My macaw (Emira) and her obsession with biting ears, glasses, and hair

Emira

Member
Oct 10, 2021
10
34
Austin, Texas
Parrots
Emira (Blue and Gold Macaw)
Hi guys!
Iโ€™m a new member to parrot forums.

I wanted to ask you all about what to do to improve or correct macaw behavior for biting ears, glasses, and hair.

thank you in advance!
 

chris-md

Supporting Member
Feb 6, 2010
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Maryland - USA
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Parker - male Eclectus

Aphrodite - red throated conure (RIP)
Hello and welcome!

not to be flippant but the answer is actually quite simple: emira canโ€™t be trusted on shoulders, so should not be allowed on your shoulder.

I know youโ€™re looking for corrections/training, but birds that have these tendencies really just belong away from your head. The parrot on the shoulder trope is just that. These are wild animals: many of us donโ€™t allow our birds there precisely because theyโ€™ve shown a tendency towards these behaviors.

best solution here really is avoidance altogether.
 
OP
Emira

Emira

Member
Oct 10, 2021
10
34
Austin, Texas
Parrots
Emira (Blue and Gold Macaw)
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #3
Hello and welcome!

not to be flippant but the answer is actually quite simple: emira canโ€™t be trusted on shoulders, so should not be allowed on your shoulder.

I know youโ€™re looking for corrections/training, but birds that have these tendencies really just belong away from your head. The parrot on the shoulder trope is just that. These are wild animals: many of us donโ€™t allow our birds there precisely because theyโ€™ve shown a tendency towards these behaviors.

best solution here really is avoidance altogether.
Thanks! Iโ€™ve read that people put them on their shoulder after complete bonded trust, and others say not to. Iโ€™m 50/50 with it. Most times she sits there and enjoys being close, and other times she goes after the ears and glasses when sheโ€™s cranky. Iโ€™ve been trying to make it a habit to not let her on my shoulder as much, even though it seems like she was raised like that. Still plenty to learn!
 

wrench13

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Parrots in general do not respond to 'punishment' type of behavior correction, however if Elmira is bonded to you, you could try the "shunning" type of correction. WHen she nips the ear or glasses, a firm "NO BITE !" and IMMEDIATE removal to a neutral place, like a handy chair back and then turning your back to her and ignoring her for a minute can work (over time). It must be done immediately when the nip occurs, and she must be totally ignored ( no eye contact at all, no talking about her ) for no more than a minute. Any longer and the lesson might not be understood by the parrot. THis works well but only if she is bonded to you. Dont put her back in her cage, that can become the birds way of getting you to put her back. Everyone in the family must observe this treatment and it must be done 100% of the time when nips occur. It does not work well if Elmira is flighted and she can just fly off the chair back to where ever.

I do agree that an untrustworthy parrot should not be on a shoulder, especially large ones like a macaw, as you cant see their head and eyes, and cant see the classic signs of an impending nip. Body language in most parrots can signal the intent on nipping and biting, but you need to see the whole parrot to observe it.
 
OP
Emira

Emira

Member
Oct 10, 2021
10
34
Austin, Texas
Parrots
Emira (Blue and Gold Macaw)
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #5
Parrots in general do not respond to 'punishment' type of behavior correction, however if Elmira is bonded to you, you could try the "shunning" type of correction. WHen she nips the ear or glasses, a firm "NO BITE !" and IMMEDIATE removal to a neutral place, like a handy chair back and then turning your back to her and ignoring her for a minute can work (over time). It must be done immediately when the nip occurs, and she must be totally ignored ( no eye contact at all, no talking about her ) for no more than a minute. Any longer and the lesson might not be understood by the parrot. THis works well but only if she is bonded to you. Dont put her back in her cage, that can become the birds way of getting you to put her back. Everyone in the family must observe this treatment and it must be done 100% of the time when nips occur. It does not work well if Elmira is flighted and she can just fly off the chair back to where ever.

I do agree that an untrustworthy parrot should not be on a shoulder, especially large ones like a macaw, as you cant see their head and eyes, and cant see the classic signs of an impending nip. Body language in most parrots can signal the intent on nipping and biting, but you need to see the whole parrot to observe it.
Thank you very much!
 

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