bethellerby

New member
Jul 6, 2022
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Parrots
Work in an aviary
I am a zookeeper that works with quite a few birds including ex-pets. My particular question is in regards to an ex-pet green-cheeked Conure called Eric. For more context he lives alone with a group of Amazons.
Eric is my best little buddy at work and he truly loves me. He flies the length of the enclosure to sit on my shoulder, calls across the park for me, plays copying games, dances with me, burrows into my hair and grooms me. However Eric really loves biting hands and by that I mean that he just finds it really fun. He will notice an opportunity to latch on and just start munching, when he does stop he then immediately returns to being affectionate and cuddly. I don't see it as aggressive behaviour because he doesn't seem to be upset at all, but for a tiny guy he can do some damage!
Through a lot of time spent with him I've had some great achievements, he will now: climb onto weighing scales, hand feed, let me tap his beak as part of a game, gently nibble ears rather than biting them (a previous issue) and step up/off my fingers (built up from using gloves). However, he's still a little terror for suddenly realising there are some tasty hands to munch on and also beyond beak taps there's no touching allowed.
Living alone he's suffering terribly with pin-feathers on his head which I imagine somewhat contributes to his unpredictability but I can't do anything to help him until he accepts that hands aren't for biting.
I was wondering if anyone had any advice for how to progress further with him, as we seem to have hit a wall currently. I would really appreciate some basic "this is how you should react, this is what you should and shouldn't do" too because I'm quite new to birds and don't want to be accidentally encouraging the wrong things!
Thanks!
 

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HeatherG

Well-known member
Apr 25, 2020
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I can suggest that those tiny green cheeks seem to have a short window of tolerance for accommodating humans. I don’t think it’s about wanting to bite, I think they can only be around people for 15 minutes or so before there’s a ‘bite eruption’ and the beak is just so frustrated it needs to let off stress and bite.

I was never able to train my green cheek out of biting and just had to limit interactions to a short period of time. Otherwise I’d get bitten too much. And I do know he liked me, but just got sooo excited.

It’s different from my Quaker, who needs a brief period to settle down and relate to people. So before he’s relaxed he’s pinchy and then he stops pinching and wants to be pet and cuddled.

Perhaps others will weigh in.
 

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