Galah Cockatoo does not like me anymore


New member
May 6, 2021
Hello everyone,

Two day ago, we bought a 2 year old female Galah Cockatoo. When we went to look at her she was very happy to see me. I could take her out of the cage, dance with her and pet her. I wasn't scared of her for a minute. She even did not really want to sit with my boyfriend, she wanted to stay with me.

But after a day she totally turned around. She wants to cuddle with my boyfriend all the time. She makes purring sounds to him and he can pet her like she's been living with us for her whole life. When she sees me, she flights on my head and grabbes me. When my boyfriend tries to place her on my arm, she bites me.

We clipped her wings (well a professional did) so she can't fly on my head all of a sudden anymore. But she keeps biting me and looks at me funny. I feel myself getting more scared of her which I don't want, but she really betrayed my trust a bit.

She has a big cage with toys and is very good over all. But I just don't get how she goes from REALLY liking me to REALLY not liking me in a day.

I've had my flighted senegal parrot for a year now and I'm used to bites but she's just a bit more intimidating. I know nobody will have a 10 minute fix for this problem but I can use some tips on how to go on from this point.


Staff member
Super Moderator
Parrot of the Month 🏆
Nov 22, 2015
Isle of Long, NY
Yellow Shoulder Amazon, Salty
I don't purport to understand Galahs, but with an Amazon, you bribe your way back into their good graces.


Well-known member
Jul 11, 2018
Umbrella Cockatoo- 15? years old..I think?
You either were in the honeymoon phase , did something to scare her or just aren't her preferred person at the moment. It normally takes weeks- months to build move at her pace and just slow down. If she hesitates or doesn't want to be held or fed by hand, that's fine *do not push*. Try just associating yourself with low stress, non-invasive interaction and when she decides she is interested, follow her cues. Birds do pick their people and you never know whether you will be that person. I'm not saying that you will always be out of her inner circle, but she was so new to your home that she didn't know either of you (she's still figuring out her preferences in a very new environment).

Make sure she is getting 12 hours sleep each night on a set schedule in a dark and quiet space--- if you cover the cage but are still walking around in the same room etc etc, she is likely not sleeping as well as you think. Sleep regulates hormones and immune health, as well as mood (by default). A bird with an improper sleep schedule is more prone to anxious, aggressive behaviors and they also are less healthy because of it. They also need at least 3 -4 hours out of cage each day. If you cannot touch her to put her back in, see if you can time it in such a way that she goes back in on her own (but don't lock the cage the second she goes in or she will detect a pattern and avoid going in on her own (if she thinks you will lock her up each time). This is EXTREMELY important for cockatoos (who need more sleep than the 10 required by most other parrots)

Cockatoos are complicated and you clipped her wings-- that can cause trauma to them (they do not like it and she has always been able to fly, so you took away one of her defenses when you did that, but that may be completely unrelated to her shift in behavior...It does impact them, but some care more than others.

Please be acutely aware of the fact that you do not want to be stroking, cuddling etc.. You can pet on the head and neck, but the rest is sexual and cockatoos are fairly prone to hyper-sexual behavior when stimulated by inappropriate petting and/or shadowy spaces. Galahs mature sexually around 2-4 .If you start something with them, they expect it to continue, so do not do things that will be unhealthy and unsustainable. Also, no boxes, huts, tents, in blankets, couch cushions, under furniture, in drawers, under low ledges/book shelves, hampers, cartons, blankets, towels etc. If it is shadowy, avoid it. Laps are often too nesty/shadowy, btw (especially if she is leaning into either of your chests ). Yes, I know they love them, but they are a hormonal trigger and can intensify obsessions with breeding etc)

You need to tell your boyfriend to be very careful indulging her for too long, petting her other than on the head and neck etc.. This sounds like it could be the start of a sexual interest (which they are ALWAYS looking for but should never ever be indulged, as it can lead to extreme aggression, screaming and self-mutilation.. PLEASE heed my warning about touching and snuggling....

You should never be super used to bites....If your bird is biting you, it is not the bird's fault, but it's also a sign that something is amiss in terms of how your are handling the bird etc. My cockatoo bites me maybe 1-5x yearly these days (and only when we are visiting family--the bites only happen at my parents' house when overstimulated)......You need to consider this with your senegal too. It's super important to go at their pace and not put them in situations where they will feel forced to bite-- biting is a last resort in the wild...The problem is, when they have ample opportunities to bite, they also get better at gauging how it impacts people and sometimes it can be inadvertently reinforced by our reactions. You shouldn't be getting bitten all the time unless you have reinforced biting somehow or ignoring cues to the point that your bird feels the need to bite.

Please read my responses on this thread: <-- aba and trust building can help your overcome a lot.

Here is a thread to read: <- I know you aren't totally new to parrots (although it sounds like it has only been a year or so with your senegal), so please see my reply to OP and make sure you are doing all of that because it can have a huge impact on success vs misery. Many people who own parrots are unaware of a lot of what I say on that thread, and that is part of the reason they get re-homed at such high rates.

If she isn't into you, respect that and it will take you much farther than trying to push things. Get her used to you from afar, take it slow...try interacting when your boyfriend isn't around for a bit...Remember, just because you feel something is positive, your bird may not. A lot of people hang their hands in cages and wait for an hour (still as possible) hoping their bird will take food from them...That type of attitude is the wrong approach because that whole hour, they are stressing the bird and invading space (so, while the food in this example SEEMS positive from the human point of view, it is not for the parrot, as they would readily take it without hesitation if it were positive for them). Food may still be positive for the same bird, just not yet in the person's hand.

With cockatoos, it is also super important that you set boundaries--- do not allow her to sit on you all day everyday etc unless you can keep that up forever. Even then, it is so important that they learn to be alone from time to time and entertain themselves (this needs to be taught) I can post another link on that. Cockatoos are sometimes called velcro birds because they can get so obsessive, but you need to be careful as to how much you indulge them. At puberty, their intensity amplifies and that can make a home a precarious place if the bird has an obsessive interest turned sexual.. Your bird is at that age...

Given the short time you have had her, this seems normal for her to not like you much , BUT I am telling you about hormones because that will become a major issue if not kept in check by you and your boyfriend.

Here is a video :
[ame=""]What a HORMONAL BIRD Looks Like!! - YouTube[/ame]

You and your boyfriend should really try to make sure your interaction around her revolves more around games or activities and less around touching. Petting shouldn't be the main form of interaction, because when super hormonal, any petting at all can even be too much...even if it is on the head and neck. That is one of the reasons why you need to keep it in check to avoid it getting to the point that the very sight of him gets her going sexually. It can happen.

If your bird ever behaves sexually (quivering, certain noses, raised butt, rubbing butt, certain beak rubbing behaviors etc) change the subject immediately and disengage/do not keep holding her. You do not want to send her mixed signals about your relationship. Please note that what often seems super sweet and loving is actually hormonal/sexual behavior and you don't always get the obvious behaviors I listed above. Sometimes, a sexually stimulated cockatoo will just start screaming more, biting more etc (even without those obvious cues). That is why you must be hyper-vigilant of any triggers, as well as your own behaviors (and the behaviors of others in the house--it can take very little in some cases to get them going).

You will get bitten a few times at some point, but this guy is correct and this is what I am saying about biting:
[ame=""]Stop Normalizing Parrot Biting! - YouTube[/ame]
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