Green Cheek Bite Warning Signs
Unfortunately, unlike macaw, cockatoo or african grey parrots, green cheek conures don't give many warning signs that they're about to bite. Larger birds will warn you with eye pining. Eye pining, or dilating of the pupils, is a major bird bite warning sign. Green cheek conures do not do eye pining. What you might get before a bite is ruffled feathers, or a slightly open beak. If you see ruffled feathers or puffy feathers, and an open beak or lunging beak, watch out.
Reasons that green cheek conures bite
Green cheek conures are more "tame" and easy to control than their larger parrot cousins, such as macaw, cockatoos or african grey birds. However, you may still have some territorial issues. Birds are not domesticated animals, and still have some of the "territory defending" instincts that dogs and cats no longer have. Unlike dogs and cats, parrots can be more unpredictable. You can go from a sweet and loving bird one minute who wants scritches, to an attack bird the next.
How not to get bitten by your bird
Remember that a bird's way of thinking is very different from a human's way of thinking. Some tips not to get bitten include: keeping hands out of personal territory of the bird. This includes cages and toys, but most importantly a nest box, if your green cheek has one. The nest box triggers the ultimate territory aggression issues in green cheeks, especially female green cheek conures. Female green cheeks are driven to protect their nest at any cost. If you must clean their nest box, clean the nest box while the bird is away to avoid a nasty bite. Other options include frequently moving toys. Moving toys breaks the territorial attachment green cheeks have on objects, and allows you to more freely put your hand in the cage without fear of a bite. Also, try not to touch food dishes while the bird is eating or hungry. Moving or handling food dishes too frequently can trigger bird food aggression issues, if the bird sees you (your hand) as a threat, removing his food.
Respect Your Birds Wishes
Many liken taking care of a bird to taking care of a child. I would say that it's more like taking care of a mentally challenged adult. Your bird may be sweet as a baby, but eventually your green cheek will grow up and have sexual needs, as well as having the instinct to defend their territory. Territory and aggression issues cannot be trained out of a bird. A bird can be trained not to bite, but never to go against their instincts. If your green cheek trusts you, you are much less likely to be bitten. Just remember to respect their territory as well, and remember that green cheeks are not robots, but unpredictable animals with their own thoughts and desires.
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