biting has nothing to do with a bird hating someone (at least not in the way that humans "hate")---people shouldn't take it personally, but they should consider what environmental or behavioral triggers may have caused the episode.

Thanks for posting the link! I read it, but I would like to see a more official source or study that backs up the "floating head" idea before I believe it. Some of the wildest bird myths that I have ever heard have been perpetuated by people who have years of experience breeding and training birds--seemingly reputable people who adhere to what they were taught years ago (and they believe what they are saying with all of their hearts). For instance, I was told by a very "reputable" person (20+ years of breeding, clipping and husbandry experience) that a one-winged clip was the way to go (wrong). I have heard numerous experienced breeders say that birds adhere to the principles of dominance (that is not true at all)...There are so many falsehoods floating around out there...Oh---and then those dang snuggle huts (they are all over in bird stores) even though the "experienced" owner should know how deadly they are.
I have a very strong feeling that this is some sort of wives' tale perpetuated by conjecture. I think a lot of times bird owners get bitten and don't understand it, therefore they come up with a theory like this to explain the occurrence, even though numerous studies show that they can discriminate between materials, colors, shapes etc. It is easy to say, "Hmm...not sure why that happened....I didn't do anything wrong and my bird likes me, so she must think I am a tree with a head"..but that is illogical when you think about how complex they are intellectually and psychologically.

Dogs are technically less intelligent than parrots, and they know our hands belong to us...It's not like we say, "Oh my dog bites but it's because he thinks my arms are dog bones/sticks/raw-hide..but, if he bites my face, then it's personal".

The author's mindset is highly species-centric---It seems to project human explanations onto a very complex, non-human animal. I know people like to anthropomorphize, but the author's idea is still very human-centric. It's like, oh, "my dog peed on the green carpet because he thought it was grass." We think that way, so we project our assumptions about their perceptions onto them (in order to explain what we do not understand)..and instead of analyzing the problem and solving it, we accept it based on faulty assumptions...While biting isn't personal, it isn't just random or due to the fact that your bird doesn't know your limbs are yours...

If I seem impassioned, it promise it isn't directed at you (but I am irritated with the author of that text haha). I think birds bite our hands with intention 99% of the time, which is why ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) works to stop biting. If they thought we were just a random unfeeling perch (and that our head was the only true "us") then why would they bite that "perch"(hand/arm etc) to get reactions and to make things happen, and why wouldn't they bite all "perches" (aka hands/arms etc)? You don't often see birds running up to trees and biting them (gnawing yes, but "attacking", no). If they didn't associate our appendages with our heads, then why would they stop biting hands once trust is built and why would they sometimes bite other body parts (like toes) to get attention etc? It just doesn't add up.
There are too many studies showing that birds do things that would disprove this idea. If my hands are just perches, then why does my typically non-biting bird only bite them when she is "mad" at me for leaving town or taking her to the vet? She doesn't bite other objects in this way. If she did the same to her perch and other objects (in the same way), that would be one thing, but she doesn't. I keep going back to A) their intelligence performance on visual tasks and B) the fact that Noodles will not bite me when I put someone's hand in mine to touch her, but she will bite them if I move it. She will actively avoid biting me when she is not mad (and most of the time, she isn't).
Even though my sister's hands are (quite literally) identical to mine, she cannot touch my bird in the same way without risking a bite. If the floating head theory is true, then as long as I am standing next to my sister (with identical hands) then either of us should be able to pet her in the same way, but it doesn't work that way. She consisantly treats my hands differently. Noodles even will jerk her beak as a warning when certain people approach--she knows exactly what she is doing...just as she also knows that her cage is her cage (not just some random top portion of it--the whole thing)...etc etc. Additionally, when birds bite other birds (in a fight or become aggressive), they do it with intention. It isn't like they only see them as floating heads...and the fact that we aren't birds wouldn't change their ability to integrate visual stimuli.
A 2-year old child recognizes that an animal's legs are connected to it (without being told) and many parrots are even smarter than toddlers. Furthermore, other, far-less intelligent animals also have this skill, even when viewing animals outside of their own species... Parrot's intelligence is also highly visual, which means that there is no way they would not be able to assess us as a whole. If they were so simplistic in their thinking, they wouldn't be able to solve even the simplest of foraging puzzles, because in their minds nothing would be connected. That having been said, they are able to unlock doors and perform series of tasks in order to achieve a desired result. They can problem-solve in real-time (without rehearsal) because they see how parts interact and influence other parts.

Last edited by noodles123; 06-20-2019 at 06:59 PM.
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  #19 (permalink)  
Old 06-21-2019, 06:36 PM
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Re: Why is my conure attacking me ?

Blatantly incorrect or contradicting information is what the internet is for isn't it?

I guess I read it and it sort of made sense and just went with it. I can't say I've put much effort into researching parrot psychology beyond what was in my immediate need. Mostly I have been concerned with husbandry. Guess I should have paid more attention.

As you have said there is much misinformation out there which is why discussion forums like this are so important. Always happy to get enlightened by others. Words I try to live by are "He who thinks he knows everything truly knows nothing. He who knows nothing and knows that he knows nothing is truly wise." and "The only stupid question is the one left unasked." I don't offend easily so if I've come out with something incorrect feel free to correct me. I'd rather learn than stay ignorant.
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  #20 (permalink)  
Old 06-21-2019, 08:49 PM
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Re: Why is my conure attacking me ?

Quote: Originally Posted by Talven View Post
Blatantly incorrect or contradicting information is what the internet is for isn't it?

I guess I read it and it sort of made sense and just went with it. I can't say I've put much effort into researching parrot psychology beyond what was in my immediate need. Mostly I have been concerned with husbandry. Guess I should have paid more attention.

As you have said there is much misinformation out there which is why discussion forums like this are so important. Always happy to get enlightened by others. Words I try to live by are "He who thinks he knows everything truly knows nothing. He who knows nothing and knows that he knows nothing is truly wise." and "The only stupid question is the one left unasked." I don't offend easily so if I've come out with something incorrect feel free to correct me. I'd rather learn than stay ignorant.
This is so true, as you learn something new everyday.
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