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

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

How am I supposed to keep him entertained, or teach him how to play, when he likes so little? 

I tried balsa wood, he was terrified of it for weeks.

(For reference, a green-colored perch that I put in his cage 7 months ago, he still doesn’t walk on – he goes the long way to get around it.

He’s scared of a lot of things.)

He’d hiss and swipe at the balsa if he got near it. He used to like shredding paper and styrofoam blocks, but he doesn’t touch those anymore.

I just… I don’t know what to keep him entertained with. I can’t help but think that if he used that lil birdy brain of his more, he’d be much less… well, angry. 

I know the whole “play with a toy in front of him to make him want to play with it” thing but, all that does is make him war cry and angry scream at it.

He’s scared of everything, and jealous of anything that gets my attention.

Surprisingly though he likes my husband. 

He switches which one of us he’s velcroing to for attention.

One day he’ll flock call to and stare at me, another day he’ll ignore me and flock call and stare at him.

But yeah, if we hug in front of him, or if I try to play with a toy in front of him, he latches onto the front of the cage screaming and flapping angry and/or scared. 

I kind of wish I had another bird that he could latch onto.

I have two parakeets, and watching them interact and keep each other entertained has been very cute.

I wish my Quaker had that… instead of endlessly pining for attention from me.

I feel like he deserves better, you know?

But I will never in my life get another quaker – or any bird with a beak larger than a parakeet’s. 

So, that’s my story.

What do I do?

How do I teach him to play and un-velcro from me?

How do I solve this mystery of the random, unexplained biting?

How do I discourage the “launch at my face” behavior?

How do I re-gain my trust in him again?

What do I do? I know he will (hopefully!) be with me for another 30 years.

I want him to be happy. 

Thank you for reading.



It sounds like you have your hands full Ria.

It’s been my limited personal experience that Quakers can be a bit nippy.

It’s important to remember that all parrots can learn new behavior and skills throughout their life.


That said you might want to start with some simple stick training.

This is where you train your bird step on it up on a stick creating distance between the bird and your flesh.

I’m certain your fear of handling the bird is not helping the situation in the stick training might be a step in the right direction.

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.