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Wild-caught mealy amazon

Nino

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Nino
Hey everyone,

I'm new to AA and I hope you guys will help me out with my wild-caught amazon Izzy.
The story of how we got Izzy is long, but the important thing you need to know is that I don't live in the US and where I live, we don't even have Avian vets, since not a lot of people keep birds as pets. This means I can't consult with anyone when it comes to Izzy's health or behavior. We rescued him from a cramped cage where he was kept together with other wild-caught birds. The worst thing is, they were caught legally by the government of the country of his origin.

We've had him for 7 months now, but we don't know the age or sex. At first, he was extremely quiet and never bit us or anything. Lately he's been getting super loud and super brave.
And here's the problem: Biting.
Even when we sweep the floor around his cage, he will follow us around until he reaches us and bites us. I try to sit close to his cage a lot. He climbs down the cage from outside, tries to reach me and at first, it looks like he's reaching out to grab a hold of me and sit, he feels around with his beak and as soon as he finds the right spot, instead of grabbing he bites really hard!!
I try to sing and dance around him when I can, he usually gets excited and gets loud when we do this. He often makes attempts to sit on our heads, but usually can't hold on for more than a few seconds. He doesn't seem afraid in general anymore, I think most of it is aggressive biting, but I have no idea why he's doing it. The only progress we've had is that he takes food from our hands, but he's been doing that for months now, so that's not much.
We still haven't started training him, we've been waiting for him to get comfortable first, I ordered a clicker and it'll arrive in about a week but I still don't know how to train him since he bites all the time.

Any advice will be much appreciated! Thank you!

P.S. I bring me cat from the office sometimes and when Izzy first saw him, he got spooked from across the room, ever since that we've been hiding the cat at all times. The other day, my cat snuck out and was watching Izzy, but Izzy was relaxed and preening and didn't even care that the cat was there, that makes me think he's not a scared bird anymore.66586463_467054560759844_1490827498273898496_n.jpg
 

MommyBird

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What a beautiful bird. He looks like a youngster still.
Clicker training is a good idea and absolutely does not matter if he bites to start doing it. You can even do it with him behind the bars of his cage to start. You can give the treat on a spoon or dropped into a food cup if he wants to bite then.
It will be an excellent idea to teach him to step up onto a stick instead of your arm, but he may have become frightened of sticks at the previous place. You'll have to see.
He just needs to develop a way to communicate with you and get some guidance on how to behave. He was probably taught to bite at the previous place when they did not observe his body language and wishes.
We can help you do better.
 

Lady Jane

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He is very handsome. As far as a vet goes please locate one, even if it is a few hours drive. One should not own a bird at all if you do not have an avian vet. This forum has many wise members who can offer you advice but there is no substitute for avian vet care.
 

finchly

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You and he need to learn to communicate with each other. Maybe you could approach the cage with a treat every so often, hold it up and let him take it through the bars? If he takes it, praise him.
If that works out you could try handing it when he’s not in the cage. It has taken me 5 years to get my rescue bird, a biter, to consistently take a nut from my hand. And he still won’t take other things, only nuts.

When he bites, sternly say “no bite.”

Clicker training or target training as @MommyBird suggested would be a great idea. You can do it with him in the cage and the door closed.

You’re doing a lot of things right. Spend as much time as you can with him, read to him, sing and dance, etc.

He is a beautiful bird.

Personally, there is no way I would let a cat be unsupervised around a bird - even if it’s in a cage.
 

aooratrix

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He is very handsome. As far as a vet goes please locate one, even if it is a few hours drive. One should not own a bird at all if you do not have an avian vet. This forum has many wise members who can offer you advice but there is no substitute for avian vet care.

Too bad the OP doesn't live in the US. You could recommend your vet. Oh, right, my bad. Isn't there a cross post or link you could provide for finding an avian vet in a foreign country???

From what you describe, he seems interested in engaging with you and will take treats from you, which is good. With the clicker you've got coming, I'd recommend target training, which can be done in or out of the cage. Use a chopstick or something similar, say "target", and put the tip of the chopstick within a few feet of your bird, so the bird has to move to touch it with his or her beak. You do not want your mealy to chew on the target stick but simply touch it. When that happens, IMMEDIATELY click, praise, and treat.

I'd do this for several weeks, gradually increasing the distance the bird has to move or degree of difficulty in touching the target. I'd also buy or make a T-shaped perch so you could target the bird to "step up" without incurring further bites. I'd avoid bites at all costs: bites lead to future bites. Stay out of your Amazon's range.

Unless noise is a problem where you live, I'd encourage you to have a singing/dancing session once a day with your mealy. It's a good outlet for the bird, a positive connection, and interesting enrichment.

My guess is that your bird learned to bite to avoid dealing with less than ideal interactions. Be patient, be safe, and hopefully, the bird will overcome this in time, maybe months or years. Don't be in a rush. I have a soft spot for mealies, so I'm happy you're giving this guy a chance.

 

Mockinbirdiva

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Hey everyone,

I'm new to AA and I hope you guys will help me out with my wild-caught amazon Izzy.
The story of how we got Izzy is long, but the important thing you need to know is that I don't live in the US and where I live, we don't even have Avian vets, since not a lot of people keep birds as pets. This means I can't consult with anyone when it comes to Izzy's health or behavior. We rescued him from a cramped cage where he was kept together with other wild-caught birds. The worst thing is, they were caught legally by the government of the country of his origin.

We've had him for 7 months now, but we don't know the age or sex. At first, he was extremely quiet and never bit us or anything. Lately he's been getting super loud and super brave.
And here's the problem: Biting.
Even when we sweep the floor around his cage, he will follow us around until he reaches us and bites us. I try to sit close to his cage a lot. He climbs down the cage from outside, tries to reach me and at first, it looks like he's reaching out to grab a hold of me and sit, he feels around with his beak and as soon as he finds the right spot, instead of grabbing he bites really hard!!
I try to sing and dance around him when I can, he usually gets excited and gets loud when we do this. He often makes attempts to sit on our heads, but usually can't hold on for more than a few seconds. He doesn't seem afraid in general anymore, I think most of it is aggressive biting, but I have no idea why he's doing it. The only progress we've had is that he takes food from our hands, but he's been doing that for months now, so that's not much.
We still haven't started training him, we've been waiting for him to get comfortable first, I ordered a clicker and it'll arrive in about a week but I still don't know how to train him since he bites all the time.

Any advice will be much appreciated! Thank you!

P.S. I bring me cat from the office sometimes and when Izzy first saw him, he got spooked from across the room, ever since that we've been hiding the cat at all times. The other day, my cat snuck out and was watching Izzy, but Izzy was relaxed and preening and didn't even care that the cat was there, that makes me think he's not a scared bird anymore.View attachment 309675
Izzy is a beautiful bird! Thank you for taking him in. He's just beginning to become more relaxed in his new home and now showing you what an amazon is all about with the screaming and biting. Not all are biters but given his limited history it doesn't sound like he was kept with his best interest in mind. If you could move him to a different room to sweep around his cage and that living area I would suggest you do that. A broom may well represent a stick or similar to something used to poke at him before. It's obvious if he's trying to get to you to bite if the sweeping is an agitation for him. I would also suggest curtailing the dancing around him too. Those movements may well be confusing and taken as a threat to him causing him to get upset ( taken as excited by you ). He's still learning his new environment, adjusting to you so still take it slow and show you don't pose any threat to him. Others have given you great advice.... I only have one more thing to add.. do not allow Izzy on your head or shoulder. Facial bites can not only be very painful, they can be disfiguring and dangerous. We all want to trust our birds until they show us we should not. Please don't learn a hard lesson. Good luck... enjoy that beautiful boy!
 

Serin

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He is very handsome. As far as a vet goes please locate one, even if it is a few hours drive. One should not own a bird at all if you do not have an avian vet. This forum has many wise members who can offer you advice but there is no substitute for avian vet care.
This is a very entitled thing to say.
There are countries without exotic veterinarians.
It might be a 1000 mile flight to the nearest licensed bird vet depending on where someone lives.
 

Hankmacaw

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What a very beautiful Mealy Amazon. Do I understand correctly that this bird was recently captured from the wild? What a pity if that is true. Here in the US wild caught birds have not been legal for many years and that is a good thing.

One thing you can do, if there truly are not any avian vets in your country nor regular vets who have some knowledge of birds, is to use the internet to it's fullest. There are many sites on the internet that not only give valid medical advice and others that give great behavioral and training advice. Most are free.

@melissasparrots has an extensive list of training and behavioral site that I'm sure she will be glad to supply.

Some of the medical sites I use are;
Avian Medicine | LafeberVet
https://nilesanimalhospital.com/files/2012/05/Be-Afraid1.pdf (Good General information)
https://https://www.petmd.com/bird/conditions
nilesanimalhospital.com/pet-health-resources/articles/avian-articles/

You can search the specific topic you are interested in, but be careful - there is much inaccurate information on the internet and much that is outdated, so always check the sources.

Many of our members on this forum are very knowlegable and hopefully will tell you if your problem is beyond their expertise and that those who "don't know what they don't know won't chime in".


 

Nino

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@MommyBird
@Lady Jane
@Mockinbirdiva
@finchly
@aooratrix
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@Hankmacaw

Thank you guys for taking time to reply to my post, I'm really grateful to you all. I do have a few more questions if that's alright:

Izzy has no problems taking food from our hands even without the cage bars. When it comes to food, he's all game, but otherwise, the hand is the enemy!
I also considered the fact that he might be afraid of the sticks and that's why he hates the broom. But, sometimes when he's all energetic and excited, he will follow us around to bite us, even if there are no sticks/brooms present. Like if we wanna pick something up nearby, we have to be wary.

If he's calm, you can get as close as you want, he won't do a thing, but sometimes he just randomly tries to attack. It's especially frustrating when it seems like he just wants to sit on your leg, and instead you end up with a bruise. So what is up with that?? My hands and legs are covered in bruises by the way :lol:He fooled me too many times but I learned to move away when he starts reaching with his beak.

As for the clicker training, @aooratrix thank you for the tips, I will start that as soon as the clicker arrives. Also, I live in an apartment and I'm sure the whole block can hear Izzy's jungle calls, especially when we put on music and he sings along, but I honestly don't care if the neighbors complain, as long as it makes my bird happy :D

And to address a few things in the replies:

@Hankmacaw Thank you so much for the links, they will be so useful! And yes, Izzy is wild-caught. They're also illegal in my country, but here's what happened. These birds were caught somewhere in south/central America (Honduras I think?), the government legally caught them and shipped them to countries all over the world. They were supposed to go to the zoos. There's a contact zoo in my city that is registered as a zoo, but has no means to take care of so many birds, because of small space and whatnot, so they decided to give them away. Sell them, actually. When I looked at the birds, I wanted to take them all and take them back to the wild, but that's unfortunately not an option, we're on the other side of the globe and since they're not banded, I doubt they can ever leave the country. That's why I'm trying my best to make him happy in any way I can.

@finchly We do keep the cat and the bird apart. Even though Izzy's not afraid of Pudding anymore, Pudding does go into hunting mode when he sees Izzy. So when I bring Pudding over on weekends, we close off that half of the house. If they're in the same room, I literally hold the cat so that he can't go near Izzy. I read the cat scratch could be lethal, so I'm trying to be extremely careful since there are no avian vets around (I live in Eastern Europe).

@Lincee Thank you for the reply, but it did sound a bit condescending. Of course I have tried to find someone knowledgeable. My friend had an African grey that was rehomed after a pitbull and a rat bit them on his feet. One of his feet was paralyzed and he didn't have fingers on the other. He was in an awful condition, scared of everyone and everything. We took him to several vets that were considered to be the best (happened a few years ago) and they just sat there and said they couldn't do anything, while the bird was literally bleeding from the feet. It was a traumatic thing to go through, watching a bird suffer so much and since then I've been worried non-stop about my birds.
 

iamwhoiam

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Lincee

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@Hankmacaw

Thank you guys for taking time to reply to my post, I'm really grateful to you all. I do have a few more questions if that's alright:

Izzy has no problems taking food from our hands even without the cage bars. When it comes to food, he's all game, but otherwise, the hand is the enemy!
I also considered the fact that he might be afraid of the sticks and that's why he hates the broom. But, sometimes when he's all energetic and excited, he will follow us around to bite us, even if there are no sticks/brooms present. Like if we wanna pick something up nearby, we have to be wary.

If he's calm, you can get as close as you want, he won't do a thing, but sometimes he just randomly tries to attack. It's especially frustrating when it seems like he just wants to sit on your leg, and instead you end up with a bruise. So what is up with that?? My hands and legs are covered in bruises by the way :lol:He fooled me too many times but I learned to move away when he starts reaching with his beak.

As for the clicker training, @aooratrix thank you for the tips, I will start that as soon as the clicker arrives. Also, I live in an apartment and I'm sure the whole block can hear Izzy's jungle calls, especially when we put on music and he sings along, but I honestly don't care if the neighbors complain, as long as it makes my bird happy :D

And to address a few things in the replies:

@Hankmacaw Thank you so much for the links, they will be so useful! And yes, Izzy is wild-caught. They're also illegal in my country, but here's what happened. These birds were caught somewhere in south/central America (Honduras I think?), the government legally caught them and shipped them to countries all over the world. They were supposed to go to the zoos. There's a contact zoo in my city that is registered as a zoo, but has no means to take care of so many birds, because of small space and whatnot, so they decided to give them away. Sell them, actually. When I looked at the birds, I wanted to take them all and take them back to the wild, but that's unfortunately not an option, we're on the other side of the globe and since they're not banded, I doubt they can ever leave the country. That's why I'm trying my best to make him happy in any way I can.

@finchly We do keep the cat and the bird apart. Even though Izzy's not afraid of Pudding anymore, Pudding does go into hunting mode when he sees Izzy. So when I bring Pudding over on weekends, we close off that half of the house. If they're in the same room, I literally hold the cat so that he can't go near Izzy. I read the cat scratch could be lethal, so I'm trying to be extremely careful since there are no avian vets around (I live in Eastern Europe).

@Lincee Thank you for the reply, but it did sound a bit condescending. Of course I have tried to find someone knowledgeable. My friend had an African grey that was rehomed after a pitbull and a rat bit them on his feet. One of his feet was paralyzed and he didn't have fingers on the other. He was in an awful condition, scared of everyone and everything. We took him to several vets that were considered to be the best (happened a few years ago) and they just sat there and said they couldn't do anything, while the bird was literally bleeding from the feet. It was a traumatic thing to go through, watching a bird suffer so much and since then I've been worried non-stop about my birds.
I dont think it was ment as such, most of us are always worried about the birds first, owner later!
You get the best of us, and sometimes the worst of us! But most of us mean well ;-) as does Lady Jane, i believe :heart:
 

macawpower58

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I also have a Mealy, and they are LOUD! Your neighbors will soon learn you have a parrot. Mine can raise the dead!
Amazons are feisty birds, and I'm not surprised at the biting at all. Many birds learn it accidently, they realize what fun it is to make people jump.
Others bite out of fear or hormones, and that doesn't sound much like your Mealy.
If he was captured young, he may be well tuned towards people.

Be careful when handling him that he does not have a chance to bite. Target training as mentioned is a great idea. Training to step on a stick also can save fingers.
Biting continues if it continues.
Stopping it from happening, will end up stopping it permanently. At least as permanent as possible with a parrot. ;)

He is a gorgeous bird, looks healthy.
I hope he and you have many happy years together.
 

Nino

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Nino
I also have a Mealy, and they are LOUD! Your neighbors will soon learn you have a parrot. Mine can raise the dead!
Amazons are feisty birds, and I'm not surprised at the biting at all. Many birds learn it accidently, they realize what fun it is to make people jump.
Others bite out of fear or hormones, and that doesn't sound much like your Mealy.
If he was captured young, he may be well tuned towards people.

Be careful when handling him that he does not have a chance to bite. Target training as mentioned is a great idea. Training to step on a stick also can save fingers.
Biting continues if it continues.
Stopping it from happening, will end up stopping it permanently. At least as permanent as possible with a parrot. ;)

He is a gorgeous bird, looks healthy.
I hope he and you have many happy years together.
Haha, my neighbors do already know! I can hear him from a mile away and if I'm near him, I can almost hear a ringing in my ears after he's done :D
But from what I've heard, being loud means they're healthy, so we're good! :D
As for biting, I never looked at it that way. Always kinda thought he just hates everyone. I know they tend to have favorites in the family and bite others, I was thinking maybe he just doesn't like any of us :D Never thought he just might be having fun! That's an interesting perspective. I will do my best to avoid it and will certainly try the target training. Thanks a lot!
 

macawpower58

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Be patient, be respectful (don't tease), be understanding.
Time is on your side.
Mine is also a buzzsaw. Chews more than my macaw!
Get your baby some wood, find out if he likes thick or thin.
Many parrots love to chip thinner wood. They are kindling making monsters. :)
 
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