With the Sweets, Comes the Sours.

Updated: Nov 4, 2019


As parrot owners we all have one thing in common, parrots bite. There is no way to get around it. You can’t put it on a plate and make it pretty to serve to the unsuspecting or unknowing, it’s just a harsh fact of owning these beautiful creatures. They bite, and when they do, it sucks.


Dexter my Timneh grey who I have had the longest in our little flock usually bites me once a year. Is it an episode in terror that he has been planning? Nope. It’s usually around spring fever time when all parrots go a little wonky. It’s the one time of year that you have to pick your battles and walk away. Sometimes it’s not the easiest to walk away from and your feelings get hurt.

Cooper, who I refer to as Cujo of my household, has his moods. He can be pig-headed, cage aggressive, cunning and a down rain pain in the old keister. However, I try not to lose faith in him. He makes it extremely difficult to love him sometimes, but when he lets his walls down, your heart literally melts in your chest. There are months that go by where his beak does not shred my skin like paper, there are months where he steps up without launching at my hand like a junkyard dog going after a trespasser and there are months when Cooper lets his true personality shine. That’s when I tend to relax and lose focus. Cooper is just being Cooper, and that’s when it happens. WHAM! I understand that he has not been premeditating the strike like the planning of a bank job, it’s just that I haven’t watched his body language, and his trigger points that indicate the attack is coming. Of course, when this happens, it hurts. It bothers me to the core. I feel horrible, not only for my physical wounds, but for the gauge to my ego. I feel as if all the work that we have done is just tossed and out the window. When any of the other birds nip me, it does not affect me the same way. Of course, the same intent and aggression is not there.


Birds are naturally prey animals and innately suspicious creatures. They have their defense mechanisms, just like any other animal out there. So, biting may be the way that they communicate to you that they aren’t happy with the way things are going and want to say “No, I don’t want to go” or “I don’t want to come out of my cage”. A friend of mine and I were chatting about a bite wound and he asked “well your birds talk, can’t they simply say no I don’t want to go” and I responded, “yes they understand certain things, but english is not their first language”. If you think about it, it’s true they mimic, understand and can formulate their own sentences, but that’s not every bird. Some birds don’t even talk at all; so how are they going to communicate? Physically. Our first reaction to physical threat is fight or flight, our adrenal system takes over and usually doesn’t allow for “talking it out” until the brain has made the decision of which path it is going. Fight avenue or flight drive.


For those of you out there with a bird that bites, educate yourself and the “why” will make itself known. Birds usually don’t bite for no reason and some with severe aggression issues have been conditioned that way. There is always a cause and effect in any behavioral scenario and it’s up to you to find the root. Try and tell yourself it’s nothing personal, lord knows I try to tell myself that very thing.

With every beautiful thing there is always a counter balance, the yin to the yang. With parrots and their beautiful magnificence, there has to be the other side of the spectrum. When your parrot bites you, shake it off and breathe, it’s nothing personal. And remember, “With the sweets comes the sours”.

Copyright – 2015 – Parrot Earth – With the Sweets, Comes the Sours

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