Biting and Lunging

When trying to figure out why your companion is biting or lunging, FIRST examine your expectations at the time of the bite or lunge. A parrot responding in this manner, is a parrot not being heard.

Biting and Lunging

Last year I wrote an article titled Overstaying Your Welcome. In that piece I discussed how pushing or lingering for a result we can't seem to get from our parrot will most certainly result in a bite. That generally is one of the reasons for all the bluffing, biting, nipping, and lunging you may be dealing with right now.

Another reason for BBNL (bluffing, biting, nipping and lunging) is pushing too hard or fast for a result you want inside a given situation, and it usually happens during transitions. Parrot's do not transition that quickly, they do a bit of thinking and judgement calls first, the better you know your parrots body language, the more you notice the nuance of all that thinking. BBNL is their way of slowing you down. It's your way of realizing you have not created a recognizable routine for expectation and execution of a transition. Basically, BBNL is your bird saying "WHAT? WAIT!!"

I truly in my heart of hearts do not believe bluffing as defined by a human, exists in a parrot's brain. I do think when a warning shot is fired they are communicating. I do think that when we get bit, we didn't respect the warning shot or the body language before that bite.

It's on us, all of it. This is where parrots are difficult, and this is why alot of birds end up in rescue. Because BBNL is misinterpreted, and mishandled. BBNL in it's beginning stages is a bit of nonsense that can be cleared up with proper communication, routines, transitions and modified expectations. And depending on the parrot and their history, this can be painstaking work. BUT BBNL can quickly escalate to a very frustrated parrot that has, through failure of communication, taken to relying on the quickest route to getting rid of bad communication or the prospect of bad communication. BBNL just boils down to biting. And possibly plucking and screaming if it's gone on too long.

I've 8 parrots, I've been bit once over the years. Felix bit me one evening. We were too close to bedtime, and I misinterpreted his willingness to be given a beaky kiss. I got greedy, stopped paying attention to his body language and received a nice bite for it. That was on me. That was 100% my fault.

Parrots' most defining and inviting traits are the very traits we can, at times, not respect enough. And therein lies the fine art of companion parrot living. We aren't the only flock member in the room with expectations.

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