My DYH Amazon sent me to the ER, and I’m having trouble moving past it

CABird.Dad

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Sorry for the long post, but I want to give as much details as possible because I’ve never experienced this with my previous DYH Amazons. I have two DYH Amazon siblings. I have been a part of their lives for 15 years since I was a teenager. They have lived with me for about a year and a half now. The girl has always been a moody thing, so I have always given her her space. I only play with her when she shows signs that she’s in a good mood. Simply put, she’s not a hands on bird and will give warnings that she doesn’t want to be touched. Her brother has always been the opposite. He demands attention, so we have always been very close. I would scratch his belly, we would hold hands, he would tell me about his day (and vice versa), and he would expect good morning and good night kisses. Well, last month he was trying to get my attention, so I went over to give him his kiss and he decided to grab onto my lip. There were no warning signs or anything out of the ordinary. He was super calm when he did this and didn’t make any sounds. However, it resulted in an ER visit that required reconstruction of my lip by a specialist because he left a portion of it hanging. I don’t trust him at all anymore. When he tries to get my attention, I don’t really interact with him. My family is attached to the birds, so rehoming them isn’t an option. I have my mom cover the birds at night and feed/clean them.

Here’s the problem - the male is becoming extremely aggressive towards his sister. If I go near the cage to do something, he will talk to me and dance around like old times. But if she comes anywhere near me, he will attack her and she has to fly to the other side of the cage. They recently started to pull their blanket off at night and scream and laugh when this happens. They did this tonight when I went downstairs to get water and it was my first time covering them since my injury. I’m wondering if the fighting and night time shenanigans are an attempt to get my attention? If so, how do I get past the attack? I wouldn’t say I’m scared of my birds, but I just don’t see myself ever being close to them like before. None of my other birds have ever attacked me because they’d give actual warning signs and I’d know to back away. This guy never gave any warning, and that’s what has me feeling uneasy.
 

ravvlet

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I am sure someone more experienced will chime in, but - I know birds beak each other during play. Could he have just been overexcited? Our “beaks” are certainly not as sturdy as theirs, and if he was trying to get your attention for a time he may have reached “Amazon overload”. It’s also possible he is still coming off of breeding season hormones, which would make it even easier for him to get overstimulated. Displacement biting is usually pretty hard, too.

I’m terribly sorry you’re going through this, and think it’s really wonderful that you’re working on moving past it as you’re an important part of their lives.

If you were a major part of their day before and suddenly aren’t now, I would say it seems like that’s the most likely trigger for their current behavior. Can you perhaps give them short sessions of time each day to work with them, especially the male, so they don’t feel ignored, but you don’t feel overwhelmed? Maybe do some training to replace the “kissing” routine with some other ritual or show of affection, like a special toy or (healthy) treat.

Also, it’s not clear from this post but are they housed in the same cage?

I think time will help you move past this event, just remember to take it day by day. I hope you’re recovering well! Welcome to the forums!
 

HeatherG

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Apr 25, 2020
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Sorry for the long post, but I want to give as much details as possible because I’ve never experienced this with my previous DYH Amazons. I have two DYH Amazon siblings. I have been a part of their lives for 15 years since I was a teenager. They have lived with me for about a year and a half now. The girl has always been a moody thing, so I have always given her her space. I only play with her when she shows signs that she’s in a good mood. Simply put, she’s not a hands on bird and will give warnings that she doesn’t want to be touched. Her brother has always been the opposite. He demands attention, so we have always been very close. I would scratch his belly, we would hold hands, he would tell me about his day (and vice versa), and he would expect good morning and good night kisses. Well, last month he was trying to get my attention, so I went over to give him his kiss and he decided to grab onto my lip. There were no warning signs or anything out of the ordinary. He was super calm when he did this and didn’t make any sounds. However, it resulted in an ER visit that required reconstruction of my lip by a specialist because he left a portion of it hanging. I don’t trust him at all anymore. When he tries to get my attention, I don’t really interact with him. My family is attached to the birds, so rehoming them isn’t an option. I have my mom cover the birds at night and feed/clean them.

Here’s the problem - the male is becoming extremely aggressive towards his sister. If I go near the cage to do something, he will talk to me and dance around like old times. But if she comes anywhere near me, he will attack her and she has to fly to the other side of the cage. They recently started to pull their blanket off at night and scream and laugh when this happens. They did this tonight when I went downstairs to get water and it was my first time covering them since my injury. I’m wondering if the fighting and night time shenanigans are an attempt to get my attention? If so, how do I get past the attack? I wouldn’t say I’m scared of my birds, but I just don’t see myself ever being close to them like before. None of my other birds have ever attacked me because they’d give actual warning signs and I’d know to back away. This guy never gave any warning, and that’s what has me feeling uneasy.
Wow. I’m really sorry to hear this. I have a much faded (20+ yr old) scar near my upper lip from an Indian ring neck who seemed to transfer the scariness of leaving the natal nest onto me…only bird I ever had that didn’t like me.

I’m glad you didn’t lose that piece of your lip.

There’s counseling for trauma reactions and ptsd, if you are interested. They say if you’re given beta blocker quick enough after a precipitating incident, you’re less likely to develop ptsd. But it sounds like your problem has gotten bigger than this one bird and you need to decide what to do.
 
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CABird.Dad

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I am sure someone more experienced will chime in, but - I know birds beak each other during play. Could he have just been overexcited? Our “beaks” are certainly not as sturdy as theirs, and if he was trying to get your attention for a time he may have reached “Amazon overload”. It’s also possible he is still coming off of breeding season hormones, which would make it even easier for him to get overstimulated. Displacement biting is usually pretty hard, too.

I’m terribly sorry you’re going through this, and think it’s really wonderful that you’re working on moving past it as you’re an important part of their lives.

If you were a major part of their day before and suddenly aren’t now, I would say it seems like that’s the most likely trigger for their current behavior. Can you perhaps give them short sessions of time each day to work with them, especially the male, so they don’t feel ignored, but you don’t feel overwhelmed? Maybe do some training to replace the “kissing” routine with some other ritual or show of affection, like a special toy or (healthy) treat.

Also, it’s not clear from this post but are they housed in the same cage?

I think time will help you move past this event, just remember to take it day by day. I hope you’re recovering well! Welcome to the forums!
Yes. They can’t be apart. We originally only bought one when they were only 3 months old and the male went into a deep depression, which is how we ended up with both of them.

Thank you for the suggestions. I uncovered them this morning to have breakfast because they eat whenever I eat. At first, they fought over the bowl that’s closest to where I sit, but then they calmed down. I am thinking that you are right in that I should start reintroducing quality time little by little. I don’t want them to start attacking anyone who is helping me out with them.
 

ravvlet

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Yes. They can’t be apart. We originally only bought one when they were only 3 months old and the male went into a deep depression, which is how we ended up with both of them.

Thank you for the suggestions. I uncovered them this morning to have breakfast because they eat whenever I eat. At first, they fought over the bowl that’s closest to where I sit, but then they calmed down. I am thinking that you are right in that I should start reintroducing quality time little by little. I don’t want them to start attacking anyone who is helping me out with them.
I am really glad you were able to spend some time with them this morning! People often compare parrots to toddlers, and I know my human toddler has, when overexcited, bit me hard enough to draw blood and one time almost broke my nose kicking playfully . It’s sometimes hard to hear, but animals usually don’t intend to do something harmful or cruel. They just don’t have the foresight or understanding.

The suggestions about finding some kind of support are also good. I know there are a number of members on this forum who have survived nasty bites from their birds as well. It’s understandable that you need time to process this event, and I again am really happy to hear that you’re working hard to move forward with them in spite of it.

You can use the “search” feature of this forum to find similar stories to yours and see what they did to get past it! There’s also this thread about the “ugly side of parrots” that goes over some common causes for abrupt behavioral changes or events like this one:

Apologies if you already know the things listed in this thread, but it seemed like a good primer!
 

wrench13

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I got nailed in the lip by my Yellow SHoulder Amazon once (he is a lot smaller than a DYH). I am sure he did not do it for overt reasons, he just, at that point, did not have a good bite strength idea. Since then, nothing as hard as that one bite.
 

Laurasea

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most of the time I disagree when behavior is blamed on hormones.

But this time I think it is playing a role.. mated pairs ( and these even tho siblings seem to be behaving that way ) will drive off their mate when someone( other burds or pets too) approaches . And can displace aggression to them . Hormonal spring is here.

First, I completely sympathetic to your pain and resulting caution and fear.

But to help your parrots and this situation. I think you need to separate and cage side by side. Still allowing time out together.

Parrots without enough enrichment, excersice and time out of the cage can turn all their focus to hormones.

They can't spend all their time or even a majority of their day caged. This builds up pent up frustration, excess energy....

You need to find a way to have them out of the cage, foraging, exploring, enteraction with the environment. It is possible to teach them to return to cage hands off. It takes some effort, patience, rewards but they can figure it out pretty quickly. I trained my quakers and budgies to return to cage when asked and always rewarding .

Target training can be a big help. I will link a video I like, and you can probably find many others.

If their life is truly just going to be stuck in a cage . Then no matter how attached family is , finding them a home with a person able to provide an enriched and fulfilling life is the most humane.
 

SailBoat

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Welcome to the World of those that have been Bitten and hard by one of the Hot Three Amazons.

So, why did your friend bite you? Several reasons, but most likely part of the: You need to move now, so I am going to bite you to get you to move, now. This commonly happens with mated pairs in their natural range when there is danger or a problem , or a threat. they see.

In other words, a Hard Wired Response. Add the end of Hormonal Season, and this kind of thing can happen. You have been very lucky to have been around one of the Hot Three Amazons and not have been bitten.

Moving past this event! Not easy, but when one considers that it is a hard wired response. It is time to place it in the past and move forward. Your Amazon still loves you. Start-over and rebuild to where you were. Just remember that when any of the Hot Three Amazons are exposed to a chemical Rush or in their mind a Thread, you need to be paying attention. All that means, is that as you approach your Amazon you are simply paying attention to them. That is a standard, that should have been in place.
 

Keatz

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It could be transferred aggression. You mention that the male has become aggressive towards the female. He may take his aggression out on you if she is not in reach. I had a cockatoo that would do that. She was very affectionate to me, but if the person she wanted to bite was not in reach, she would bite me instead.
It might not be the case with your Amazon, but with my cockatoo, I tried to avoid getting bitten again by recognising the circumstances in which I was most likely to get bitten. If someone she did not like was around, I would not handle her.
 

Scott

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Very sorry you had painful interlude requiring ER visit and reconstruction. Surely qualifies as PTSD event requiring deep introspection with trust and personal safety issues. My adult BFA has penchant for biting the jugular, so he permanently lost shoulder privileges, handled with extreme care. Did you happen to notice if eyes were pinning before bite?

Hormones a likely precursor, something difficult to ascertain outside normally defined breeding season. I have seen normally loving and placid males turn against females with gradual uptick in frequency and severity of aggression. In some cases, permanent separation may become necessary, or at least split caging with visits on neutral territory.
 
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CABird.Dad

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Thank you, everyone. Your comments and suggestions have been very helpful. I still have some PTSD. At one point, I questioned if I should even have Amazons because I considered myself pretty experienced and took pride in never being bitten. I’m realizing from this forum that even the most experienced get bitten.

I have started spending quality time with both of my Amazons again, and maybe just a tad more with the male to see if the aggression gets better. I have noticed that the aggression against his sister is not as bad as it was last week. It’s pecks, where last week he was chasing her all around the cage and at one point grabbed her leg. Now the tables have turned and it’s her being nippy with him. She will talk and sing, and then go after him. I am thinking it’s a mixture of hormones and why is he getting more attention than me! Either way, I agree that they need separate cages.

This morning, the male was bobbing his head and dancing as his sister sang, so I joined them in their activity. This is something they (or I should say “we”) haven’t done since before he bit me, so I’m thinking that’s a good sign. He still doesn’t fully understand why he doesn’t get kisses and the dogs do. He puts his beak out for them, but he will have to get used to not having them!
 

wrench13

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THe only time I can guarantee to get bitten by my yellow shoulder amazon is if I haven't spent any time with him in the day. When it comes time to put him in his cage Salty will give me a good bit to let me know he is angry with me! But, I know its coming so I can manage to direct where it lands, and its always on the hands. LOL, you can usually tell someone who has a parrot by looking at the hands!

Glad to read that the 'attitude' has calmed down a bit. Mating season and hormones are responsible for most of the unwarranted bites !
 
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Sorry for the long post, but I want to give as much details as possible because I’ve never experienced this with my previous DYH Amazons. I have two DYH Amazon siblings. I have been a part of their lives for 15 years since I was a teenager. They have lived with me for about a year and a half now. The girl has always been a moody thing, so I have always given her her space. I only play with her when she shows signs that she’s in a good mood. Simply put, she’s not a hands on bird and will give warnings that she doesn’t want to be touched. Her brother has always been the opposite. He demands attention, so we have always been very close. I would scratch his belly, we would hold hands, he would tell me about his day (and vice versa), and he would expect good morning and good night kisses. Well, last month he was trying to get my attention, so I went over to give him his kiss and he decided to grab onto my lip. There were no warning signs or anything out of the ordinary. He was super calm when he did this and didn’t make any sounds. However, it resulted in an ER visit that required reconstruction of my lip by a specialist because he left a portion of it hanging. I don’t trust him at all anymore. When he tries to get my attention, I don’t really interact with him. My family is attached to the birds, so rehoming them isn’t an option. I have my mom cover the birds at night and feed/clean them.

Here’s the problem - the male is becoming extremely aggressive towards his sister. If I go near the cage to do something, he will talk to me and dance around like old times. But if she comes anywhere near me, he will attack her and she has to fly to the other side of the cage. They recently started to pull their blanket off at night and scream and laugh when this happens. They did this tonight when I went downstairs to get water and it was my first time covering them since my injury. I’m wondering if the fighting and night time shenanigans are an attempt to get my attention? If so, how do I get past the attack? I wouldn’t say I’m scared of my birds, but I just don’t see myself ever being close to them like before. None of my other birds have ever attacked me because they’d give actual warning signs and I’d know to back away. This guy never gave any warning, and that’s what has me feeling uneasy.
(I accidently reacted with Love when I meant care 💀)
Sounds very painful, I'm only experienced with budgies so I don't have much tips, sorry :(
 

HeatherG

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Apr 25, 2020
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Hi, I’m glad things are better. I’m still wondering if there’s some sexual tension/ jealousy between the two birds. But that would be hard to alter.

My Quaker, Willow, would not let me pet him today. He acted scared and opened his beak at me. I realized that he’d been affected by a bad encounter I had last night when he was on my shoulder. I live in an apartment building and there’s a community room. Someone went out of their way to steal my dinner and ransack/dump my art supplies when I was out of the room for less than five minutes. I was mad and upset and used a loud angry voice to address them in a couple sentences.

I didn’t do wrong but willow was still upset with me and scared. He didn’t want me to pet him until I told him I was sorry and didn’t mean to scare him and I love him. Then he was fine and wanted to be pet and kissed and snuggled. That happened just now.

It made me remember that our parrots are watching and thinking and have feelings. I don’t know if you yelled at your boy Amazon when he bit you, but maybe you need to repair that relationship and that with his sister who saw it too, even though you didn’t do anything wrong (as I didn’t)

Or not. But I was sure surprised that telling Willow i was sorry helped. I shouldn’t have been, but I was.
 

Laurasea

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"But I was sure surprised that telling Willow i was sorry helped."

I have found that mine understand as well
 

HeatherG

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"But I was sure surprised that telling Willow i was sorry helped."

I have found that mine understand as well
Most people would probably do a lot more but it still scared him and hurt his feelings. Now he must sit ON MY HAND instead of on his basket or he’s grumbling and flapping. My goodness!
 

moon1964

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Jun 8, 2018
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double yellow-head amazon...Angel
blue-front amazon...Blue
Sorry for the long post, but I want to give as much details as possible because I’ve never experienced this with my previous DYH Amazons. I have two DYH Amazon siblings. I have been a part of their lives for 15 years since I was a teenager. They have lived with me for about a year and a half now. The girl has always been a moody thing, so I have always given her her space. I only play with her when she shows signs that she’s in a good mood. Simply put, she’s not a hands on bird and will give warnings that she doesn’t want to be touched. Her brother has always been the opposite. He demands attention, so we have always been very close. I would scratch his belly, we would hold hands, he would tell me about his day (and vice versa), and he would expect good morning and good night kisses. Well, last month he was trying to get my attention, so I went over to give him his kiss and he decided to grab onto my lip. There were no warning signs or anything out of the ordinary. He was super calm when he did this and didn’t make any sounds. However, it resulted in an ER visit that required reconstruction of my lip by a specialist because he left a portion of it hanging. I don’t trust him at all anymore. When he tries to get my attention, I don’t really interact with him. My family is attached to the birds, so rehoming them isn’t an option. I have my mom cover the birds at night and feed/clean them.

Here’s the problem - the male is becoming extremely aggressive towards his sister. If I go near the cage to do something, he will talk to me and dance around like old times. But if she comes anywhere near me, he will attack her and she has to fly to the other side of the cage. They recently started to pull their blanket off at night and scream and laugh when this happens. They did this tonight when I went downstairs to get water and it was my first time covering them since my injury. I’m wondering if the fighting and night time shenanigans are an attempt to get my attention? If so, how do I get past the attack? I wouldn’t say I’m scared of my birds, but I just don’t see myself ever being close to them like before. None of my other birds have ever attacked me because they’d give actual warning signs and I’d know to back away. This guy never gave any warning, and that’s what has me feeling uneasy.
I got bit the exact same way wit my BF male blue...went to give him a kiss and crunch both lips got it...ever since that bite he is a stick bird i no longer try to hold or touch him when out of his cage
 

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