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Testing the status quo - an Origin for Some Biting Behaviour

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By Sally Blanchard

Parrots are creatures of habit. While it is not a positive step to create a rigid routine for the parrots in our lives, they do thrive on consistency and predictability. The mutual bond between a companion parrot and the person it lives with is the most significant aspect of that bird’s life. It needs to depend on that bond and most of all, the consistency of its caregiver’s personality. When a person is emotionally undependable and capricious in their behaviour towards a parrot, that bird will most likely become insecure in the relationship. This insecurity can create all sorts of behavioural problems with biting being the most common.

Why do insecure birds bite the people in their lives? There are many reasons, but I believe the biting often starts as a way to test the caregiver. This is especially true when there is a change in the attitude, commitment, and personality of the caregiver. Many young parrots in a new home will start testing the caregiver when the ‘newness’ wears off and the person’s interest is not as strong. The parrot often reacts with an attempt to test the status quo. Is everything the same? Is the caregiver still dependable and capable of being the flock leader?

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