Please Help


New member
Aug 9, 2012
Hello everyone, I am in serious need of some help here... I feel like I might get scolded also, and that's fine too... I just need help in any way I can.

So my housemate and I were home one day about 3 weeks ago. We got a knock at the door, and a woman asked us if we were missing a bird. We said no, but went to look outside and there was a little conure, hiding between a car and the curb. I put my finger down and he climbed right up and stayed hangin out on my shoulder all day while we called animal control, etc.--I didn't find out until much later that shoulder rides, especially at the beginning, are not good ideas...

Nobody knew what to do with him/her (we still don't know), so after a week of no calls in for a missing bird, animal control said we could keep him. We named him Mason. We got him a cage and some toys--that we could afford (we're in Grad School)--and started our journey with Mason.

So I can't even fully explain the progression over the last few weeks, but it's not been good. He started out occasionally nipping at us and I think we may have treated him a bit too much like a puppy--which I am now realizing he is not... at all. We would say no and then leave him alone if he did it. Now he full on draws blood. Frequently. He makes noise if you ignore him, but when you go to give him attention he stretches his neck up as high as it'll go, and then he moves it around all herky-jerky like. Sometimes he'll let me pet him in the morning, as you can see in the picture I uploaded: But if I stop, even after like 20 minutes straight, to go make breakfast or get ready for the day, he starts making a bunch of noise, and thereafter, becomes testy and territorial again... The issue came to a full head yesterday. My 3rd housemate (whom the bird despises) and I were going to watch a tv show. We put the DVD in and turned on the TV. When we did, Mason flipped out and started flying all over the room. He landed behind me on the couch and started almost... growling?... at me. I think he really wanted the food I had. I was gonna give him some upon his return to the cage, but he wouldn't step up. He kept trying to bite my hand that didn't have the food (He will only step up for me once in a blue moon, but obeys my 2nd housemate mostly and loves him to death). My 3rd housemate tried to get him, and the bird charged at his finger from a good foot or so away and bit hard. My 3rd housemate, who is in my opinion WAY too forceful and jumpy with the bird, tried to pull away, pulling the bird attached to his finger. The bird flew around in a tizzy some more and landed across the room. I talked sternly to him, and he got on my finger and went back to the cage. We put him in the cage for a while during the show--mostly for the piece of mind of my housemate who had gotten bit.

After that while, the bird started squawking and hitting his beak against the cage. I went over and gave him attention, which he seemed to like, but was still being a bit jumpy. Eventually he changed from sounding angry to sounding a little sad.. Like he was whining? Can Birds do that? So I let him out and left him alone while being in the room with him for a while. He preened and made clicking and growling and chirping noises...

Now, I've been reading a lot on here about how to treat a bird, and I've got to say, this is a pretty cool sight. I'm learning a lot. So I've been "going back to basics" and just sitting near his cage and talking with him. Occasionally singing and bobbing my head, which he mimmicks. I try to smile around him a lot and be nice and give him a bit of apple when he's good... but I have ZERO idea if it's working. He's still hitting his beak on the cage and kind of gnawing at the bars a lot. Even when he's out of the cage.

Here's some things I know for certain... I think:

1.) He needs more vegetables. I have been out of a job and have been broke as a joke and will be until school starts again in a few weeks, so I can barely afford to feed myself. Also I have no car and live nowhere near a grocery store anyways.. but he mostly eats his bird food and some treats when he's good.

2.) I think he needs more sleep, but our house is small and busy, and since he won't go in his cage or bites if you try to move it, I have a hard time getting him to a place where he could sleep if he wanted to. And when we do give him his privacy at night he makes noise and knocks his beak against the cage till someone comes back. But once you do, he acts all angry..

3.) He needs to see a Vet, but I'm afraid trying to take him to one will only make him hate us more...

3.) He has a favorite person in the house, he even regurgitated food for him (I hear that's a sign of love right?). BUT he won't trust the rest of us as far as he could throw us. AKA not at all. I also wonder if we're conditioning him to only respond to the one housemate he likes, since we're looking for any way to get him to calm down and obey.

4.) We're about to start school, and when we do... we're never going to be home...

Are we biting off more than we can chew here? Pun intended. Any help will be much appreciated... Does he want to be left alone? Is his diet lacking? does he just need more sleep? I have no idea where to start, and to be honest, the stress he's bringing is more than overwhelming... Thanks for reading. Hope to hear from you all soon.


Mar 27, 2012
St.Leonard, MD
Red Front Macaw, Elvis, 10,male RIP

Red Front Macaw, Erin, 1.5,female

Goffin Cockatoo, Blossom 2,female Rehomed

Blue & Gold Macaw, Oscar, Male, 21 years old, Rehomed

American Bulldog Mix,
I'm not going to scold you- we're all humans and there is always a better home for our pets out there.

Okay I'm going to miss a few questions but here I go:

You're doing good. Sit by his cage and talk to him, don't expect changes over night, or even over a week. Put posters up fr a missing conure- he is obviously a pet- don't just rely n Animal Control. Put them up in your neighborhood and on craigslist. Find a favourite treat or food of his and use it to rain him- luring him to places or on your hand. Do target training. If you plan on keeping him, give him a week to settle in and get used to you, for what ever reason, he just lost his only family. Think of it kinda like a lost 2 year old. After a week begin training. TRAINING. This means you give a command and he follows through with it. This means if he bites when you ask step up, do your best to ignore it and push on his belly to get him a LITTLE off balance (dont push him off the perch) which forces him to step up. The better you get at ignoring his bites, the less he will begin to bite (like in 2 weeks max he will stop because obviously his bite has no effect, but it will take a while to get over it). Some disagree on forcing them to step up, but I think if you have given him time to get used to you and settle in (1-3 weeks, where he is comfortable and knows you well enough) and he still is being stubborn it's time for training and some people think that when you are teaching commands that they are really options, rather than commands. And if you don't care if your bird doesn't listen all the time, that's fine to treat them as options than commands.

Take him to the vet. It's not you he will dislike- it's the vet and what ever carrier you use to take him in that he will hate. From there the vet will tell what diet he needs, any health concerns, and can clip his wings. Clipping won't nix out the flying completely, but he wont be able to do laps around your house.

Fresh veggies and fruits aren't necessary, but nice and why turn down extra nutrients? Every one has issues in some aspect or another. There were 2 months when I just moved out on my own in my first apartment and I didn't set a budget, so came the end of the month I had little money for groceries or dog food. So the little money I had was to buy human foods that the dogs and I could both eat. As long as you have him on a good mix or pellet, you don't need it. My Erin is now only pellets only. We used to have a healthy mix but she picked out foods that weren't her favourites. She refuses any type of human food, so all she eats is pellets and she is healthy as can be. Also you can offer him foods you eat, but just look it up. Things like seeds of fruits and avocados are toxic. Dairy is fine in small quantities.

If you're that worried it isn't getting the right nutrients, go and get vitamins for it at Petco or some where.

Sleep wise: be respectful. If he needs his sleep keep the noise level down and throw black out curtains or a blanket over his cage to keep the light out.

Favourite person: some birds have them. Elvis was my baby boy and agressive to all at first. I had him for about a month and half on my own (my 18th birthday present) before the vet killed him, so he was my bird only (known as a one person bird). Erin was practically wild, unhandeable, bonded to another untame parrot and then became my bird. Through TRAINING (not giving her options) she learned COMMANDS (not options) and she has no choice but to step up when any one asks, because if she tries to refuse and bite she knows that it has no effect and we will keep pressing her to step up. SO after a week my husband was able to handle her, then my family. ANd after a month of having her we started taking her to the flea market where people crowded around to see and pet, and now any one any age can hold her.

The school issue.... yikes, if you're not going to be home then all the training will have been for nothing. Birds will regress. It's neglect. No, I'm not saying you're an animal abuser lol, but all animals are different.We prefer a bird or any animal be in a home with constant attention. Before I had birds I had dogs and some were okay being home alone all day form 6 am to 6pm. Had no problem. Others didn't fit our schedule and required constant attention. This conure may not need alot of attention, and that's some thin you could test out for a week. Or it could be the type that always wants attention and when you guys get home will be MAD at you. Try it for a week and if he is a flexible bird, that doesn't care, provide lots of toys and foraging for him. If he gets worse and regresses it's time to rehome him.

I hope I have helped.


New member
May 5, 2012
North Carolina
Senegal Male Bogart
Ok first Breathe wow sounds like you have someones very spoiled bird
Rule 1. (more like a guideline) ignore bad habits Like screaming or banging his beak If he does this and gets your attention he will do it longer next time to get the same effect.
Look up my thread about "Stick training described" for a bird as small as a Green Cheeked Conure (which is what you got) you can use chopsticks (left over from your dinner or some times they will give you a free pair) don't use a #2 pencil because of the paint and graphite .
You didn't say what type of food you got for him but he will survive on what you have and when your plush again you can work on getting him a better diet.
as for sleeping yes he needs 9 to 12 hours a night I put mine to bed around 7 pm because I get up at 7am almost every morning, Try keeping his cage in a room that you can close off from the Tv and roommate noise also find a dark piece of cloth to cover his cage with and like with a toddler no matter how much they complain Nite nite time is a done deal.
When I work a full time job I make sure my bird is out 10 to 15 minutes in the morning while I'm getting ready and fixing his food, and then again when I get home in the evening for about the same amount of time the rest of the day he has to find away to entertain himself lots of toys and you can make them yourself with things bought from Michael's or staples or walmart . Weekends are our bonding time when we do alot of ot of the cage time.
Just like children it's all about getting him into a routine and sure understanding the consiquences of bad behavior.
When he bites use the stick to pick him up and put him in his cage or on a perch (if he can fly this is a problem) look at him in a disapproving manner (yes they read our body language and tone of our voice) after removing him comfort the one who was bitten with everyone glancing disapprovingly at him and really make a show if the person bitten getting attention. [ok I know drama right! in the wild bullying in the flock is not tolerated and the offending bird is driven off to the the outside of the tree (were he is most vonrerable to preaditors ) while the flock tends to the injured member, establishing that to be a member you must behave and it is instinct that a bird alone is a dead bird.]
Try these and be patience and consistent and check if a local pet store will give you a free wing clip if you promise to buy his food and toys there.


New member
May 1, 2012
Forrest -Yellow sided Green Cheek Conure, Nacho- Sun Conure
I think you are really trying to do what is right for the bird and it is great you took him in. But if no one is going to be home at all everything is in vain. Maybe you should try to rehome him to someone who has the time to spend with him. You would be a good home if you could but that may not be possible. He is probably horrified with all the new people telling him what to do. He is small and just imagine how you would feel. Also he has been free for a while and probably has become a little wild trying to survive.
He definitely needs 10-12 hours sleep if not they get terribly grumpy. He bites out of fear and tiredness at this point. Thank you for caring about his welfare and I hope you can either find his owner who is probably terribly distraught or find a proper home for him.


New member
Jul 10, 2012
Oregon, USA
Pepper, a Timneh African Grey
Hey, others have given advice, I'm a newbie at all of this, but just wanted to say thanks for taking in the bird and caring for him and researching the right ways to care for him. You are on a great path.


Jun 10, 2012
Newton aycliffe Co.Durham
Jinx - Blue Fronted Amazon hatched 12.06.2012
It seems like you have a rough ride ahead of you with this little guy I'm glad you took him in and if you do decide to keep him I'm sure he will make a great addition to your home just give him time he will eventually come round I wish you the best of luck and please keep us posted


Aug 20, 2009
Can we see a photo. The avian vets are very used to dealing with stressed out birds. They will try to make the visit a good one for you and the bird. A vet visit is one of the most important things you can do. You will need a carrying crate.


New member
Feb 18, 2011
1 nanday conure Black Jack, 1 Brotogeris parakeet Whiff, 1 ring neck dove Eliza, and 6 society finches (3 are tame). RIP my parent pairs of societies and my little gouldian finches
barbra heinrich has some very good training courses you may want to look into. a vet check is very important. thanks for helping him and good luck :)


New member
Jul 23, 2012
Barkley (4yo Eclectus)----
Pepper (7yo White-Capped Pionus)
Thank you for taking him in. And if given the time, I think he would probably come around and make a great companion. :) I'm a newbie so I can't really give any advice.

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