Some Issues with my girlfriend's Sun Conure

jakeispwn

New member
Jul 1, 2021
1
1
Hey all,

Never been here as not historically a parrot owner. But recently I moved in with my girlfriend who has a Sun Conure back in April. He was totally fine and friendly with me for the majority of the last few months, would sit on my shoulder, step up and enthusiastically take treats hand fed no problem, and only squawked occasionally like when we come home from going to the store or something or to call to us when we went to another room. Whenever he came out of the cage, he would give both of us lots of attention and play nicely with little biting or chewing.

Just recently I left for a few days for work and he has been a nightmare ever since. Now, whenever I am in the house, he screeches non-stop unless he is either out of his cage, or I am sitting in a very specific location in the house (on the couch in front of the TV). And if he is out of his cage, he has no interest in me and will not get off my girlfriend and allows her to touch him as much as she wants without any biting. The only way he now gives me attention, is when she is not around and I let him out. He doesn't leave my shoulder/arm and preens my face as if he likes me, but doesn't want my hands anywhere near him, he will chew my fingers very hard if I try to get him to step up or anything (not enough to draw blood though).

We assumed that it was because he just wants attention, and it seems that way because if I walk over to his cage and stand in front of it when he screeches, he will stop immediately, but if I let him out, he immediately goes over to my girlfriend like mentioned before and pays me no mind. What makes it so strange is, according to my girlfriend, this behavior doesn't occur when I am not around. She works remote and says that when I am gone for the day, he completely shuts up the entire day. It is bizarre.

He also doesn't seem to even like when I talk to my girlfriend anymore. If I'm sitting in the spot that keeps him quiet and start a conversation with my girlfriend he will start screeching his head off every time I start a sentence. It is maddening.

Any ideas as to what his issue might be with me? My only hypothesis is that he has become extra hormonal and has chosen my girlfriend as his mate.

The one thing consistent regardless of whether I'm there or not, is he screeches whenever anyone goes to the kitchen (its an open room where the living room is on one side and kitchen on the other, he has full view of it). If I'm not there and my girlfriend goes to the kitchen, he screeches the entire time she's in there

Thanks all.

PS: He is also still very young, only 1.5 years old or so.
 

noodles123

Well-known member
Jul 11, 2018
8,141
173
Parrots
Umbrella Cockatoo- 15? years old..I think?
Birds are programmed to find a mate and defend that mate- if he has access to shadowy spaces (huts, tents, boxes, piles of cloth, under furniture, low shelving etc--- remove that access). They DO NOT need any special place to sleep other than their perches and they all like shadowy spaces because these are associated with nesting/reproduction....They alter hormones and change behavior, but they also can cause major health issues (esp the snuggle huts/tents).
Ensure that no one is petting the bird anywhere other than the head or neck. The rest is sexually stimulating and jacks with hormones and behavior.
Also, make sure the bird is getting a bare minimum of 3 hours out of cage time daily, and that interaction is not just about touching.
Last thing *very important* - he needs 10 hours sleep on a set schedule nightly w/roughly the same wake up and bedtime, and a quiet, darkish place to sleep. This is huge because too little sleep harms their immune health and also increases hormonal and behavioral problems.


The age of this bird is key because babies (pre puberty) are totally different from adult birds who start to see things as sexually relevant). He is going through puberty as most sun conures reach sexual maturity between 1.5 and 2. 1-2 is the ballpark, with more hitting sexual maturity between 18m and 2 years, but the hormones etc start before that and continue. Things that may have seemed innocent with babies, are no longer innocent (even though they like them and seek them out).
 
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fiddlejen

Supporting Member
Mar 28, 2019
1,157
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Parrots
Sunny the Sun Conure (sept '18, gotcha 3/'19). Mr Jefferson Budgie & Mrs Calliope Budgie (albino) (nov'18 & jan'19). Summer 2021 Baby Budgies: Riker (Green); Patchouli, Keye, & Tiny (blue greywings).
Well it could be hormones of course. And everything Noodles has mentioned is very good advice which should be followed regardless.

But reading your post and thinking about my own (female) Sunny, I just keep thinking about her "Control Issues." She is in many ways similar to an autistic child. There are routines i did Not Know i had. She watched me until she figured them out and now she ENforces them. Loudly. (Rarely with pinching bites, those are reserved only for the most serious deviations from accepted routines; mostly just by yelling at me if I deviate.)

So you were a new element. He adjusted to that. YOU had not realized that he had built you into his world and taken note of Where and When you are SUPPOSED to be, and what you are SUPPOSED to be doing.

He was working on plans to begin taking on his Supervisory Role with you

THEN. You did... WHAT? You LEFT? For a few DAYS? What?!!? WithOUT prior authorization, i am sure. Because He certainly would NOT have authorized such a deviation from procedure!

Clearly he needs to keep you under Better Control. You have been Grounded. You should be Thankful that he has given you a choice of TWO spots!

Now, of course you cannot comply fully with his restrictions. But I recommend doing your best to apologize for having left without authorization. (YES, they do understand apologies!) Tell him how very wrong you were to leave, and you are sorry, and you will try to give him advance notice next time.

OH. Another thing -- just an aside. You may or may not be aware, but it can be helpful. Birdie Body Language. There is one important difference from mammals. Assuming they are healthy and not-cold, when a bird FLUFFS up, it is HAPPY and RELAXED. (UNlike mammals. IF our hair, or cat or dog fur etc, stands "on-end" we are tense -think goosebumps.) When a Bird goes SMOOTH and SLICK, it is TENSE, FLIGHT-READY. By comparison, when FLUFFED, it is NOT expecting to flee from a predator. It is relaxed and happy. Understanding this difference can save you a lot of miscommunication with Bird.

(Other than that difference, that FLUFFY usually means HAPPY, RELAXED, their emotions are actually More like ours than other pets. They will take offence, they will sulk, they Expect you to apologize. In fact if you can really over-act your apology, he will probably want to reassure you that it is all okay. Next time you have to leave, start telling him ahead of time, tell him you're leaving and how long you'll be gone. Also, Tell him what you're doing when you want to leave your currently-assigned spots.)
 
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BirdAddictK

Member
Sep 26, 2021
64
46
Oh my gosh, Fiddlejen. You have totally introduced (at least to me) a very new perspective about birds. Thank you. I will definitely keep this in mind.
 

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