Dear Parrot Lover,
Ouch! Bird Bites Hurt
Just how powerful can a bird bite be?
Anyone that has been bitten by their pet bird knows that any bird bite hurts. It doesn’t really matter what the size of the bird is, but there are differences in the severity of the bite based on the bird.
Larger birds like parrots can have tremendously painful bites. While there is no distinct test on the pressure of a parrot’s bite, it is often considered about as powerful as a large dog at somewhere between 500-700 pounds per square inch. Birds’ beaks, like the parrot, are built for puncturing whether that’s human flesh or a nut.
Bite inhibition also plays a role in how powerful a bird’s bite will be. Some birds are better at inhibiting the pressure of their bite, even when frightened. Other birds have little inhibition and will apply a high level of pressure.
Why birds bite
There are many reasons why your bird might bite. Biting is a natural reaction because even though birds are our pets, they are still wild. Understanding the primary causes for biting behavior help you to avoid or correct the issue.
The most common reason your bird will bite is out of fear. He might even bite you when he’s in a fearful situation such as at the vet’s office. Biting out of fear is a common go-to reaction for many birds. It is often aimed at strangers (visitors to your home).
Another cause of biting is possessiveness or territorial aggression. The bird may choose to be possessive over his cage, stand, or even you! That means that when someone approaches whatever he is being possessive over he may bite them.
A cranky or ill-feeling bird may also bite. He may not want to be touched, moved, or bothered, and he simply responds with biting. Birds only have beaks and biting as a way to protect themselves or express their moods.
Working with the biting bird
Some biting issues are easier to resolve than others. For example, if a bird is wary of a new person to the home, you can make that person a much more wonderful thing by having the person offer special food items to the bird. If the bird learns that this new person is the only one with something special, the person quickly becomes a less scary thing!
Other issues are harder to work with such as a hormonal bird. Hormones are a funny thing, and they affect every bird differently, but biting is one of the more common problems associated with hormonal changes in your bird. Various techniques can help you avoid being bitten even during this time.
You want to learn your individual bird too. All birds give off body language and signals that biting may be coming soon, so learning these signals is really important for training.