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Macaw mood swings

Diveks

Meeting neighbors
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So sunset, my macaw that ive had for 6 years (since she was a baby). Have been having mood swings for no reason sometimes. She has been like this since she was little, thought that was normal but none of my other birds do that. She can go from very very sweet, to hating you in one second. She is always very sweet when she is only alone with me, but when someone comes to the room she starts being defensive, i also get bitten sometimes. Im thinking its because she doesn’t feel comfortable with strangers, but even if they Are not strangers she still does it. I have been working on her getting positive reinforcements from being with strangers and it has gotten better, but she still does this. She no longer lunges at people but she still bites me for no reason when there are people around. I ignore her when she bites and that seems to be working, but it hasn’t stopped completely. Am i doing the right thing?
 

Karen

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What she is doing is actually very common parrot behavior. She is bonded to you (views you as her mate) and when anyone comes near she is defending and letting you know, danger danger, get away from the stranger.

Please read this article. It will be very helpful in understanding what your Macaw is communicating.



Read the entire article but this part pertains to what you’re asking about.

"My bird loves me but hates my husband."
It is unlikely from what we have learned about the parrot's brain that your bird 'loves or hates' either of you, at least not in the same sense that people love or hate each other. It does however make perfect sense that a companion bird would attempt to choose someone in the household as a potential mate. Remember we are thinking natural and instinctual. Once a bird has identified a mate, any others making advances towards them or their mate would be perceived as an intruder. The parrot's job (to be successful in the wild), would involve driving the intruder from the territory. This is accomplished through posturing in an attempt to look larger, color display, and vocalizing. In most cases the perceived intruder will leave and the dispute would be considered settled. Occasionally, the first bird may be the one driven off by the newcomer. In either case it is almost unheard of for any actual physical contact (like biting) to take place during the confrontation. Once the dispute is settled the pair can then continue nest building, courting, and rearing their young.
In our homes when a bird has come to perceive someone in the household to be their mate they are often geared towards driving perceived intruders (other family members) away - especially when their perceived mate is in sight. It is easy to see why it is very confusing for parrots when the perceived intruder does not take such blatant (no flock member would misunderstand this in the wild) hints to leave. The situation is not considered by the parrot to be settled and the territorial behaviors used in the attempt to drive off the perceived intruder may be regularly repeated. These futile attempts to drive them from the territory may lead to frustration and desperation in the bird. In the home, as in the wild, the bird will posture, show colors, vocalize (scream repeatedly) and now may even bite. This may even cause the bird to bite their perceived mate in an attempt to get their assistance. This can be severe if the perceived mate is interacting with the perceived intruder rather than helping to defend the territory.
 
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Diveks

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What she is doing is actually very common parrot behavior. She is bonded to you (views you as her mate) and when anyone comes near she is defending and letting you know, danger danger, get away from the stranger.

Please read this article. It will be very helpful in understanding what your Macaw is communicating.



Read the entire article but this part pertains to what you’re asking about.
Thanks, that would help me a lot, thats what i also thought is happening. I never actually pet her anywhere accept occasionally on her head. Ill make sure to work on her behavior more.
 

Karen

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Thanks, that would help me a lot, thats what i also thought is happening. I never actually pet her anywhere accept occasionally on her head. Ill make sure to work on her behavior more.
In my experience with a single macaw, I have found the bond connection doesn't have anything to do with improper petting. It just is, IMO they are hard wired to bond. My macaw picked me the instant we saw each other. My macaw is a single bird, he doesn't have another bird to bond with, he needs that bond, and its me. While totally unnatural, in captivity; totally understandable. I don't cross the line to facilitate any unneeded hormonal behavior but I also don't shut down the bond we have. I try to be very understanding and patient.
 

Diveks

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In my experience with a single macaw, I have found the bond connection doesn't have anything to do with improper petting. It just is, IMO they are hard wired to bond. My macaw picked me the instant we saw each other. My macaw is a single bird, he doesn't have another bird to bond with, he needs that bond, and its me. While totally unnatural, in captivity; totally understandable. I don't cross the line to facilitate any unneeded hormonal behavior but I also don't shut down the bond we have. I try to be very understanding and patient.
I see, she can get real clingy :wacky:. i love her to death, but if i get in another room she will keep Yelling my name like she is getting murdered, and it can get attention from people :roflmao:, though my neighbors got used to it now.It hasgotten better though since i give her distractions when i have to go in another room. Im glad im not doing anything wrong, i just want to make sure i wasn’t making her frustrated or stressed.
 

Karen

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I see, she can get real clingy :wacky:. i love her to death, but if i get in another room she will keep Yelling my name like she is getting murdered, and it can get attention from people :roflmao:, though my neighbors got used to it now.It hasgotten better though since i give her distractions when i have to go in another room. Im glad im not doing anything wrong, i just want to make sure i wasn’t making her frustrated or stressed.
It's good that you're checking into the details and are careful to not do anything that she would mistake for intentions beyond a bond. I'm so happy that she has a close bond with you. Yes, lots of foraging stations and chew toys when you leave. Dr. Scott Echols believes that our Macaws should forage for ALL their food. It would be good for both of you that she learn to entertain herself. I don't know how bold or inquisitive she is but there are many DIY things that you can put together to keep her busy. I'm sure there are several threads on the board for ideas if you do a search. We would love to see some pictures of Sunset.
 

Diveks

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It's good that you're checking into the details and are careful to not do anything that she would mistake for intentions beyond a bond. I'm so happy that she has a close bond with you. Yes, lots of foraging stations and chew toys when you leave. Dr. Scott Echols believes that our Macaws should forage for ALL their food. It would be good for both of you that she learn to entertain herself. I don't know how bold or inquisitive she is but there are many DIY things that you can put together to keep her busy. I'm sure there are several threads on the board for ideas if you do a search. We would love to see some pictures of Sunset.
She does forage sometimes, she learns fairly quickly and she is very bold. She is very food driven so she loves training.
Here is some pictures of her 5226A8C9-05C4-436F-9DDF-AA85435EA0CA.jpeg
00C90253-187B-4576-8C26-6EF48DAA870D.jpeg
31324D84-ED74-4262-9865-6D1B0CF71C74.jpeg
the last one is when i last brought her to free flight, now she is molting her tail feathers. She poses when she sees a camera, she tries to eat it sometimes :D. im trying to improve my care as best as i can. She had been a handful butit has been rewarding.
 

Yoshi&Raphi

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Raphi
She does forage sometimes, she learns fairly quickly and she is very bold. She is very food driven so she loves training.
Here is some pictures of her View attachment 320512
View attachment 320513
View attachment 320515
the last one is when i last brought her to free flight, now she is molting her tail feathers. She poses when she sees a camera, she tries to eat it sometimes :D. im trying to improve my care as best as i can. She had been a handful butit has been rewarding.
She’s so stunning! How often do you free fly her? I find it very fascinating.
 

Karen

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What a gorgeous girl! Please tell us about free flying. How is she doing? What is the training?
 

Diveks

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She’s so stunning! How often do you free fly her? I find it very fascinating.
I free flight her monthly, or sometimes weekly, she does not fly very far though, she is still working on her flight muscles. She free flies with 2 other macaws (not mine) and they usually fly further. She won’t go too far away from me either. Ill let her walk around and enjoy the air.
 

Diveks

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What a gorgeous girl! Please tell us about free flying. How is she doing? What is the training?
She wont go as far as the others though, she doesn’t love flying, she prefers walking, but i still train her just in case she wants to join the others when i bring jinx (my sun conure) there. To train her muscles i first taught her to jump to my hand. Then i go further and further. And eventually she flew short distances.
 
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