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Please advise if the bird is okay on the shoulder or head

peaches13

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Hello,
My bird steps up to my hand, but he likes to sit on my shoulder. As I see some information about birds on internet, I saw that birds should not be put on the shoulders or head, because if the birds were on the shoulders or head, the ranks were higher than humans. My bird prevents it from climbing up on the head, but I think the shoulder is fine. So I'm curious if it's okay to put the bird on my shoulder and what other people are saying.
 

clarousel

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I've read online about the dangers of having a bird on your shoulder, that you aren't able to read their body language and could risk getting bit. I'm not so sure about the dominance part.

I have Preeno on my shoulder if he wants to use me as a perch so my hands are free. Most of the time he goes for my head to preen my hair or play with my hairpin. He's not aggressive with me so I'm okay to have him on my shoulder/head! I would say it depends on your bird but I'm no expert!
 

Shezbug

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They need to earn shoulder or head time by proving they will behave (aka- not bite) and always step off there if asked to.
There are hazards of having an animal that can break your skin and do damage sitting in a place on your body where you can’t see their body language or properly protect yourself if needed.
If your bird has a good track record of not biting and also hopping onto your hand any time it is asked then I don’t see a problem with allowing them up there.
 

Mizzely

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The higher than humans dominance thing has been debunked.

Birds tend to get bratty if you try to remove them from somewhere they don't want to leave, regardless if it's high or low. The difference is they feel safer - and thus more bold and confident - when higher up.
 

peaches13

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I've read online about the dangers of having a bird on your shoulder, that you aren't able to read their body language and could risk getting bit. I'm not so sure about the dominance part.

I have Preeno on my shoulder if he wants to use me as a perch so my hands are free. Most of the time he goes for my head to preen my hair or play with my hairpin. He's not aggressive with me so I'm okay to have him on my shoulder/head! I would say it depends on your bird but I'm no expert!
My bird has never been bitten or threatened on my shoulder. And he takes a nap, cleaning the feather from my shoulder. He was a bird that was very scared of human hands, but the first step to get close to him was standing next to the cage and standing still. Where I bought him, he already had wing trims, so he couldn't fly well, so my bird spends time with my shoulders. Knowing that, I tried not to put my bird on my shoulder, but my bird flies and I have no choice but to put it up. Thanks for your opinion.
 

peaches13

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Some birds are ok on shoulders and some are not. It depends on the bird.
He never bite me on shoulders he just take nap on my shoulder. Is that he can put on my shoulders..? I just want to make sure that one.
Thank you for your opinion.
 

peaches13

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They need to earn shoulder or head time by proving they will behave (aka- not bite) and always step off there if asked to.
There are hazards of having an animal that can break your skin and do damage sitting in a place on your body where you can’t see their body language or properly protect yourself if needed.
If your bird has a good track record of not biting and also hopping onto your hand any time it is asked then I don’t see a problem with allowing them up there.
Ok. I put him on my shoulder and then he wants to eat food. He just let me do step off my shoulders. I think my bird can spend time on my shoulders.
Thank you for your opinion.
 

peaches13

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The higher than humans dominance thing has been debunked.

Birds tend to get bratty if you try to remove them from somewhere they don't want to leave, regardless if it's high or low. The difference is they feel safer - and thus more bold and confident - when higher up.
Okay! That is very good to understand me. He never bite me when he is on my shoulders.
Thank you for your opinion.
 

sunnysmom

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It's definitely dependent on the bird and trust. People usually warn against shoulders because of the danger of face bites. (Like why does a pirate have an eye patch- because of the parrot on his shoulder.... ;) ) A smaller bird obviously can do less damage than a bigger bird, but still damage. That said, I let my birds on my shoulder.
 

webchirp

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Rocco is the only one not allowed on my shoulder. He face bites! I have to listen to Maks when he's on my head as I'm fairly certain he snips my hair off.
 

Destiny

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As I see some information about birds on internet, I saw that birds should not be put on the shoulders or head, because if the birds were on the shoulders or head, the ranks were higher than humans.
The idea of "height dominance" in parrots is old information and not good advice. It dates back to a time when common wisdom was that you had to subjugate your parrot to your will in order to curb bad behaviors. This is a very fear-based approach to parrot husbandry. People who follow this method would often clip the bird's wings to keep it from flying over the human and force the parrot to submit to unpleasant interactions. If the parrot responded by trying to bite, you were advised to ignore the bites until the parrot gave up and stopped biting because the biting was useless.

All of these techniques create a feeling of helplessness and insecurity in the bird. You might get a quiet and "well behaved" bird that is easy to handle and mostly just sits in its cage ... but you will probably also have an emotionally damaged parrot that exhibits unhealthy behaviors, like feather plucking and rarely expresses its happiness in normal parrot ways. It is a poor trade-off in my book.

Current advice is to take a much less aggressive, dominance-oriented approach to parrot husbandry. Instead of trying to control your parrot through fear and insecurity, you go the other way and aim to establish a bond built on mutual trust and safety. This can take a lot longer to see results, but the long term benefits are worth the extra effort.

...

Back to your original question - I would not worry about dominance issues related to height. But as several people have mentioned there are other potential problems with allowing your bird on your head or shoulder. Respect-based parrot husbandry relies on the human paying close attention to the bird's body language and watching for behavior cues. If you can't see your parrot, you might miss something important and fail to react in time to prevent a problem. This is especially problematic if you are allowing a large parrot close to your eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. People have suffered bad bites from a pet parrot unexpectedly attacking their face or head while perching on their shoulder.

That doesn't mean you should never do it, but you should definitely be careful and proactive about the risk. Some parrots do just fine and love shoulder time. Other parrots cannot be trusted with that level of intimacy. Get to know your parrot and respect his strengths and limitations.

Good luck!
 

Dona

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Yes, I agree with the height dominance thing being out of date info. Not true. My little Linnie spends lots of time on my shoulder, preening, napping, working on my hair. Months ago, she was fiddling with my hair and when she left, I found a full feather tucked into my updo. :) She will often stay put when I go into another room. I think it's great bonding time for us. She has never bitten me or been aggressive on my shoulder. She flies away when she has another plan in mind. So, if your bird is well behaved on your shoulder, I think it's great. Just another fun activity.
 

peaches13

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The idea of "height dominance" in parrots is old information and not good advice. It dates back to a time when common wisdom was that you had to subjugate your parrot to your will in order to curb bad behaviors. This is a very fear-based approach to parrot husbandry. People who follow this method would often clip the bird's wings to keep it from flying over the human and force the parrot to submit to unpleasant interactions. If the parrot responded by trying to bite, you were advised to ignore the bites until the parrot gave up and stopped biting because the biting was useless.

All of these techniques create a feeling of helplessness and insecurity in the bird. You might get a quiet and "well behaved" bird that is easy to handle and mostly just sits in its cage ... but you will probably also have an emotionally damaged parrot that exhibits unhealthy behaviors, like feather plucking and rarely expresses its happiness in normal parrot ways. It is a poor trade-off in my book.

Current advice is to take a much less aggressive, dominance-oriented approach to parrot husbandry. Instead of trying to control your parrot through fear and insecurity, you go the other way and aim to establish a bond built on mutual trust and safety. This can take a lot longer to see results, but the long term benefits are worth the extra effort.

...

Back to your original question - I would not worry about dominance issues related to height. But as several people have mentioned there are other potential problems with allowing your bird on your head or shoulder. Respect-based parrot husbandry relies on the human paying close attention to the bird's body language and watching for behavior cues. If you can't see your parrot, you might miss something important and fail to react in time to prevent a problem. This is especially problematic if you are allowing a large parrot close to your eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. People have suffered bad bites from a pet parrot unexpectedly attacking their face or head while perching on their shoulder.

That doesn't mean you should never do it, but you should definitely be careful and proactive about the risk. Some parrots do just fine and love shoulder time. Other parrots cannot be trusted with that level of intimacy. Get to know your parrot and respect his strengths and limitations.

Good luck!
OMG thank you for your opinion. My bird is good to step up and step down when he wants to go down he just look at me on shoulders. I am new bird mom so every information is important and essential to my bird. However I was wrong that information haha. He just did chewed my glasses rubber part then I put vet tape on there then he did not chew my glasses.
By the way your post makes me easy to understand it.
 

peaches13

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128
It's definitely dependent on the bird and trust. People usually warn against shoulders because of the danger of face bites. (Like why does a pirate have an eye patch- because of the parrot on his shoulder.... ;) ) A smaller bird obviously can do less damage than a bigger bird, but still damage. That said, I let my birds on my shoulder.
Exactly I thought same as you. At least I wear glasses so can protect my eyes lol. When he needs scratch his head then he touch my cheeks very gently.
Thank you for your opinion.
 

peaches13

Strolling the yard
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6/25/20
Messages
128
Rocco is the only one not allowed on my shoulder. He face bites! I have to listen to Maks when he's on my head as I'm fairly certain he snips my hair off.
OUCH! I know birds bite is very painful, but still they are cute. My bird is very untamed bird so he hates my finger. I just wait and repeat every day and he trust me now. I am glad he loves people.
Thank you for your opinion.
 

peaches13

Strolling the yard
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Messages
128
Yes, I agree with the height dominance thing being out of date info. Not true. My little Linnie spends lots of time on my shoulder, preening, napping, working on my hair. Months ago, she was fiddling with my hair and when she left, I found a full feather tucked into my updo. :) She will often stay put when I go into another room. I think it's great bonding time for us. She has never bitten me or been aggressive on my shoulder. She flies away when she has another plan in mind. So, if your bird is well behaved on your shoulder, I think it's great. Just another fun activity.
Oh that sounds good to me and thank you for your opinion. My bird scary about my finger, but he is fine on shoulder. He looks happy on shoulder. My bird stay out cage except when I need to go kitchen. I am happy my bird not aggressive to me. :)
 
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