Angry/aggressive parrot

GerryFero

Regular Member
Registered
Hi all, I am new to this forum, thanks for letting me be a part of it.
I am not good at keeping things short, so apologies for the length of this post. English is also not my first language, so please be patient with any mistakes.

My husband and I have had Gerry - orange-winged Amazon - for about 6 years. When we got him he was 6 months old and came from a parrot breeder, he was parent reared and did not have much human interaction. It was our first bird and despite having done a lot of research nothing could have prepared us for him!
Gosh he is a handful for sure. We watched all the videos about a parrot being loving and cuddly and boy we were wrong if we thought we could ever get there with Gerry!

He lives in a large cage, the ones suitable for macaws, but has time out of the cage for at least 4 hours every day. He is not clipped, so he flies around, sits with us while we work, watches TV with us, jumps on us when he feels like seeing what we are doing up close, he looks relaxed and happy.

When we started to let him out of his cage, at the very beginning, he was terrified of us; our vet suggested we towel him to get him back to the cage and in his words this was the way to get him used to us. Note: this vet specialises in exotics and has several large parrots himself.
We did the towelling for about 10 times and every time the experience was terrifying for both us and him - he would scream out in terror, fly away, we would chase, I would have to wear thick gloves as he would try to bite my fingers off. So despite the vet's recommendation, we decided to stop towelling and instead trained him to step on a perch and then we use the perch to carry him back to the cage, which he now does 100% of the time. He is now also clicker trained, which he learned pretty fast and goes everywhere we put the stick to get treats (he loves almonds). Doing the step up on hand is out of the question as he would just bite and draw blood (I tried a million times always with the same result which left me hurt mentally and physically, my husband doesn't even try as he saw what happened to me for being brave).
Now it has been 6 years and he likes spending time with us, he is super excited to sit on us, he takes treats from our hands, he follows us around, he will go as far as giving us his paws when asked for, but all of this on his terms, if we ever try to touch him (e.g. his head or go near his belly with a hand to ask him to step up) he will growl and act terrified and fly away or bite.

Just to make sure I don't get judged unfairly, we love him and he loves us: I can see how excited he gets when we gets back home after being out or because he always comes and sits near us. He is also pretty much in love with me over my husband as he follows me around and when he cannot see me he looks for me everywhere and calls me until I respond to him.

The thing that hurts is that he is still wild and mistrusting of us.
I am not sure whether this can ever be improved.
 

RoyJess

Regular Member
Welcome to the forum.

I'm pleased to hear that you have ditched the towelling and trained your bird to go away on the stick. We have an Orange wing which has bonded with my wife but has attacked me on many occasion, especially when she is hormonal. Sounds like you are doing all the correct thing with training. Don't worry if your bird won't step up onto your hand, some of our birds wont step up onto my hand and we never force them to do anything that they don't want to. Training is about encouraging them to do things by using positive reinforcement, but never forcing. Focus with training on the things that your bird is happy to do.

Building up trust between you and your bird can take some time, even years and sometimes never
 

GerryFero

Regular Member
Registered
Welcome to the forum.

I'm pleased to hear that you have ditched the towelling and trained your bird to go away on the stick. We have an Orange wing which has bonded with my wife but has attacked me on many occasion, especially when she is hormonal. Sounds like you are doing all the correct thing with training. Don't worry if your bird won't step up onto your hand, some of our birds wont step up onto my hand and we never force them to do anything that they don't want to. Training is about encouraging them to do things by using positive reinforcement, but never forcing. Focus with training on the things that your bird is happy to do.

Building up trust between you and your bird can take some time, even years and sometimes never

Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging reply. I feel much better knowing that I am doing the right things. Hopefully he is happy and his trust will continue to grow.
 

Wendy Cooper-Wolfe

Regular Member
Hello and welcome from me and Dora. It sounds as if you are doing everything you can to ensure that he has a good life..... There are a lot of good notes on the forum about training, and i am sure that like @RoyJess others will have experience to share. I am still learning that life with a parrot sometimes has to be on their terms!
 

Michael Reynolds

Regular Member
Hello and welcome, ok the avian vet has not helped as a towel should only ever be used as a last thing and only in emergancies. i think that your Ow is happy the way he is and sounds a lot like my Charlie that i have to do thingswhen he wants and on his terms. he sounds a lvely bird and quite honistly i would not try to change him, the more you try to get him closer the more he may reject your advancies
 

GerryFero

Regular Member
Registered
Hi all, thanks for your replies and encouragement.
I have one question you may advise on: as he is so wild I find spending meaningful time with him hard. What I mean is: I would like to interact with him (e.g. play tricks). I am not saying this for my benefit, but to ensure he gets mental stimulation. However it is not possible as I am unable to teach him anything. So we end up just sitting there while I do my own things and he does his or the only thing we can do interactive is I point the clicker stick somewhere and he goes there for a treat. This is fine by me but makes me worried that he is lacking stimulation, that he may need more than boringly sitting with me, but I am unable to give him fun time. What do you suggest?
 

CaptainHowdy

Regular Member
For mental stimulation you can get or make foragers and puzzles for him.

Buffet balls are one of the easier ones. You can put treats in there for him to get out. You can put fruit and veg on kabob sticks to hang up.

You can use cardboard tubes to stuff paper and treats in.

Also baby toys can be a hit, just make sure they are safe.
 

Michael Reynolds

Regular Member
The good side of your last post is that your amazon is showing response to the stick and that side can be built up on. I was going to mention foraging but captain Howdy has just posted on that
 

RoyJess

Regular Member
Clicker training is the way to go, once your bird has mastered one trick, then move onto a different slightly more advance trick. Patience and little baby steps is the key here. I spend no more than 5 minutes a day clicker training my Hahns.

Enrichment is the key with keeping your bird active

Check out the foraging tree in this video


Have a look at this website for foraging ideas

 
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