Monday, March 21, 2011

Blood bite

Since Friday, we've noticed extreme jealousy out of Max. Her behavior is perfectly normal until she notices that one of us is holding/paying attention to another bird (especially if that other bird is Beeps or Stella). Then, she must act.

Friday after work, I was alone with the birds. Since Beeps is so unpredictable right now he can't be out of his cage unless he is being held by me; otherwise, he flies over to Basil's cage to cause problems.

I was sitting at the kitchen table, reading the paper, Beeps on my leg. Max flew to the table and grabbed my hand gently with her beak, pushing it down to foot level. This is something she does when she wants to step up, so I wasn't concerned. She then put one foot on my finger, as if to step up. However, she was only controlling my hand as she then took her beak and grabbed a pinch of skin! I can't really call it a bite as she didn't break the skin, but it was definitely a hard pinch -- three days later I can still see the marks on my hand. It was so deliberate and cunning; I really wish I had the entire incident on video as it was rather unbelievable. She was angry and she wanted me to know it! Note that she could have done a lot more damage had she wanted to -- this was about getting her point across.

When Thomas got home, I warned him about her. A few minutes later, he had Stella on his arm and was looking at the wild birds in our backyard. Max flew to his shoulder. She almost never does this, as she knows it's not allowed. He was unconcerned as she is generally well-behaved, so he was taking his time in getting her off, when she quickly bit his ear and then flew to her cage.

Here was the result:
This probably looks worse than it was, as Thomas instinctively put his hand up to his ear and then smeared the blood around a bit. By yesterday, there was only a tiny spot of dried blood at the wound, though he said it was still tender.

I suspect this is hormonally-driven; I'm pretty sure she went through a similar phase last year so I'll search my blog archive to see how long it lasted. In the meantime, we are being very careful around Max until her behavior returns to her baseline.

4 comments:

Meg said...

I hope it doesn't get any worse! Even aside from Chester I ahve to be careufl with Frank. If he is out, and someone else is getting attention, he wants it too.

I can really see Max's bite, I have seen that a few times here. Frank (again) does it most frequently, although Yaz also did it fairly often. By fairly often I just mean when they are upset, of course, not that it was a regular occurrence. You just have to hope she isn't ever really mad when she does it!

Oh, and have your parrots ever just held your finger really hard? I am still not sure what Yaz's purpose in this was, but he grabbed my finger once and instead of biting, just squeezed it. It literally turned purple!

D. Richard said...

Hollywood will do that when she wants attention but she does not break the skin as often as she used to . Linus has on the other hand has put a small notch in my ear .
He sat on my shoulder for a long time , then snuggled up to my neck then reached up and notched my eat , once on the right , once on the left .

Luckybird said...

I don't want to jinx anything by saying this, but Lucky hasn't been very beaky lately. He has, however, been excessively beepy. OMG, he was driving me crazy with beeping today. I don't know if it's the freaks of hazzard who live behind us and he's scared or if he's feeling needy or if he's hormonal or whiney or what.
Remember though, less than a year ago, he took a chunk out of my top lip and out of my bottom lip, about a week apart.

Beloved Parrot said...

Wow, hope Thomas' ear heals fast and without scars!

Charli is unbelievably jealous and possessive, so I have to watch her all the time. Her favorite spot is my shoulder (of course), so I spend a lot of time having her step up off my shoulder . . . . they've sure got their own agenda, don't they?