My bird is afraid of me... Parting ways with my best friend?

Nico is 19 years old. I adopted him when he was 16 from the shelter I volunteered at. He has plucked for years prior to me adopting him. His vet informed me his feathers may never grow back which I’m fine with. As long as he’s a happy boy that’s all that matters. It’s springish so all of my parrots of course are hormonal, and they are molting. It’s like a double whammy for them. Nico is also constantly contact calling. He’s eating like a hog too. My female conure is also at the bottom of her cage right now trying to pull up papers. She’s a little sassy frass when she’s hormonal. Parrot owners have to stick together! We know spring and certain times of the year are rough. It eventually gets better but there are times you just need a deep breath.
Ty So Much For Replying & Letting Me Know He's A Happy Boy! I Wasn't Aware They May Not get Their Feathers back. But Like You Said, If He's a Healthy, Happy Boy Than Not a Big Deal, Just Had No Idea they didn't get them back. If It's Spring-Ish Does He Get Cold? I've Seen where people have their little Sweaters on, It's Cute! But I'm Sure it's More to Keep Their Body Temps Up too. Yes, Paco Seems to Do this Every year, with this Hormonal Thing. Since We've Had Her for So Long, She's Never Had an Egg but We were told She'd Try. Wow. That Was Something to be told that. We Didn't know if She was Missing Having a Mate or What. So True About They Do get Over Certain Things, These Times of the Year! Yes, We Do Need to Stick Together. We have 3 Rescue Pooches too, Had 4 Until Thanksgiving Day in 2022. Lost Our Princess, She'd Been Through So Much & I Swear I Think because We let them Do Surgery On Her it Caused the Growth to "Turn" Into Cancer & then that was the SPREAD. There Was "No Cancer" When They did the "Removal" of the Growth, So They Said. But After The Surgery & Removing Her Teeth, You know, For HER health, She began about a Year later getting sick. They Said it was Pancreatitis, Ugh No. It Was Obviously Cancer then. Long Story, Just Heart Breaking With Every Loss. It's Why I Admitted I Still Miss Stella the Fella Umbrella Cockatoo We Had. Didn't Lose Her to Sickness, Lost Her because I "thought" I Was Doing Right By Her & Since She Only Wanted me, I Was Sick, One of Our Pooches Was Sick & Soon Would be gone too, But It Was Still a Mistake to Rehome Stella & Even though I Tried to Make Sure I Could Get Her Back, They Sold Her. Again, These Poor Birds, Dogs, Cats, All the Animals, they Trust So Much & they're Dependent on Us to Make the Right Decision FOR THEM. They Deserve for that Choice to be What's Best For Them, But, Sometimes WE make a Mistake. They're those However, that Pay for it. Ugh. So, I Am Glad They Sold her, I heard She was Sold for $2000, Hopefully if that's True, They'll have at Least Appreciated Her Since She Wasn't "Given" Away. Ok, Don't Want to be a Downer, Just Wished for So Many Years for A Better Set of "Enforced"...Laws to Protect those Who Cannot Protect Or Fend For Themselves. Children Thankfully Don't Get Dumped, At Least I Hope Not, But Animals Are Always the 1st to Go. Many Stress Out because of All that. So that's why I Asked about Nico. Thank You So Much for Telling Me He's A Happy, Healthy Bird! NICE.
 
Agreed. Got to watch how you give treats. That's how he and I have been training for years now. Right now, he is being a tricky little buzzard in that he grabs the treat and my fingers. He gives it just a little lunge to get my fingers along with the treat. No blood today, but the top layer of skin sliced through. We've been buddies for years and there have been thousands of treats without trouble. But not now. Weird. And he doesn't seem to be crazy hormonal -- this seems more like fear of me. It's hard to describe.

He has been relentlessly calling for me all day from downstairs, asking for everything: "let's have the snacks", "let's take a bath", "watch the doggies", and "watch squirrels". When I enter the room, he "begs" for me to come over, crawls down the outside of the cage to face/shoulder level and immediately scowls, growls, lunges and bites. All within a few milliseconds. WTH? I now have a couple of bites to my face, a few to my shoulder and a few bites to my hands. Nothing requiring stitches, but it's not not pretty.
The best way I can describe Toby’s situation is that he is sort of like a hormonal teenager. He isn’t exactly in control. He is feeling a bunch of new things, and he’s expressing himself. He will truly come out of it but it may take some time. I am not trying to be age bias but it’s the only way I know how to describe the situation.
 
Ty So Much For Replying & Letting Me Know He's A Happy Boy! I Wasn't Aware They May Not get Their Feathers back. But Like You Said, If He's a Healthy, Happy Boy Than Not a Big Deal, Just Had No Idea they didn't get them back. If It's Spring-Ish Does He Get Cold? I've Seen where people have their little Sweaters on, It's Cute! But I'm Sure it's More to Keep Their Body Temps Up too. Yes, Paco Seems to Do this Every year, with this Hormonal Thing. Since We've Had Her for So Long, She's Never Had an Egg but We were told She'd Try. Wow. That Was Something to be told that. We Didn't know if She was Missing Having a Mate or What. So True About They Do get Over Certain Things, These Times of the Year! Yes, We Do Need to Stick Together. We have 3 Rescue Pooches too, Had 4 Until Thanksgiving Day in 2022. Lost Our Princess, She'd Been Through So Much & I Swear I Think because We let them Do Surgery On Her it Caused the Growth to "Turn" Into Cancer & then that was the SPREAD. There Was "No Cancer" When They did the "Removal" of the Growth, So They Said. But After The Surgery & Removing Her Teeth, You know, For HER health, She began about a Year later getting sick. They Said it was Pancreatitis, Ugh No. It Was Obviously Cancer then. Long Story, Just Heart Breaking With Every Loss. It's Why I Admitted I Still Miss Stella the Fella Umbrella Cockatoo We Had. Didn't Lose Her to Sickness, Lost Her because I "thought" I Was Doing Right By Her & Since She Only Wanted me, I Was Sick, One of Our Pooches Was Sick & Soon Would be gone too, But It Was Still a Mistake to Rehome Stella & Even though I Tried to Make Sure I Could Get Her Back, They Sold Her. Again, These Poor Birds, Dogs, Cats, All the Animals, they Trust So Much & they're Dependent on Us to Make the Right Decision FOR THEM. They Deserve for that Choice to be What's Best For Them, But, Sometimes WE make a Mistake. They're those However, that Pay for it. Ugh. So, I Am Glad They Sold her, I heard She was Sold for $2000, Hopefully if that's True, They'll have at Least Appreciated Her Since She Wasn't "Given" Away. Ok, Don't Want to be a Downer, Just Wished for So Many Years for A Better Set of "Enforced"...Laws to Protect those Who Cannot Protect Or Fend For Themselves. Children Thankfully Don't Get Dumped, At Least I Hope Not, But Animals Are Always the 1st to Go. Many Stress Out because of All that. So that's why I Asked about Nico. Thank You So Much for Telling Me He's A Happy, Healthy Bird! NICE.
Sadly pluckers who have been doing it for years, and made the situation habitual won’t get their feathers back. Nico will unfortunately always look this way. He has a collar, sweaters, a heated perch, and a heated snuggle up warmer. I am very careful with him in winter. I am sorry to hear about your umbrella cockatoo. I can’t imagine the guilt with that. Losing pets is never easy. When I lost my shih tzu I was heart broken but I knew he was really ill. He was truly suffering, and he was shaking terribly because he was so scared as he had no hearing or sight left. He had a tumor in his throat that without a doubt had spread. He’d dropped so much weight that he looked like a skeleton. He shivered constantly. I didn’t have a choice but to let him go. It took me awhile to find peace with it. At least you can give @WingDing a different perspective if he chooses to give up his Ekkie as you experienced a great deal of guilt giving up your umbrella. I know with Charlie my sun conure his owner asked for photos of him for awhile after I adopted him. He just texted Charlie on his birthday this year. When I picked him up it was a duplex, and they had Charlie covered. Sun conures scream very very loud, and I can’t exaggerate that enough. It’s a consistent scream too. I already had a Jenday that is just as loud so I didn’t mind. I highly suspect that the previous owner didn’t have a choice but to give up Charlie. He was probably getting noise complaints. It hard because if you purchase a bird from a pet store they aren’t always transparent about how loud some parrots can be. Nextly if you go to YouTube and watch parrot videos it gives people a glimpse of how cute parrots are. It usually doesn’t show how messy, loud, and destructive they can be. It takes so much time, and work to “tame” a parrot. There’s a lack of education with parrots for sure, and both the owners & parrots pay the consequence to that.
 
I’m sorry you feel it’s come to this, I know it’s not been easy. Have you not thought about hiring a trainer? Here in Houston I’m aware of at least two parrot trainers. And of course there’s birdtricks, who offer video consults and in home training.
 
I think you are wise in seeking some consultation. I can tell you that this year, my usually calm ( for an amazon) has been locked into some kind of extended mating season. Humping toys, perches, anything, Jekyll/Hyde behavior out the door. I think Ive been bitten more in this year then all 9 other years combined. Hormone season is usually done by Feb or March at the latest. I blame the wacky weather up here in NY, we barely had a winter, and spring was really early. I;ve been mowing lawns sine mid April! My usual baby spider season (my house has loads of house spiders - I dont mind em) started a few weeks ago, way early. When I am gone even for 1 evening, Salty is a monster the next day, cajoling and treats are the order of the day.

But dont give up on this little guy, he does care for you, thats obvious. Patience young Jedi, this too shall pass, I guarantee it.
 
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Latest developments: No change to Toby's behavior. Toby calls for me constantly, begs me to take him upstairs to my office but he turns into the monster when I get close to his cage.

Now, the good news. I contacted the National Parrot Rescue & Preservation Foundation (NPRPF) and they are going to help us. They were recommended by Pamela Clark when she was working with us last year. They are going to board Toby for a month to get him out of this cycle of behavior and train him. Very importantly, that will give me relief from the constant stress. Then, a behaviorist (not metioning who at this point) will help us in our interractions with Toby. At any point, we can decide to relinquish him. The cost of boarding and training is very reasonable. So, that is the plan.

This will also give us the opportunity to decide if keeping Toby is right for me and my wife. I never chose the job of caring for Toby -- it just landed on me. Now I can make the decision more objectively. My stress level has already subsided.

Please wish us the best!
 
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Latest developments: No change to Toby's behavior. Toby calls for me constantly, begs me to take him upstairs to my office but he turns into the monster when I get close to his cage.

Now, the good news. I contacted the National Parrot Rescue & Preservation Foundation (NPRPF) and they are going to help us. They were recommended by Pamela Clark when she was working with us last year. They are going to board Toby for a month to get him out of this cycle of behavior and train him. Very importantly, that will give me relief from the constant stress. Then, a behaviorist (not metioning who at this point) will help us in our interractions with Toby. At any point, we can decide to relinquish him. The cost of boarding and training is very reasonable. So, that is the plan.

This will also give us the opportunity to decide if keeping Toby is right for me and my wife. I never chose the job of caring for Toby -- it just landed on me. Now I can make the decision more objectively. My stress level has already subsided.

Please wish us the best!
I will hope the best for Toby, you, and your family. I really hope this helps. Ekkie’s are so incredible ❤️❤️❤️

Let us know of the progress he makes, and what you learn.
 
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It's been 1 full week without our 2 birds, Toby and Midori. We only made a small dent in the cleaning and extermination process we need to complete before we bring either of them back into our home. I still have bird mites irritating me so they are still in our home.

I realize now that I was overwhelmed with having 5 pets in our home (2 dogs, 2 parrots and a rabbit). After boarding the birds last week, I had to put down one of our puppy dogs last week due to a neurological issue and heart murmur. What a heartbreak. I named her Daisy when she was a pup because of her sweet demeanor. We all miss her.

So, we are down to only one pet: a healthy but older Chinese Crested Powder Puff. It is freeing to focus our attention on him and he is loving it even though he obviously misses his companion, Daisy.

I'm still working through whether Toby the Eclectus should come back or be adopted out. I need to go visit him and see if we can mend our relationship. "Emotional intelligence" is very important during this time.
 
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It's been 1 full week without our 2 birds, Toby and Midori. We only made a small dent in the cleaning and extermination process we need to complete before we bring either of them back into our home. I still have bird mites irritating me so they are still in our home.

I realize now that I was overwhelmed with having 5 pets in our home (2 dogs, 2 parrots and a rabbit). After boarding the birds last week, I had to put down one of our puppy dogs last week due to a neurological issue and heart murmur. What a heartbreak. I named her Daisy when she was a pup because of her sweet demeanor. We all miss her.

So, we are down to only one pet: a healthy but older Chinese Crested Powder Puff. It is freeing to focus our attention on him and he is loving it even though he obviously misses his companion, Daisy.

I'm still working through whether Toby the Eclectus should come back or be adopted out. I need to go visit him and see if we can mend our relationship. "Emotional intelligence" is very important during this time.
I’m very sorry to hear about Daisy. It’s heartbreaking losing a family member. When we put down our Shih Tzu last year it really changed our German Shepherd. They had been together over 10 years. It takes time to heal. Be kind to yourself.

Hopefully your visit with Toby goes well. I will forewarn you. If you are emotional at all Toby may be able to pick up on it. All of my parrots are emotion toppers (kind of like story toppers). If I’m sad, mad, excited, or whatever emotion I am feeling they are going to be even more extreme with their emotions. I try to remain calm whenever I interact with them.
 
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I’m very sorry to hear about Daisy. It’s heartbreaking losing a family member. When we put down our Shih Tzu last year it really changed our German Shepherd. They had been together over 10 years. It takes time to heal. Be kind to yourself.

Hopefully your visit with Toby goes well. I will forewarn you. If you are emotional at all Toby may be able to pick up on it. All of my parrots are emotion toppers (kind of like story toppers). If I’m sad, mad, excited, or whatever emotion I am feeling they are going to be even more extreme with their emotions. I try to remain calm whenever I interact with them.

Oh my. Thanks for your concern and kindness, KME. Thank you. Thank you. I appreciate your kind words and concern.

I don't know what to respond with. I have decided that my family and career are much better without birds. Darn. It is killing me. I love the birds, but it is so obvious to my immediate family, my extended family, and my my coworkers that I am better at being a family man, a boss, and a servant to everyone around me now that my bird friends are out of the house. Shoot. It burns me and haunts my dreams. Literally every night. I miss these guys so much.

It makes me tear-up everyday because of the relationships the birds and I have built up. Complex, rewarding, sometimes quirky relationships. But, I think we will need to leave our birds in the capable hands of the birds rescue and hope they will find their persons. Frankly, I have no energy to even think of building things back.

The one thing that seals the deal is the bird mite problem. Lot's of research and my experience shows that the mites will be persistent for months in our home. We will have to treat every 2-3 weeks. The mites may be around 6 months to a year before they are eliminated. The presence of pet birds would make it a much more difficult problem.

So, I think I will not be participating here. It kills me. This forum has been a lifeline, but in the end I know that my family will be better off, and the birds will be better off. That is what is seems like. Ugh.
 
Oh my. Thanks for your concern and kindness, KME. Thank you. Thank you. I appreciate your kind words and concern.

I don't know what to respond with. I have decided that my family and career are much better without birds. Darn. It is killing me. I love the birds, but it is so obvious to my immediate family, my extended family, and my my coworkers that I am better at being a family man, a boss, and a servant to everyone around me now that my bird friends are out of the house. Shoot. It burns me and haunts my dreams. Literally every night. I miss these guys so much.

It makes me tear-up everyday because of the relationships the birds and I have built up. Complex, rewarding, sometimes quirky relationships. But, I think we will need to leave our birds in the capable hands of the birds rescue and hope they will find their persons. Frankly, I have no energy to even think of building things back.

The one thing that seals the deal is the bird mite problem. Lot's of research and my experience shows that the mites will be persistent for months in our home. We will have to treat every 2-3 weeks. The mites may be around 6 months to a year before they are eliminated. The presence of pet birds would make it a much more difficult problem.

So, I think I will not be participating here. It kills me. This forum has been a lifeline, but in the end I know that my family will be better off, and the birds will be better off. That is what is seems like. Ugh.
I can relate to what you are saying. Yesterday I went on the river for the day. I had to leave early to get home to get the birds to bed, and make sure their water dishes are clean. I have to change out their fresh food bowls before things start to spoil. Not to mention because I wasn’t able to get them out the entire day they are more challenging today for me. Parrots are SO much work. Some are more work than others. I never recommend an Ekkie as a pet just because I have one. I adore him but oh my gosh is he ever a handful. It’s like having a child. Not to mention the amount of time you have to spend with them to even get them to do tricks, talk, and all of the cute things seen on the internet. It comes with so much work, and effort. It’s a hard choice to make to give up any pet. I’m glad you were able to find peace with the situation.
 
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Midori the Nanday conure came back to the house from being boarded for 3 weeks. He was thrilled to be back with the family. He is such an easy going bird and loves interacting with everyone in the family, except maybe the dog :) The two of them are never out together, but Midori will shimmy down and nip the dog's tail if it get close to the cage bars.

The rescue folks tell us that Toby the Eclectus is training well with no aggression issues. The bird and I certainly had issues that I wasn't able to figure out. My wife wants to bring him home, but I am not so sure. I know that I will not be able to take care of him the way that I used to. We'll make a decision in a week.
 
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Just curious if these aggression issues started around the same time that you began treating for mites? Most insecticides kill bugs by affecting the nervous system. In recent years, with the rise of spot- on and chewable flea and tick treatments, especially for dogs and cats, there has been increased awareness that these types of products can potentially have negative neurological effects on animals. The maker of a popular chewable flea and tick treatment was even recently ordered by the FDA to include neurological issues as a potential side effect for their product. Most animals seem to have little to no reaction to these insecticides ( at appropriate doses) but others for some reason are extremely sensitive. I don’t know what you used to treat the birds/ cages etc. but I would be curious to hear if the aggression in any way seems to coincide with the treatment for mites. Of course, I realize this may all be completely unrelated but I wanted to just put another thought out there. Wishing you the best no matter your decision ❤️.
 

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