I am learning all this stuff myself. When I got Luna, my Severe Macaw, the aviary owner told me NOT to put the bird on my head or shoulder, as this puts them (or at least in the bird’s opinion) in a dominate state of mind.
Also, when holding your bird, keep your elbow down ~ this way s/he won’t climb on your shoulder. If the bird is unsure of you, and vice-versa, you certainly don’t want a parrot bite on your face!
If you are withdrawing your hand because you are afraid she’ll bite you, well, then, you might have to get nipped a few times. You can’t act afraid. The bird picks right up on that! Don’t force her out of the cage, either. Greys are extremely intelligent but I think they also tend to be shy. Luna has bitten me several times, but now she is beginning to trust me. She even kisses me and let’s me hold onto her beak when she’s walking around on my arm. Also, remember birds use their beaks as a ‘third hand’, to balance, explore, etc. If you get the bird on your arm and she bites you, do the ‘earthquake’ ~ shake your arm to distract and throw her off balance. Don’t drop her!
Once your grey has gained your trust ~ through your calm and consistent behavior, you’ll start to see changes. NEVER poke, prod, spray (with water or anything else) or punish the bird other than to make her go back in her cage. She needs to feel safe. There is an avian veterinary doctor named Ellen Cook who you can find on YouTube that tells how to train a bird of any age how not to be aggressive. Also, I’ve heard that if you want your parrot to talk, don’t whistle at her and don’t play music! It’s much easier for her to imitate those sounds than language, so if you want her to talk, talk to HER.
Here’s a GREAT video on ‘what NOT to do”. Click on the link:
How long have you owned your bird? Maybe I should be asking YOU questions, haha!
How cute that yours talks! I realize, after reading and reading and READING that nutrition is a big deal too. I would think an improperly-nourished bird might develop issues, including obviously, HUNGER. Hunger would make ME irritable, too! So, I must get in the habit of buyng (and throwing away) lots of fruits, dark green veggies (except avacado) ~ pasta (no salt), cooked beans (never raw), I don’t know ... read up! I can tell you love her. Put up a photo so we can see her, pretty please? I seem to recall that not ALL nuts are good for birds, but I think Brazil nuts and almonds are good and help keep the beaks trimmed.
As you are obviously already aware, you absolutely need to have her wings and nails (talons?) clipped. Where did you acquire your bird? Perhaps you can take it back there for some wing clipping, etc. Look in your phone book or on the net for local avian rescue facilities. They can probably help, too. As I wrote earlier, I am also the owner of smaller birds (cockatiels and lovebirds), but the parrot’s going to be a new, scary experience for me. I will do my very best to spoil her rotten. The good news is that she’s only about 8 months old, and talking already. I’m hoping that’s a good sign. My house is so noisey that God only knows what will come out of that bird’s mouth after living with us.
I want to make sure she gets used to EVERYONE. I’m told the parrot has to learn to understand that interacting with different people will make her life interesting and result in her having fun.
I read that whenever possible, take your parrot away from their cage and keep them on a perch, preferably where you are ~ room to room, even. Take them with you in the shower! And one thing NOT to do. I’ve seen people doing this on YouTube and it scared the heck out of me: While their birds are out, they had huge ceiling fans going ! DUMB in my honest opinion!
It will be fun to compare notes. I do hope you can post a photo.
As you are obviously already aware, you absolutely need to have her wings and nails (talons?) clipped.
Companion parrots will have a much better life if they will be allowed to fly. Clipping their wings deprives them of an instinctive behavior that also provides them with health benefits, such as a good muscle development and blood circulation.
By being able to fly, they will also feel more confident and safe, as they will not feel ‘trapped’ if they are scared or want to avoid something.
Of course, their environment needs to be safe (no open windows or doors unless they protected by strong mosquito netting), and they should never be unsupervised while free.
The nails should be clipped only if they are overgrown, as they are important to provide parrots with a strong grasp on their perches, helping them to have a good balance.
In this section of our web site http://www.parrots.org/index.php/allaboutparrots/ you will find some great articles on many parrot related topics, such as behavior, nutrition, health and welfare.
Thanks so much for correcting my mis-information (I sent you an apology email). I have two lovebirds and two cockatiels and have NEVER had their wings clipped. I do let them fly. However, when I put a deposit down on Luna (a Severe Macaw) last week, the breeder said that she would ‘clip her feathers and nails’ when I come to take her home. As soon as I saw your response I called them and told them NOT to! I feel like a dope.
I’m glad you saw my post and responded, because I may have done something stupid to my own parrot, as well as causing someone else to do it to theirs. For what it’s worth, I have been reading, reading, and reading. Did you see my question regarding flight harnesses? I wrote that I saw & heard an avian vet recommending them, but the breeder thought the notion of any kind of harness on bird was ridiculous. Obviously, I’m confused. Since you are an administrator, I would appreciate it if you could delete that post of mine.
I would also like to stress a few points.
The first think to keep in mind with a parrot that has a wild behavior, is not to have any rush. It can take parrots, Greys in particular, a long time to accept and trust humans.
Never punish a parrot, it doesn’t work. To obtain his trust you must show him that all of your actions have a positive effect for him.
Don’t deprive him of food, he should never be made to feel hungry. Provide him with a healthy diet of fresh vegetables, fruits and seeds. If he is not used to them, he will probably not accept the fresh foods right away, but eventually he will.
If you wish to touch him or have him step up on your hand, and you see that he retreats and tries to avoid you, then you should back off without insisting. Don’t force yourself on him because that will likely put him in a position in which he will feel forced to bite you.
Have a LOT of patience, and don’t give up. Parrots are very smart birds, and there is always a reason for their behaviors.
Concentrate to give him a good reason to bond to you. It will be worth it, for him and for you.
You don’t need to apologize, it’s not your fault. And there is no need to delete your post, there are breeders who give questionable advice, what is important is that you are seeking information also from other sources.
One very important aspect of keeping a fully flighted parrot is that is should become a second nature for the owner to check that windows and doors not protected by a screen are never left open when the parrot is free to fly around. Many parrots have been lost because their owners were distracted, so this can’t be stressed enough.
Personally, I am not crazy about the use of a harness. However, if a young bird has been well adapted to it, and appears to enjoy the outdoors then I suppose that it will not do too much harm, provided that it will not be used for long periods.
If possible, I feel that it would be better to have a parrot spend some time outdoors in a cage or in an aviary, checking that he enjoys it and that he is not afraid of the outside world, that there are no predators that could harm him even if in a cage, and placing a protection on part of the enclosure that will shield the sunlight and that can provide him with some privacy.
Mnmustafa, I would take a step back.
Try to work more on obtaining his trust, without putting any pressures on him to step up. Be patient, give him all the time that he will need.
Eventually, you will get to the point in which your Grey will want to step on your hand, or even your shoulder. But before then, he will need to feel totally safe with you.