General Question

Theby's avatar

Why do the birds I feed bite?

Asked by Theby (998 points ) April 5th, 2010

I feed wild sulphur crested cockatoos every morning and night. They come and sit on my windowsill and wait for their food. They have become quite tame and let me pat them and they come onto my arm. Sometimes when I try to feed 2 at once one of them bites me. My husband thinks it is because of the “pecking order.” Do you agree or do you think it could be because they are just being greedy? There is plenty of food for all of them.

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10 Answers

Sandydog's avatar

Maybe it doesnt actually mean to bite ? If your feeding animals or anything else they sometimes do this.

rangerr's avatar

As tame as they may seem, they are still wild animals.

Buttonstc's avatar

They are still wild creatures after all. And out in the wild, food is related to survival.

Whoever gets the most food wins. They don’t understand abstract concepts like plenty for all and sharing. So, no, they definitely don’t understand that there’s enough for everybody. The advantage of sharing is a human concept that’s even difficult for HUMAN toddlers to grasp, much less wild birds :)

And they do have a pecking order and you can’t really change that. They’re probably “disciplining” you for not obeying their heirarchy.

This is all instinctual behavior ingrained into all wild creatures so it’s not personal.

Buttonstc's avatar

Woops. Ranger said the same thing while I was typing.

Also, even bird species which are sold as pets still require a lot of human handling and feeding when very young or else they will still act like wild birds.

Most advice books on caring for pet birds advise to make sure a bird was hand raised before you commit to buying it or you likely won’t be as happy.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

Their birds. They peck things as a means of exploration. There’s really not a lot of higher brain functions going on there.

mrentropy's avatar

I have a sulpher crested cockatoo and he’s gotten into the habit of giving me a chomp or two. As I understand it, they are quite territorial and there is a “pecking order.”

I’m just glad you’re not out there shooting them.

gurnblansten's avatar

Human flesh is delicious to them.

Theby's avatar

@CodePinko, Good choice!! LOL

CodePinko's avatar

Trent is always a good choice.

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