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Complete Psittacine By EB Cravens

Parrots magazine 148 May 2010

Our Pushy Parrots - A Discourse on Avian Aggression

Of all the unpredictable behaviors to be found in captive psittacines, perhaps none is as potentially destructive to a trusting bird/human relationship as avian aggression. Those keepers who have experienced a pet or breeder bird ‘friend’ abruptly turning on them, will know exactly what I am talking about. A combination of confused feelings follows such an aggressive incident: dejection, insult, hurt pride, fear, anger, guilt at having unwittingly caused an assault, and of course, compassion for the parrot’s point of view.

In the worst-case scenario, aggressive changes in a hookbill’s behavior towards its owner can signal the beginning of the end for the formerly stable relationship. Witness the many psittacines placed into adoption, rehabilitation, and re-homing situations because they have been deemed ‘too aggressive’ to continue living with their former contented family.

This is a shame. For captive avian aggression, like other dysfunctions such as excessive noisemaking, in-home mess making/destructiveness, and feather self-mutilation, can be alleviated and coped with by most any imaginative owner who resolves to put forward a modicum of patience and effort.

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