Birds will bite for different reasons
- they will bite out of fear
- they will bite because they are excited or even just because they’re feeling good and are being maybe a little too playful, and
- they will bite out of spite – biting because they LIKE to.
Birds that bite just for the joy of it might be better off in a breeding situation. Any bird will bite in the “right” situation – usually because it’s frightened. As birds get near puberty, they go through a nippy stage. It’s natural that they try to establish their position in the social order. When this happens, you should establish your position as “boss” by giving an “Up!” command. It helps the bird remember who is in charge.
Remember that a bird uses it’s mouth and tongue like humans use their fingers, to explore the texture and feel of different objects. When a bird is exploring (maybe you, your hand, whatever) never pull your hand away quickly – it might get frightened and bite without meaning any harm. A gentle warning is appropriate if you get nipped a little too hard. You should be sure that you let the bird know in a non-threatening way what the limits are to it’s exploring and testing. Never raise your voice, strike the bird, or overreact, even if you’ve been hurt – this can lead to the bird thinking the exclaiming is an exciting reaction, and he might think it’s a great way to get your attention in the future!
If the bird should bite, don’t put him in the cage – this will teach him that a bite will quickly get him returned to the cage, and it will teach him to be territorial about the cage. The bird will learn that when he wants to go back to the cage, he should bite – he will think he’s giving you the signal to return to the cage.
The wobble is a good correction for a bite. If the bird bites while perched on your hand, quickly drop your hand. He’ll lose his balance and he’ll have to stop biting to regain it. He won’t like this reaction from you to his bite, and he’ll soon learn that biting leads to the unpleasant drop, and won’t bite anymore.
Please remember that these are just thoughts on the subject of bird behavior – others may or may not agree with them. Some of the suggestions that we give might help you out; you may have to try other solutions if our suggestions don’t work in your particular case.
No one solution is guaranteed to work in every situation. We strongly suggest that you discuss any behavior problems with your vet, breeder or some other specialist in bird behavior, as they may be able to help also.