Quaker Biting Very Hard, Taking Chunks Out Of My Skin – Ouch!

quaker parrot on back in man's hand
Read in 13 minutes

I don’t remember how I knew this but, I did know not to pet him below his neck so I wouldn’t make him think I was his mate. 

But yeah, I’d be happily head scritching and then bam, he’d turn and quaker-war-cry scream and clamp onto my skin and flap and screech.

It was an angry, vicious, continuous bite and he wouldn’t stop.

There was no warning sign.

There was no trigger that I could see.

Just completely changing from peaceful happy bird, to vicious kill bird, like the flip of a switch. 

This made me terrified of him, and I stopped taking him out. 

Fast forward 10 years (and lots of research) later. 

I moved out into a place of my own.

Finally out of my parents’ house with their “no bird outside your room” rule, I put his cage in the living room right by the TV and computers.

When I’d take him out he’d barrel out and fluff up for cute head rubs, then bam crazy biting.

So again I stopped taking him out, I was scared of him and decided I’d figure it out later. 

Now is “later.”

My husband and I got him a new cage (32″ wide by, something, I forget the dimensions).

He doesn’t sleep unless he has darkness so, we used his old cage as his sleep cage and put it in another room.

So we take him out in the morning, bring him to his main cage, then take him out in the evening to bring him to his sleep cage.

He usually flies a few laps around the room both in the morning and at night, and gets some head rubs before he goes in. 

But we have to cover our hands with a towel, because of his unpredictable random biting.

And now he’s started a new thing, where he’ll fly while screaming his war cry, and aim right at our faces.

It’s random and unpredictable as to when he’ll launch, and we have to duck or else he’ll get our faces. 

I know that by ducking we reinforce the behavior, but I don’t know what else to do.

We do our best not to yell or make any other noise. 

We want him to come out and play, like he used to when I was a teen.

But he flies at us for attention instead.

He’s like… velcro attached to us, desperate for attention.

And while we want to give him that attention, we don’t want to get covered in blood and bruises, either. 

Over the years he became less and less interested in toys.

He likes fraying rope, so I try to make lots of rope toys for him… but I wish he’d get into something besides fraying, you know?

Rope, shoelaces (undyed/no chemicals from a bird toy parts store), and q-tips are the only toys he even sometimes touches.

Also published on Medium.


He's handled a 1000 birds of numerous species when they would visit their monthly birdie brunch in the old Portage Park (Chicago, IL) facility. The one with the parrot playground. Mitch has written and published more than 1100 articles on captive bird care. He's met with the majority of  CEO's and business owners for most brands in the pet bird space and does so on a regular basis. He also constantly interacts with avian veterinarians and influencers globally.