Help!

Mariam.R

New member
Aug 3, 2021
8
7
Parrots
Crumble( Indian ring neck)
Bernie( blue and gold macaw)
Hi everyone I?m new on here and to be honest I registered on here because of my 5 month old blue and gold macaw. We have had him for 2 weeks now. He was actually a gift. He was very timid and distant at the start but he has actually come a long way since then. He doesn?t know how to step up yet. But he will fly to our shoulders or head to be exact. I just have a dilemma. He only loves my husband lol. I have been making his food cleaning his cage giving him treats! But he only like my husband who spends less time with him. If my husband comes to pat him he lowers his head and allows him to scratch for as long as he likes. But if I come to pat him he gets all aggressive and starts to bite me! He will fly to me sometimes but that?s it! I really want him to bond with me as well. But not sure what to do. I heard these birds are one man birds so not sure if I will have any luck! Any advise will be much appreciated:blue1:
 

Scott

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Goffins: Gabby, Abby, Squeaky, Peanut, Popcorn / Citron: Alice / Eclectus: Angel /Timneh Grey: ET / Blue Fronted Amazon: Gonzo /

RIP Gandalf and Big Bird, you are missed.
Macaws are not necessarily one-person birds but often strongly prefer one sex over the other. Bernie may be predisposed to males yet all is not lost! I do want to stress the importance of restricting any bird from shoulder privileges until totally trustworthy. Potential for injury or worse is extreme to sensitive areas. That said, macaws tend to bluff with that magnificent beak and less prone to recklessly chomp. Some great macaw personality background >>>http://www.parrotforums.com/macaws/56384-big-beak-o-phobes-guide-understanding-macaw-beaks.html

Building trust and bonding often a two step forward, one step backward marathon. Work at Bernie's pace, stay positive, cloak your feelings (of possible!) of apprehension. Reward good behaviors with a treat; macaws love various nuts and require a bit more fat than other species. http://www.parrotforums.com/general-parrot-information/49144-tips-bonding-building-trust.html
 
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Mariam.R

New member
Aug 3, 2021
8
7
Parrots
Crumble( Indian ring neck)
Bernie( blue and gold macaw)
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  • #3
Thank you so much Scott. Much appreciated. I will definitely read into those helpful threads. I guess it?s just a waiting game in gaining his trust. Just really want him to like me lol. :)
 

wrench13

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Nov 22, 2015
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Hi and welcome. I suggest that you be THE giver of his favorite treat, first off. do you know what his fav is? Make him earn the treat too, by teaching him little tricks. But it sounds like you & husband need to set ground rules and quickly too, as at 5 months, he is just getting started to owning the roost. Once he hits puberty, your in for a real handful.
CHeck out any and all posts by birdman666 on here, he is a macaw expert, and his advice is worth it's weight!!

BTW, B&G's are among my fav parrots and IRN's are my parrots favorites! Go figure.
 
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Mariam.R

New member
Aug 3, 2021
8
7
Parrots
Crumble( Indian ring neck)
Bernie( blue and gold macaw)
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  • #5
Thankyou wrench 13! Yeah he loves almonds! I?ve been trying to give them to him every time he lets me scratch him without biting. I?ll be sure to look up the links you sent :)
 

Bekki

Supporting Member
Mar 31, 2021
32
14
Parrots
Loki - Sun Conure
Mango - Sun Conure
Ruby - Camelot Macaw
Hello and welcome!! I am also a newbie macaw owner (sortof) and I totally understand what you are saying. I think the advice that Scott and Wrench have given are spot on. I think it's a great sign that she lets you scratch her, my Ruby is just now (3 months in) letting me touch her AT ALL. I know you recently obtained her, but do you know how old she is? Based on research I've done age can play into some behaviors.

I mainly wanted to respond to your concern about her "choosing" your husband even though you are putting in the work. I totally understand - Ruby has a "person", her original owner who happens to be my cousin. You can read my posts about Ruby for clarification. But Ruby bonded with my cousin and responds to her like she responds to no one else.

Keeping all of that in mind, I do EVERYTHING for that girl, all feedings, all cleanings, I spend the most time with her etc. But even though she hasn't "picked" me per se - it makes the small victories even more sweet.

I am the one she looks to for reassurance when she hears new sounds, or new people come over, or someone offers her a new treat. I am the first one that she let touch her beak and feet (other than my cousin) I am the one that causes her to begin calling if I walk out of the room. I enjoy those sweet victories and her trust in me.

I began building that trust using stick and clicker training, I would recommend using that combined with wrench's advice on the treats.

The most difficult part, at least for me, is just being patient - investing the time and waiting patiently for the little wins.
 

Scott

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Aug 21, 2010
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San Diego, California USA, Earth, Milky Way Galaxy
Parrots
Goffins: Gabby, Abby, Squeaky, Peanut, Popcorn / Citron: Alice / Eclectus: Angel /Timneh Grey: ET / Blue Fronted Amazon: Gonzo /

RIP Gandalf and Big Bird, you are missed.
Hello and welcome!! I am also a newbie macaw owner (sortof) and I totally understand what you are saying. I think the advice that Scott and Wrench have given are spot on. I think it's a great sign that she lets you scratch her, my Ruby is just now (3 months in) letting me touch her AT ALL. I know you recently obtained her, but do you know how old she is? Based on research I've done age can play into some behaviors.

I mainly wanted to respond to your concern about her "choosing" your husband even though you are putting in the work. I totally understand - Ruby has a "person", her original owner who happens to be my cousin. You can read my posts about Ruby for clarification. But Ruby bonded with my cousin and responds to her like she responds to no one else.

Keeping all of that in mind, I do EVERYTHING for that girl, all feedings, all cleanings, I spend the most time with her etc. But even though she hasn't "picked" me per se - it makes the small victories even more sweet.

I am the one she looks to for reassurance when she hears new sounds, or new people come over, or someone offers her a new treat. I am the first one that she let touch her beak and feet (other than my cousin) I am the one that causes her to begin calling if I walk out of the room. I enjoy those sweet victories and her trust in me.

I began building that trust using stick and clicker training, I would recommend using that combined with wrench's advice on the treats.

The most difficult part, at least for me, is just being patient - investing the time and waiting patiently for the little wins.

Thank you for first-hand advice most applicable to the OP's concerns. Linking your superb thread here: http://www.parrotforums.com/macaws/...houghts-pleas-advice-adjusting-life-ruby.html
 
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Mariam.R

New member
Aug 3, 2021
8
7
Parrots
Crumble( Indian ring neck)
Bernie( blue and gold macaw)
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  • #8
Thanks Becky! Yeah I have been doing my research and looking up the links provided. He/she is 5 months the breeder said he hadn?t really spent much time with him so I don?t think he had much human interaction. Like if my husband is around Bernie is more inclined to let me scratch him and on rare occasions and I catch him off guard he will let me give him a little scratch. Yes patience! That?s definitely not my strong suit especially when it comes to animals cause I?m usually the favourite!. Really appreciate your response and will be sure to keep a positive mind set!
 

wrench13

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The dynamics of a household when a parrot is in the mix can be complicated. Yes, they can have a favorite person, but that does not preclude him having a relationship with others in the family. I'll use my own to illustrate. I am Salty's person. I can hold him upside down in my hand, play rough with him (like pretend fighting), and I am the primary trainer when it come to the nightly training sessions. I still get nipped occasionally (more so during mating season). My wife does most maintenance, changing papers, cleaning the cage, giving some meals & water. She gets kisses, a hand shake and very occasionally she can give Salty a scratch. She gets nipped even less than I do, because she knows Salty's limit with her, and does not push the envelope any further. Here is where thigs get odd. My oldest son Erik is mostly Salty's favorite person. Erik can hold him, give scratches, and if offered my shoulder or Erik's, Salty will 95% of the time go to Erik's. BUT - Erik still gets nipped (because he doesn't read Salty's body language all too well), and Salty will not do any training with Erik if I am away. He WILL train for Geri. SO who is the favorite person in this dynamic? As you can see, it's fuzzy, which is what I wanted to illustrate. SO yeah, keep up being the giver of the All Time, Highly Regarded Treat. Keep pushing the envelope with him, incrementally so. Family dynamics can shift, with enough patience and technique. Good luck!!
 

Bekki

Supporting Member
Mar 31, 2021
32
14
Parrots
Loki - Sun Conure
Mango - Sun Conure
Ruby - Camelot Macaw
Thank you for telling me again how old he is - after I posted I went back and read your initial post again and had to slap myself on the forehead when I saw you had already shared that.

I do have a few questions for you! Please forgive me if you have provided this information and I have somehow missed it. I blame my (self-diagnosed) ADD.

You never mentioned his name (or somehow I skimmed over it again), have you named him? (After I posted this I saw on your profile - Bernie - such a cute name!!)

Have you owned birds before, or is this your first? (After I posted this I saw in your profile - you have an Indian Ring Neck - they have the sweetest voices)

When you say he flies at you, have noticed yet what prompts that? When he flies at you, is he trying to land on you?

My Ruby is just a year old - so we both have youngins!! At the very beginning there were a few instances of her flying at me. For background, her person kept her cut to discourage flying. I have a different outlook on it, and have been letting her feathers grow - I want to her to have full flight capabilities. Neither viewpoint is wrong or right, IMO, it's a personal decision.

The first time she flew at me was before I brought her to my home. I had walked away from her and suddenly I hear flapping and feel a tug on my hair. Her hold on my hair didn't last and she launched off of me and to the ground. I was just baffled by it - especially since I offered to let her step up and she didn't want any part of that, but we had only known each other for about a week at that point.

Other times she would fly at me, mostly if she got startled. But she would always stop herself before getting to me and let herself land on the ground. She did begin accepting my step up offers. I made sure I talked calmly to her (I think she scared herself with those launchings) and then I would promptly put her back in her safe place. I wanted her to know she could trust me, that step ups weren't bad things.

A few weeks ago I was in her bird room and there was nothing to frighten her, but I had my back turned and I heard her launch herself from her cage, I turned around and offered my arm - and she took it!! I honestly whooped out loud, which kinda startled her, but then I got control of myself and praised her and gave her a treat, trying to reinforce that behavior. I also waited a very long time before returning her to her cage talking to her and trying to get used to her weight (she is MUCH heavier than my sunnies).

I share this because part of me wonders if her attempts at flying at me have all been "tests". I know she's trying to figure me out as much as I'm trying to figure her out, and maybe I'm being ridiculous, but I think she tests me A LOT.

One more question, it sounds like she has lots of great out of cage time with you and your husband. Is her cage in your living space, or is it in a separate room?
 

GaleriaGila

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May 14, 2016
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The Rickeybird, 37-year-old Patagonian Conure
I'm so glad you're here!
My best piece of advice... stick with us and keep reading. This Community is a wonderful source of support and information.
Welcome!

9lhIlM0.jpg
 
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Mariam.R

New member
Aug 3, 2021
8
7
Parrots
Crumble( Indian ring neck)
Bernie( blue and gold macaw)
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #12
Yes I totally understand what your saying. When my husband is home that’s his guy he flys to him let’s him give him plenty of cuddles and scratches even kisses! And when he’s not home I’m his guy but not to that extent lol. He constantly flys to me let’s me give him treats and if I’m really luck maybe just maybe a scratch or two. Work in progress i guess. I have made it my mission for him to like me lol. We are in Sydney australia and we are in lockdown here so I’m taking full advantage of the time we have now.
 
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Mariam.R

New member
Aug 3, 2021
8
7
Parrots
Crumble( Indian ring neck)
Bernie( blue and gold macaw)
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #13
@bekki . Yes so when he flys to me there isn’t anything prompting he kind of just does. And if I call him he will fly to me maybe 80% of the time. But at the same time he won’t let me give him any scratches. We have his cage in the living room so he’s constantly around us. His wings aren’t clipped and want to keep it that way. Looking I to getting a harness and doing some training. He’s out of the cage pretty much all day and only goes in when he want to eat and at bed time we put him in and cover his cage.
 
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Bekki

Supporting Member
Mar 31, 2021
32
14
Parrots
Loki - Sun Conure
Mango - Sun Conure
Ruby - Camelot Macaw
@bekki . Yes so when he flys to me there isn’t anything prompting he kind of just does. And if I call him he will fly to me maybe 80% of the time. But at the same time he won’t let me give him any scratches. We have his cage in the living room so he’s constantly around us. His wings aren’t clipped and want to keep it that way. Looking I to getting a harness and doing some training. He’s out of the cage pretty much all day and only goes in when he want to eat and at bed time we put him in and cover his cage.
It sounds to me like you are doing all the right things!! I can totally understand your impatience, but I think everything that you are doing (and if you add in training) it will all pay off eventually. Have you found out Bernie's preferred treat yet? (I'm curious because just when I think I've figured Ruby's out she changes her mind). Please keep us updated as things progress, and more pictures are always encouraged!
 
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Mariam.R

New member
Aug 3, 2021
8
7
Parrots
Crumble( Indian ring neck)
Bernie( blue and gold macaw)
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #15
It sounds to me like you are doing all the right things!! I can totally understand your impatience, but I think everything that you are doing (and if you add in training) it will all pay off eventually. Have you found out Bernie's preferred treat yet? (I'm curious because just when I think I've figured Ruby's out she changes her mind). Please keep us updated as things progress, and more pictures are always encouraged!
Thanks bekki. Yes he loves almonds and walnuts in the shell! So have been giving him plenty.
 

WakaWaka

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Jun 27, 2017
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Arika - Blue & Gold Macaw
I'm joining in a little late here.
First off congratulations on on welcoming a highly intelligent and sensitive creature into your lives.
Patience and understanding how to read your Macaw's body language is very important now and also later in your relationship.

I would offer a simple suggestion like reading to him in a calm voice.
Take a laptop or tablet, look up the posts from Birdman and read his advice and responses of others. Something simple like that will help establish a bond and will also help you absorb some tips :)
Read some parrot food tips, health information, anything.... once in a while, put a little emphasis on a few words, making it sound fun. They will pick up on the tone of your voice.

When Arika first came home, we had no problems handling her but were still thankful for a lot of the advice from Birdman666 and others here on the forum. I'd have to say that the knowledge that he has shared have helped many.

Find his favorite treat and use it sparingly as a reward for good behavior.
Arika loves Almonds, macadamias, and other nuts but be careful, they can cause weight gain.
We will cut the nuts into 5 or 6 small peaces to use a reward treats.

If you haven't already weighed him, establish a baseline and record it in a spreadsheet or on paper.
Make the event of getting weighed fun, positive vocal reinforcement and followed with a pleasant "Good Boy"!! and a treat for good behavior.
Weigh him every week and the same time, I think morning is better... before breakfast and after a morning poo :)
Keep track of gains and looses as it may be helpful on future vet visits.
Speaking of vet visits, I hope you have one available and have see a Certified Avial Vet (CAV) for a first health check.

Bottom line, there are many experienced people here on the forum and you will most likely get a lot of advice. Mostly, patience... and positive reinforcement are the two best pieces of advice that I can offer.

We've been macaw owners (I really don't like to use that word... owners) for around 34 years and we never stop learning. Every day brings something new.

Please keep up posted on your progress and don't be afraid to share results and ask questions.
 

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