Brat Bird Strikes Again

January 14, 2009

Ok, I’ll admit. The title is a bit misleading. Stewie is a brat bird, and he did strike, but the better title would be: Stupid Woman Gets Bitten.

I’ve written before that I don’t believe a bird ever bites for no reason. They may on occasion bite with no discernible warning, but there’s always a reason (even if the reason is that you got too close when they were in a bad mood).

Well, I can’t even say there wasn’t a warning. Stewie has been warning me for months: he. does. NOT. like. cell phones. So what did I do? I leaned in to give him a kiss while talking on the phone. I wasn’t really paying attention. I didn’t think he’d get that upset. He hesitated only a split second and then … CHOMP. He bit me. He bit me on my face!

If he’d been a cockatoo, that might have sent me to the ER. Since he was “only” a sun conure, he only drew blood and left a bruise on my upper lip. But if he’d bitten closer to the eye instead of my lips, I could still have been irreparably injured. I was careless. It was my fault. It really shook me … I never thought I’d ever get bitten in the face; after all, I’m more careful than that and my birds are good birds, for the most part. Just goes to show, it’s easy to be careless.

Just a friendly reminder. Don’t be careless. If you know your bird gets agitated around [insert random thing/situation], don’t be stupid and take a risk and offer yourself up to get bitten.

For the record, Stewie and I have a good relationship. He’s a momma’s bird through and through, and he’s forgiven me (and vice versa).



  1. I really like that you took responsibility for the bite!

  2. Thanks JJ – responsibility is one of the major themes I try to get across on this blog. If you follow my postings you’ll see that I believe training is just as much about us (the humans) as it is about the animals. Not only do we teach them how to behave, but we need to learn how to (and how not to) interact with them as well. When people ask “does he bite?” my answer is always “Or course he bites! But I almost never get bitten”… until I get in the way when he’s ready to bite, like this time.

    Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate your comments.

  3. My blue-fronted Amazon bit me on the lower lip a couple of days ago. I have had her for over twenty years, and she never bit me on the face before. I went to kiss her beak just as I was putting her in her cage, as I was leaving for work. She HATES it when I leave for work; she doesn’t want to go back into the cage, and she doesn’t want to be left alone. So, I guess it was my fault for choosing that moment to try and kiss her beak. Now, I have an ugly scab/bruise just below my lower lip. It looks horrible.

  4. My boyfriend was laying on the floor playing Gumby, our male meyer’s, while Pokey, the female meyers (bro & sis) came running down, flew down in front of his face and attacked. Definitely the worst bite I’ve ever seen any of them do, she got him on the bridge of the nose BAD. He was bleeding pretty bad; she’s got a sharp beak, and there was a tiny hole then the “bottom beak” bite mark. Any thoughts/reasons as to why she would randomly attack him like that? I mean, I know he was on the floor, so she could see he was vulnerable. She likes to play on the floor too, like attack tissue balls/whiffle balls. Sometimes when he goes to kiss her and she’s on the top of the cage, she lunges at him and chomps on his lip, sometimes making him bleed. She’s never made me bleed though. Anyway, he’s pretty pissed off and has anger issues when he gets bitten so I had to intervene and push him away and pick her up and put her in the cage, then we covered her. How do i resolve this..or has anyone else dealt with this random..biting? He wasn’t even doing anything, no noises, faces, etc.

    • Kim, it’s almost impossible for me to say, not knowing your birds and not having been there to observe exactly what happened. But if she has a history of biting him, he needs to not give her any opportunities. That might be hard if he’s playing on the floor and she just comes after him, but certainly he should NOT be leaning in to kiss her! Does she ever respond positively to him? Perhaps she really doesn’t like him? If he has anger issues, is it possible that he harasses her? — not necessarily on purpose, but if she perceives it as harassment or threats, it could explain her aggression.

      My Stewie just finished up his hormonal season. He was being a HUGE brat for more than 2 months, and he’s much sweeter now. Is it possible hormones have something to do with it?

      Like I said, it’s hard to “diagnose” the issue based only on what you describe, but the most important thing is to make sure your bf stays out of biting reach. The more opportunity your meyers gets to bite, the more she’ll do it and the worse the situation will get. And please don’t let him take his anger out on anybody, the birds or otherwise.

      I would also recommend that you look at applied behavior analysis for a possible way to identify what’s going on with your meyers behavior. You can sign up for http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/ParrotBAS/ to learn more about how that works.

      Good luck.

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