When sun conures attack!

Asian men with parrot - Sun Conure
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Good morning and thanks for your time,

I enjoy reading your newsletters every Sunday, and I just knew yesterday, Sunday, I had to contact you. In short, my sweet female, 1.5 year old, sun conure decided to attack her sitter yesterday when she entered our home. Here is the scenario:

  1. We had three other people present whom she ignored.
  1. The Super Bowl was on. The constant annoying cheering of the tv fans.

Now, she did not attack her right away. Perhaps it was not intended to be attack mode. Once the sitter passed me and my bird Sofia, Sofia immediately flew towards her, the sitter, not expecting it, flailed her arms.

Sofia bit her on the side of her face then flew away and came back to repeat the session. Two more times that night, Sofia targeted her directly and bit her finger.

Needless to say I was very disappointed because Sofia was like another bird. With me she was fine. No doubt she was on the edge already. She did her puffing up of the facial feathers and opening her wings a bit. I keep telling people do not stick your finger in her face trying to coax her onto your hand. One more thing, I tried to mend the situation by giving the sitter some treats to give Sofia.

That went well, but Sofia would not stay on her hands. She took the treat and backed off. Finally after the game, time to go home, the sitter approached the cage and spoke softly. Sofia appeared normal…no puffing of the feathers. Just looked at her and remained still.

So I told my friend, the sitter that I would get your professional opinion…was Sofia protecting me, her territory? But why then did she totally ignore everyone else? And best question, how can I avoid this in the future? Thanks ahead of time for your thoughts

Veronica

Hi Veronica and thank you for writing. Birds are creatures of habit. When habit is disrupted, their circuits get shorted out.

Short answer – No doubt Sophia has bonded with you. The sitter is a threat to your relationship with Sophia. The additional noise and activity of the three other people basically was throwing kerosene on the fire.

The sitter needs to work on two things in the immediate future, clicker training

And stick training so she is able to manage the bird when you are not home

The sitter needs to spend a percent of her time while sitting interacting with Sophia in a positive way in order to earn Sophia’s trust.

We can talk about this more but I would need to know if you are certain about her sex, what her diet is and a picture of her cage set up

Best of luck

Hello Mitch,
I see clearly what you mentioned about the sitter being a threat and the extra noise factor. Sofia is DNA tested a female. And why I thought this whole thing was bazaar is because the sitter does have a great dynamic with the bird.

She sends us pics and tells us what a sweet bird she is. So for her to turn on her was very disappointing for me. So I had to rethink everything and put it into perspective. I’ll have to work on clicker training myself.

I’ll send you pics of her cage. It is huge and lots of perches and toys. I change things around to keep it interesting. I like the idea of imitating the tops of trees in the forest. It makes perfect sense.

One more thing…everyday after dinner (she stays in her cage during our dinner or else we couldn’t eat) we let her out. Either my husband or I do the dishes. But when I do them, she seems to think it’s fun to fly to my head and slide down and start biting my ear or back of my neck.

It’s like a game for her. It is funny and I don’t mind until she bites too hard, which happens. She does not do this with other activities. Then after a few struggling times she finally perches on the faucet and happily watches or will take a shower in the sink. Is “washing dishes” a threat to her?

Thanks for your infinite parrot wisdom.

Veronica

Peaches does that to me (preens my beard too). Sounds like she’s bonding with you and looking to take a bath.

Bird cage full of toys

I like your cage set up a alot – the platform below the door is great. I think the booda perch low in the cage may not be getting a lot of traffic. Think about putting it on the outside of the cage – in front or on top or front to top (think upside down J) 

Peaches a Senegal parrot gets clicker training on the top of her birdcage

Great selection of foods, but filling up bowls is boring – why not make it interesting? 

Those rubber toys in the cage can be filled with nuts and treats make Sophia work to get them

I attribute the wisdom thing to being old and having a long white beard 🙂

Best – mitchr

written by mitch rezman
written by Veronica Salfi
approved by catherine tobsing

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