Big Beak O Phobes Guide to Understanding Macaw Beaks...

FreedomAndForgiven

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Birdman is it okay I post this on one of my blogs on my website, and maybe on my crazy birds vlog/channel YouTube to help understand more because I do have a lot of people ask me questions. Our birds have kind of given me a "niche" as a musician because I post something about them all the time so people who want pet birds have started asking g me all kinds of things.
 
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Birdman666

Birdman666

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Presently have six Greenwing Macaw (17 yo), Red Fronted Macaw (12 yo), Red Lored Amazon (17 y.o.), Lilac Crowned Amazon (about 43 y.o.) and a Congo African Grey (11 y.o.)
Panama Amazon (1 Y.O.)
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Sure the purpose of doing this is to educate.
 

FreedomAndForgiven

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Lucy (B&G Macaw), Phoenix (Camilla Macaw), Gizmo (Goffin Cockatoo),
Rita (Military Macaw),
Mango (Goffin Cockatoo),
Thank you very much. If more people know the reason birds "bite"
I believe less would be rehomed. So many people think a bird is mean if they bite because they're used to dogs, and cats and how mean ones bite hard. At least that's my opinion
 

everdusk

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Marzipan (Hahns Macaw) & Pip & Monte ('tiels) // In Memory: Countess ('tiel), Primrose (GCC), Pauly, Star, Yoshi & Keitaro (budgies)
As a brand new Hahns parront this is very, very good advice. Thank you!

Thankfully I had a tiny bit of experience with a "bitey" conure and learned some of these lesson via trial and error. Marz has a much bigger beak than Prim did, but I didn't flinch and allowed him to bite and so far his worst pinch isn't all that bad (I'm sure he's holding back though). We're working on the "set him down and walk away for a minute" when he bites method. It's hard to get a bird off of you that is attempting to glue itself to you via beak! But we're getting there.

Cage aggression is also a problem we are working on. It's funny how he doesn't want to be on it or in it but he wants to lunge if you come near it! I'd say this is related to his years in the pet store prior to his first and second homes, but who knows!

(I'm probably going to be seeking more advice! Hope you don't mind!)
 

RatAtaT2693

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I've noticed that the Scarlets have a reputation for being super divas/beaky. Do the Catalinas usually carry this on? I've heard the B&G are supposed to be laid back, and that this kicks in.

Sorry, still trying to navigate everything, and for the longest time I thought the two were just color morphs.
 
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Birdman666

Birdman666

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Presently have six Greenwing Macaw (17 yo), Red Fronted Macaw (12 yo), Red Lored Amazon (17 y.o.), Lilac Crowned Amazon (about 43 y.o.) and a Congo African Grey (11 y.o.)
Panama Amazon (1 Y.O.)
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I've noticed that the Scarlets have a reputation for being super divas/beaky. Do the Catalinas usually carry this on? I've heard the B&G are supposed to be laid back, and that this kicks in.

Sorry, still trying to navigate everything, and for the longest time I thought the two were just color morphs.

All the catalina's I've played with were fairly docile, but they've all been owned by experienced macaw people, who socialized them properly, which is the key...

Scarlet's are probably the "beakiest" of the big macs. Where a greenwing just gives you the tongue, a Scarlett explores his world with the entire can opener. It's not that they're divas... It's that they put their beaks on quite literally everything. And that often makes them pinchy as well...
 

Solo

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I concur with this. It's a behavior trait that they are prone to and can be passed in hybrids as well. My girl is a Shamrock (military/scarlet). She is bite pressure trained, but still most of our play times have painful moments. She seems very intrigued by the texture and substance of things, so there's the initial grab, then pinch, then grind. She never breaks skin, but I have gotten blood blisters. Imagine a toddler without arms and hands, the only way they have to explore is with their mouth, and BAM you have a macaw!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

ChrisDooley

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Mar 11, 2016
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I read this thread when I first signed up to take a Harlequin Macaw from a rescue.... and it was all I needed. I used every bit of it. He is 9 years old. He was a resident of the rescue 2 different times and I'm his 3rd owner.

I had him stepping up pretty consistently after a week.

For flinching - When I hold my arm out, sometimes I look the other direction. This prevents me from flinching if I get "tested". He's mostly bluff anyway and this takes away some of his intimidation factor. Otherwise I keep eye contact.

For lunging - He only did this for a few days. I would move quickly and then move right back to position. It was my way of saying, "I'm not looking to get bitten, but I'm not backing off either."

I listened to the bird. He is nice enough to shrug me off when he is done with me. In the beginning, it was a quick tap of his beak which was scary. But I learned and paid attention. Now, its a shrug motion. He has learned that I pay attention to his gestures and now he is more subtle with them. He is smart and perfectly willing to communicate if I listen. (I'm trainable, in other words)

I got him away from his cage. He isn't cage bound. In fact he is quite happy to run across the floor and explore his toy basket. But he is a little different close to his cage and far away from it. He is more different when I have him out of the house and out in public. He becomes less independent out in the world. He has to trust me more. It is good bonding. It is great for his confidence and our communication.

We sometimes forget how serious they look. They can't smile because of the way they are shaped, so we have to search for their non-verbal cues that will give us an idea of what kind of mood they are in.

Excitement - wings out slightly, bobbing up and down
Fear - climbing up on my shoulder, seeking higher ground
Irritated, Grumpy - flinching away
Love - Getting in my personal space. Leaning close to my face.
Chattering / Macking beak - That is good scratching.... right there - that spot

A week after I had him he ran across his cage and clicked his beak against my glasses. The room went quiet. All the color drained out of my wife's face. "He tried to bite you in the face." I looked back at the bird. He bobbed his head up and down. "Nope, he was joking around." I bobbed my head up and down. He knew what glasses were and I wasn't paying attention to him. His joking Blue and Gold nature came out.

We are 6 months or so into it and getting along great. Thanks again for the post. It should be required reading for anyone getting a Macaw.
CD
 
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Birdman666

Birdman666

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Presently have six Greenwing Macaw (17 yo), Red Fronted Macaw (12 yo), Red Lored Amazon (17 y.o.), Lilac Crowned Amazon (about 43 y.o.) and a Congo African Grey (11 y.o.)
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And that's exactly it.

People think they're going to get bit, when they're actually playing, they over react, and provoke their own bites.

GOOFY BIRDS AREN'T THEY?!

I'm glad it helped.
 

GraciesMom

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Gracie - CAG | Rookie - BRHP
I LOVE this thread - even tho Gracie is a CAG not a Mac it absolutely helped me understand a lot & certainly gave me a ton of insight into dealing with her "aggression". Once I began handling her with total confidence, no flinching & control never another bite. Combined with your posts on pressure training... it was super successful.

You had a huge hand in her training without ever laying a hand on her :)
We thank you much for that!
 
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Birdman666

Birdman666

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Presently have six Greenwing Macaw (17 yo), Red Fronted Macaw (12 yo), Red Lored Amazon (17 y.o.), Lilac Crowned Amazon (about 43 y.o.) and a Congo African Grey (11 y.o.)
Panama Amazon (1 Y.O.)
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Thanks.

Training a CAG is opposite of training a macaw in a lot of ways.

With a macaw you're trying to set boundaries, and reign in bad behaviors, and tone down the exuberance.

With a CAG, they are so headstrong that you are trying to expand the bird's boundaries and get them to allow more stuff to reign in the bad behaviors. It's the exact opposite of working with a mac. You tend to have to introduce them to things.
 

GraciesMom

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Gracie - CAG | Rookie - BRHP
Thanks.

Training a CAG is opposite of training a macaw in a lot of ways.

With a macaw you're trying to set boundaries, and reign in bad behaviors, and tone down the exuberance.

With a CAG, they are so headstrong that you are trying to expand the bird's boundaries and get them to allow more stuff to reign in the bad behaviors. It's the exact opposite of working with a mac. You tend to have to introduce them to things.

That makes perfect sense to me. Gracie does become more & more outgoing the more she accepts & expands her comfort zone.
Headstrong lol what a nice way to put it ;)
 
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Birdman666

Birdman666

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Buttheads is another way of putting it.... because when you have one, you WILL butt heads with them, because... well you know...

CAGS can give stubborn lessons to a mule...

They're little gray birds for a reason. The little red butts are just for decorative purposes.
 

LoveMyConlan

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Gcc- Conlan... Sun Conure- Mouse...Jenday- Kellan... RLA- Happy...B&G Macaw- Rhage
This is absolutely perfect!! Ha-ha. Would you mind if I printed it out and framed it for my bird room?? I'll make any guests read it Ha-ha
 

DanaC

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I just acquired a very young
Ruby Green Wing. She likes to cuddle and is getting braver about exploring. When she is close she wants to have a finger in her beak. She doesn't put much if any pressure on my finger. She just holds it,,sort of like a human pacifier.
What does this behavior signal?
 

DanaC

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Rosie, who will be 6 months old next week is a Ruby / Green wing. In addition to the above, Rosie in her moments of affection will often just hold my finger in her beak voice with occasional soft "caws" or mumbles.
When she is excited she will grab my fingers and will squeeze harder and harder until I make her stop.
Interestingly when she gets me good to which I respond with a yelp of pain and a "bad bird", she becomes very contrite and offers what I think is a Macaw apology. She lowers her head and buries her head under my neck. It is sort like a "Geez, I didn"t mean to hurt you. I am really sorry.
 

JBassset

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13 year old B&G Macaw
That's sweet.

When I tell Romeo he's being bad he just flares at me which I'm fairly sure is his version of giving me the finger.
 

GaleriaGila

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May 14, 2016
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The Rickeybird, 37-year-old Patagonian Conure
I just really latched onto this thread!
As you know, my Patagonian Conure is 18-20 inches long, very much like a macaw in body/wing/tail appearances, and, was once categorized as a macaw. And, as you put it above, comparing macaws to other birds...
"With a macaw you're trying to set boundaries, and reign in bad behaviors, and tone down the exuberance."
That's exactly my struggle.
I scanned the previous posts. I'm gonna go back and read every word. Thanks in advance!
 

Chelsea304

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Congo African Grey (Echo) & White-Eyed Conure (Regen)
I totally used this advice for a cagebound pair of blue and golds in a pet store! (So sad yall!) But they want a lot of money..anyway...the female lunged and I then pet her beak (which terrified my brother and husband) and then after a bit she started bobbing up and down...so.I did it with her. So sweet.
 
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Birdman666

Birdman666

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Presently have six Greenwing Macaw (17 yo), Red Fronted Macaw (12 yo), Red Lored Amazon (17 y.o.), Lilac Crowned Amazon (about 43 y.o.) and a Congo African Grey (11 y.o.)
Panama Amazon (1 Y.O.)
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I just acquired a very young
Ruby Green Wing. She likes to cuddle and is getting braver about exploring. When she is close she wants to have a finger in her beak. She doesn't put much if any pressure on my finger. She just holds it,,sort of like a human pacifier.
What does this behavior signal?

THAT'S NORMAL. My greenwing used to do that beak my fingers, hold my thumb in her beak while I was scratching her head. When I got the spot, she'd hold it right there. Don't move. Oh, yeah... like that...
 

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