Jump to content
neoow

Unusual Aggressive Behaviour

Recommended Posts

I have seen a change in behaviour with Alfie recently and can't quite figure it out.

He comes out to play and will happily fly to 'his' shelves in the living room, where I leave out boxes and toys for him. He also has a boing hanging there so he can climb between shelves and relax/play on the boing.

Normally he'll entertain himself for a while and may check in on me to see what I'm up to if I'm at the computer. He'll also fly round the room, go and play on his tree etc etc. Sometimes he'll come and sit with me on the sofa and either explore or sit on my knee and have some scratches.

Recently though he's taken to flying and landing on my head or back when I'm on the sofa and he will peck and bite at the my head aggressively. I can't figure out what the trigger is. I'm not sure if he's annoyed because he wants attention or maybe it's because I had a biiig hair cut a few weeks ago and now have very short hair instead of my usual long hair. It doesn't really hurt that much because he can't really get a hold of anything but I do worry for my eyes and ears so make sure I turn my head then put my arm behind my head for him to step up... I usually get a chomp or two before he does step up. He's a no shoulder bird anyway because he always seeks out ears to nibble/bite so I don't encourage him to go on my shoulder and usually direct him back to my lower arm or knee if he does try to creep up there. But it seems he is deliberately flying to my back just to give the back of my head some abuse.

When it happens I just remove him from my back or head and put him on the sofa, my knee or back on his shelf. I may say 'no biting' or have a little chat with him to ask why he decided to bite or what brought that on but I don't shout at him or put him in time out or anything like that. I'll let him decide what he wants to do- whether he wants to fly back to his shelf, sit on my knee, have head scritches or explore.

My hair was done about a month ago and he's not normally THAT change adverse. I did have my hair cut short about 5 years ago but in a different style and I don't remember that triggering this kind of aggression. It's strange that he's also waited about a month before starting this behaviour this well. Maybe he was trying to decide whether or not he liked it? 😂

Is it just the time of the year? He has been particularly hormonal this season- I can't give him any kind of toy that resembles a small ball or egg because he tries to treat it like an egg and will droop his wings over it and tuck it under himself.

He's fine when he first comes out and I tend to do a bit of harness training with him which he does fine with no aggression or biting.

I think in the first instance I'm going to try moving to a different chair. If I sit on the sofa under his shelves he sometimes lunges for me from his boing when I move around or get up. I might try sitting in the armchair instead, which is a little distance away and see if he repeats the aggressive behaviour. It will be easier for him to fly to me there so if he is just seeking attention it will be easier to get it.

Any suggestions or advice is welcome. If I could work out the trigger then at least I can try to avoid it or figure out a way to break the pattern. But I'm a bit stumped on this one. I can take the bites and don't take offense to them but I'm worried that this behaviour might also happen to my housemate and I don't want it to damage the relationship they have ever so slowly built up over the years. They don't spend an awful lot of time together as my housemate mostly stays out of the way but I'd hate for Alfie to fly to him when he does enter the room or decides to join us when Alfie is out.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 

I'm thinking it could be the haircut, since the timing seems to coincide with that change in his behavior. That, in addition to spring hormones could be contributory to his change. Just my thoughts.

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 

Gosh, very disconcerting for you. HRH definitely gets "beaky" during her hormonal bouts, but so far has not done any fly over with the purpose of beaking me or my Joe. I am wondering, aside from your haircut, if there is anything else major that has been changed or re-arranged in the room that Alfie might be trying to warn you away from, or do you think Alfie is doing some king of mating behavior with you -- i.e., flying to your back and nipping at your neck? Or since the sofa is near his shelves and boing, if he is feeling hormonal perhaps he is being territorial for now about his area? Just some thoughts. Am sure that he will be back to his sweet self soon. ❤️

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 

Thanks both. There has been a lot of changes because I had to move the cats litter trays and food into the room and the cats spent some time sleeping and living out of the downstairs of the house whilst I redecorated the upstairs. This went on for a few weeks. Then I had the flooring done upstairs and in the hall. Alfie wouldn't have seen these changes as such, as he remains downstairs even when out. But all the noise and commotion plus sharing space with the cats was obviously a lot of upheaval. He seemed fine throughout, though I did worry about the reduce time out of the cage. He was still allowed out -but I had to be very mindful of when the cats wanted food or the litter trays so his out of the cage time was reduced.

Everything in Alfie's 'space' is now back to normal and no changes were made to the areas that he sees and plays in. But it could still have have an effect.

I think you might be right Inara- it could well be a territorial thing with his shelves. I have been sitting in the armchair (which is still near the shelves but not directly under them like the sofa is) and and also at my computer desk at the other end of the room and it's happening less. In fact every time it happens I think I am sitting on the sofa under the shelves. So you could be right in that it's a mix of hormones, upset from the recent changes and being a bit territorial?

I'll continue to test things out and see if I can confirm the trigger. I'd rather not be banished from my own sofa but I also don't want to cause Alfie any stress/upset. Hopefully it's a passing phase and I won't have to worry about it for much longer.

I'm not sure if it is a mating behaviour? Alfie tends to go very lovey and will droop his wings and make baby/clucky noises when he's 'in the mood'. He's never really beaked or bitten me when like that. This seems to be more aggressive, as he strikes out at my head two or three times. He will allow me to remove him (and sometimes gives my arm a bit of a chomp for good measure before stepping up). he then goes back to exploring or playing or will sit on my knee for a while.

I've had a crazy week and I haven't really been settling down on the sofa whilst he's been out since I posted this. He's been playing and flying around and amusing himself then coming to me when he wants to check in or get some scritches. So it hasn't happened in a little while. It'll be interesting to see if it happens again if I settle down on the sofa for a while when he's out.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 

Let's hope that it is just feeling those hormones and thus being territorial about *his* shelves! :D

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 

Just checking in to see how Alfie is doing and if the aggression has settled down?  xoxo

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 

It has lessened but Alfie isn't overly keen on socialising with me. He will make contact calls and will make noises back and forth but he not allowing me to give him his usual morning or evening scritches as readily and he mostly seems to want to amuse himself whilst he is out. He will fly to me to see what I'm up to if I'm out of sight for any amount of time but then will quickly fly elsewhere. Not sure if he's just going through a phase or what. He is active and eating, drinking etc. No other changes in behaviour or body language.

Very peculiar!

  • Confused 1
  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 

Sounds like our Huey.  He loves to keep tabs on me, as I'm his head chef, custodian, gopher, etc, but his real love is reserved for his woman.  She gets the cat calls, the lovey-dovey cuddles and all the sugar Huey can dish out.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 

Very peculiar, indeed. I agree that Alfie is likely going through some phase. Much like @SRSeedBurners 's Huey, HRH Inara is a busy bee who loves to chat with me all day long, but has never been one for scritches and cuddles. She does looooove to perch on my Joe while he is in his chair reading. She will perch on him for a couple of hours just contentedly hanging out with him. Me? The instant she alights upon me, she begins with the orders: "Get a cookie, go back to the tree, let's get a carrot, get the cheese," etc.  I am definitely her chief cook and dishwasher, although I do get a lot of, "Hey Sweetie? I do love you."  so no complaints in that department :)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 

It could be that my housemate is the new favourite. My housemate has very little to do with Alfie but Alfie likes to follow him around and see what he's up to. So it may well be that he just wants attention from my housemate and not me. I'm just the live-in servant who keeps the food and water bowls full and the cage clean! 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 

Same here. My son is Timber's favorite, though he seldom gives him any attention. Guess you can't help who you love!

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 

Still struggling to work this one out.

Alfie comes out of his cage of his own accord as soon as I open it. He doesn't wait for me to leave, he'll climb right out. He then flies to his shelves and plays and ignores me for a while. If I'm round the corner at my computer he will sometimes fly to his cage and check up on me. Or he may climb onto his tree and start preening. He's still not letting me give him scritches (but my housemate is allowed). Yesterday he came and sat on the coffee table next to the armchair I was sitting in but I just talked to him and watched him. Normally he would come and ask for scritches and sit on my knee but he didn't. I didn't force the issue either.

Today he pushed a box off his shelf and flew to his cage so I wandered over to the shelf to put the box back for him. He flew to me and landed on my upper arm, then lunged at the back of my head twice. I put my hand/arm over my head to stop him from getting it again and to either usher him down my arm or to get him to step up and he grabbed the finger instead. Then he flew back to his shelf.

I wish he could just tell me what I'm doing wrong! 😂

I'm still suspecting either the haircut or him being protective over his shelves. I'm leaning towards haircut because he doesn't let me scritch him through the bars of his cage anymore like he used to.

I'm really not sure how to tackle this one and resolve it. I'm doing my best not to get upset about it but I do worry that I've done something to break the trust or upset the relationship. I just wish I could understand it and know what to do to prevent it from happening.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 

Wish I could read his mind, I know how frustrating this must be for you!

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 
34 minutes ago, Timbersmom said:

Wish I could read his mind, I know how frustrating this must be for you!

Thank you, I wish I could read his mind too!

He doesn't seem to get angry when I talk to him or go near the cage - but he won't lower his head for scritches. If he doesn't lower his head, he doesn't want them and any intrusive fingers will probably result in a bite - so I never try and force anything with him. I can be really close to his cage whilst talking to him and he's not giving me any signs to say he doesn't want me there.

The flying to the back of my head and striking out always comes out of the blue. I can't spot anything that happens before it to trigger it.

It could also be hormone related. Maybe he's seeing the shelves as a nesting area seeing as that's where he tears up all his boxes and magazines? I wonder if I should remove the boxes/magazines for a little while and replace them with foot toys to see if the behaviour happens then...

I'm just clutching at straws at the moment!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 

The behavior you describe is just like Huey is with me.  At times he calls for me and wants me in the same room (control issue I assume) but I'm not allowed to touch or play with him or his things unless it's his idea.  My wife can get away with anything with him.  Occasionally I will do something, or touch something that is his and he will launch across the room and attack me.  It doesn't really bother me much because I have other birds that want to stick to me like velcro.   I think he likes me a little because lots of times when I try to put him down, he reaches down and bites me and I know he's telling me, not yet, he's still having fun.

 

He likes to play under the covers.  When I do it, he bites really hard, out for blood type of biting.  But when he does it with my wife he just nibbles gently.   There have been times where I've snuck in and she talks to him and I play with him and I get to see how he treats her simply because he doesn't know it's me.  🤣

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 
2 hours ago, SRSeedBurners said:

The behavior you describe is just like Huey is with me.  At times he calls for me and wants me in the same room (control issue I assume) but I'm not allowed to touch or play with him or his things unless it's his idea.  My wife can get away with anything with him.  Occasionally I will do something, or touch something that is his and he will launch across the room and attack me.  It doesn't really bother me much because I have other birds that want to stick to me like velcro.   I think he likes me a little because lots of times when I try to put him down, he reaches down and bites me and I know he's telling me, not yet, he's still having fun.

 

He likes to play under the covers.  When I do it, he bites really hard, out for blood type of biting.  But when he does it with my wife he just nibbles gently.   There have been times where I've snuck in and she talks to him and I play with him and I get to see how he treats her simply because he doesn't know it's me.  🤣

I'm doing my best not to let it bother me - it just seems strange that it was such a rapid change. Hopefully it's not a permanent change but if it is I'll just have to roll with it and take the good bits where I find them!

We had a good time today - no attacks. I removed all the cardboard and magazines from his shelves and put toys for him to fling around up there. I also filled a tray with fruit, veg and treats topped with shredded paper and toys so he had to forage around to find the treats. Once he cottoned on to the fact there might be tasty food at the bottom he was busy for a while.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 

Good news! Things are going really well with Alfie again. He seems to have calmed down and he seems to be over whatever was bothering him. I can sit on the sofa under his shelves and he will happily play without wanting to get to me to attack. He no longer lands on the back of my head to bite it. He will fly to me, but it's to be with me and to get scritches and attention. He will also check in on me a lot more regularly if I'm the other side of the room - just to see what I'm up to.

The biggest problem I have now is me. My confidence with him was knocked somewhat with the attacks so now I'm a bit more hesitant when giving him scritches etc for fear of a bite. Not sure why as it was never my hands he went for. This is something I'm trying to work on though. Tonight he sat with me for a good 30-40 mins on the sofa and for most of that he was chilling out on my knee/leg. I did give him some scritches but I was still a little wary about getting bitten. So I just need to work on my own confidence around him again. I can usually ride a bite out because he doesn't bite as hard as he could, so I'm not sure what's stopping me. However, I'm just happy things are going back to how they were and he likes me again. 😂

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 

I do think greys take a little longer to adjust to any changes.  They're just so sensitive about every little thing!

Glad you're seeing an improvement.  But sorry it's caused you to distrust him a bit.  I would be leery to reach out to Alfie also if I thought I might truly get bit -- that sort of confidence takes a while to rebuild -- patience is the key.  And greys can sense if you're even slightly afraid of them.  :(  And some greys deny boundaries. 

Plus, greys can be liars.  You can usually read the mood (and eyes) of many parrots -- but greys can lure you in all calm & friendly and then BAM -- bite time. Sad but true in some cases.  

Good luck -- hope things will continue to settle back in a comfortable routine for you both!

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 

Isn't that the truth LNCAG! I've read most of the stuff on parrot body language, but Timber is very sly about it. He will definitely try to lure his victims in for a bite.

Glad things are returning to normal neoow! I wonder if he had a hormonal spell...

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 

I believe that Greys are no different than humans when it comes to emotions and situations  that happen to us and them in our daily life

We don`t all ways tell people what  is going on in our life. Some times we just have to get over it.

At one time or another we all end up with a stone in our shoe.

Edited by Ray P
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...