parrot holds its food for prim consumption as daintily as any debutante, with a
predilection for pot roast, hashed-brown potatoes, duck skin, butter, hoisin
sauce, sesame seed oil, bananas and human thumb."
Probably the most common reason for people giving up their parrot is being
bitten. Parrots bite, period!
If you acquire a parrot of any size, from parakeet to macaw, you are going to
be bitten. Not once, not twice, but many, many times over the lifespan of the
bird. Birds bite in a couple of different ways and for a whole myriad of
Just because a bird laid it's beak on you doesn't mean it bit you. Birds
employee 4 forms of "biting". The first form of bite is not really a bite at
all. Birds in the wild will commonly grab a branch in their beak to test it for
strength before stepping on it. They also use their beak to steady themselves
as they climb or move from branch to branch. To the uninitiated, this can
appear to be an attempt to bite and the instinctive reaction is to pull away.
Unfortunately, this is often seen by the bird as a game of chase and can lead
to over-excitement and a real bite.
The second form is called beaking in which the bird gently gnaws and tongues
you fingers, hands and arms using the side edges of the beak instead of the
pointed tips. Remember the section on parrots being natural chewers? Well, they
will chew on you as well. This is a form of social interaction on the part of
the bird and is often considered acceptable. However, it can easily get out of
The third form of bite is really more of a good pinch administered with the
tips of the beak. A parrot most often does this to get your attention or to
warn you of approaching danger (usually a member of your household). Not
serious, but definitely irritating and painful. If there is not a welt, it
wasn't a pinch.
The fourth form of bite is a bite, and you'll know it when you get one. As a
rule of thumb, if you are not bleeding or missing body parts, it wasn't a
bite. Over time I have been bitten on the neck, face,
stomach, feet, ankles, inside the thigh and many, many times on the arms and
hands as shown below.
A real bite can easily mean a trip to the emergency room or even a hospital
stay. Bites by medium or large sized parrots have frequently
caused lacerations requiring stitches, disfigurement requiring cosmetic surgery
(usually lips, ears or cheeks bitten throught or off ), broken bones in the
fingers, hand or wrist, and even amputation of fingers when they are too badly
crushed. As you can see, being bitten by a parrot is no laughing matter.
bite for any number of reasons. Fear, anger, hunger, jealousy, having a bad
day, defending territory, it doesn't like you, or it just plain feels like it.
I hear the phrase "and then he just bit me for no reason at
all", all the time. While this would seem to lend
credibility to the last reason, nothing could be more distant from the truth.
There is alway a reason, it's just not always apparent. The instinctive
reaction from the unknowledgable new owner is to distance themselves from the
bird or lock it away in isolation. This only compounds the problem and leads to
frustration for both the owner and the bird which, in turn just leads to
more bites. It's a downward spiral from there. Ultimately, the unhappy
parrot owner ends up with what they preceive to be an uncontrollable and
dangerous bird which almost always means a one-way ticket to a rescue for the
sum it up, if you can not accept the fact that you are going to get bitten from
time to time, and that sometimes these bites can leave serious wounds requiring
stitches or even surgery, then you should definitely think long and hard before
buying a parrot, particularily a medium or large sized one. If you are not
willing to do your home work and learn about the body language that would warn
you of a bite and how to avoid it, then you are very likely going to be
one unhappy parrot owner.
So you want to own a parrot?