Dusky Conure bites hard enough to draw blood

I'm not sure where to begin but here goes. Four years ago my wife got it in her head on impulse to buy a bird because she always wanted one. She bought a Dusky Conure. At first the bird perched on me w/o incident but at some point the bird began biting me and unfortunately i reacted harshly (especially when she drew blood) I either swung at it or threw water on it as punishment.

The bird does not bite my wife (a nip here or there but never any blood)If i try to take it out of it's cage these days it will corner itself and open its beak while hissing at me, lunging at times with its beak open. If i'm outside the cage looking at it, it will begin running its beak back and forth along one of the cage bars while hissing at me(i get the feeling its sharpening its beak for the upcoming planned assault) I certainly can't trust it on my shoulder any longer nor do i attempt to pick it up anymore. I still feed it, give it the treats it likes and change its water etc but the bird obviously doesn't appreciate any of it.

Since i can't trust it anymore and it seems it hates me i told my wife the bird has to go. I wouldn't tolerate a dog or cat acting this way in my home, i'm not going to allow the bird to bite either.

She's heartbroken about it but she doesn't understand that while she may have a positive relationship with this bird, i have a negative one. A friend who owns birds says my relationship with this bird is likely broken forever because the bird will never like or trust me again no matter what i try to do to reconcile now.

I don't hate the bird but i never wanted it either. The noise and the pooping all over the place is more than a nuisance. When you add the biting it becomes intolerable. I did try to get along and i enjoyed its antics until it started to bite me. Now i'm no longer comfortable around it. I only REACTED to the bird biting me, i didn't scream, or throw water, at it UNTIL it became aggressive.

I guess my question is, is my friend right or can something be done to help the situation? If not then what's the best way to get rid of it? Can i just let it out on it's own (its 4 years old now and has been with us since it was 3 months old, i have serious doubts it would survive in the wild) Are there any animal shelters for birds that will take this animal? Any information would be appreciated

Sorry about the length of the letter but i had to explain the whole situation.


Comments for Dusky Conure bites hard enough to draw blood

Click here to add your own comments

Feb 25, 2013
Try the Magnolia Bird Farm
by: Anonymous

Hello Mike,
The Magnolia Bird Farm in either Riverside or Orange County can either help or take your little guy in.
Hope this helps.

Sep 27, 2012
A little more info
by: Toxic Avenger

There have been many comments from people below that are right on target concerning your problem with your dusky conure. There have also been some pretty harsh statements but that is to be expected when you are dealing with knowledgable bird owners,

Before you write off your relationship with your bird, you might take a few hours to peruse the various bird sites on the Internet that can give you more insight into what raising and living with a bird entails. Try to imagine how your life would be if you were dropped into a cage in a Martian home and had to depend on them for your life. OK, so the robots on Mars haven't found any Martians yet, but you get the idea.

Another thing to consider is that you have ONE bird in the house. Many birds can do fine because they automatically consider humans to be part of their "flock", but some do much better if there is another of their kind for them to bond with, preen feathers with, and relate to. As one commenter noted, sometimes parrots choose one human to bond with and view any others in a lesser light. I have 2, one a dusky and the other a green-cheek. The dusky adores me and the green-cheek has come to a tolerant attitude towards me while she adores my wife. Perhaps if you had your own bird who bonded to you, it would help the entire situation and you would come to know the true loving relationship that a human can share with a parrot. There is not much in life that is better than having a bird crawl under your shirt, snuggle down, and nap next to your chest in total trust.

I hope you can give your bird a chance to redeem itself with a little more tolerance on your part.

Nov 25, 2011
you make me so mad
by: Anonymous

Even if a bird acts out towards you first, you NEVER swing at it or throw water. You sure wouldn't like or trust someone who took a swing at you. I would hate you too. Birds are like people in that way, they get heart broken- and stop trusting people who mistreat them. Your wife never should have allowed you near the bird once she knew you didn't want it. She made the mistake of bringing it home if you weren't into it, but made a bigger mistake by allowing you to have anything to do with it once she was aware you were the way you are. You are right, it would die if you let it free..and I wanna smack you for even thinking about it. You're a jerk in my opinion. I hope your wife finds the bird a new home where it will be loved. Or, with your comment of it's the bird or you- she should kick your butt to the curb.

Nov 10, 2011
Poor bird
by: Anonymous

I sure wish that anybody wanting to purchase a bird would just take the time to research this and know what your getting into before sentencing a innocent bird to a short life of misery usualy leading to death of the bird, Because they have special needs for nutrition ,care and knowing all of the toxins in your house that can kill them, it takes the right people to care for parrots and smaller birds, Most people think they are no more than an ornament in the house , it certainly deserves a better home, I hope for the birds sake it finds one, poor bird, maybe a dog would have been a better choice but it needs to be trained right too, or it might bite you as well, I'm thinking on the lines of no pets would be better .

Nov 10, 2011
ring neck bite
by: Anonymous

Dear Mike
i have the same problem with my Indian ring neck he is becoming a territorial biter, it hurt so much when they start to bite but I love him too much to give him away.hoping he will change toward us, the only time he doesn't bite when i have a biscuit for him but can,t give him a biscuit all day long,

Nov 09, 2011
Biting Conure
by: Anonymous

first things first... DO NOT i repeat DO NOT let your bird out the window to thrive on its own. This is a tropical parrot who would not survive the seasons. You might as well euthanize it if you are thinking of just letting it go, just to spare him the fear and suffering he will go through outside. Second, you can not even compare a biting parrot to a biting dog. Parrots typically bond to one person, unfortunatly, and in this case is your wife. I have an African Grey & a Caique. My Grey will attack my husband whenver the chance arises because he is bonded with me. My caique has temper tantrums every now and then and will draw blood on both me and husband, but it is certainly no reason to rid of either of the birds. We live with understanding their craziness and that they are indeed wild animals! They are special pets that are not for everyone. If the tension in your house is large because of the bird, maybe it would be best to find him a new home, in which most states have bird rescue groups, animal shelters that will take him, or find local breeders in the area that may take him. The other option is to just simply tolerate this behavior knowing that yes, he may never like you, but may tolerate you. This is tough to cope with especially when you are the one constantly being under attack. Do something that will be both emotionally easy with you and the wife. Goodluck !!

Nov 09, 2011
Conure relationship hindered
by: Tracie

Wow, thank you for your honesty.

First of all, you can NOT let the bird go in the wild, you are correct that it will die a horrible death quickly.

Because you were thrown into the relationship with the bird, everything started off on the wrong foot. On the bird's end, you became a part of it's flock. It went from being with birds it could communicate with to two humans that had no clue how to meet it's needs beyond feeding it.

I once reacted badly to my mom's African grey, and it also injured our relationship. If I lived with my mom, I believe I could have mended the relationship by working to gain the bird's trust again. (It surprised me by biting me and I jerked my hand and it flew to the floor and never trusted me again.) This was my fault, I was talking to mom and not paying attention to the bird's body language, or I would have returned the bird to it's perch before getting bit.

If you wanted to like the bird and have a relationship, then I believe it is possible for your wife to help the bird learn to trust you again. It would take some time and effort on both of your parts. You would have to decide that you really wish to like the bird though, because the bird will know you are afraid of it and don't like it if you have a bad attitude toward it.

If you want to try to have a relationship with the bird, please read the training material on our Parrot Training page and start with the green cheek biting article. This gives an example of how your wife can help the bird know it isn't acceptable for it to bite you.

Start with about a month of sitting next to the cage reading a book. When the bird is calm with you being there, sweetly talk to it as long as it isn't aggressive. Then start offering treats through the bars etc. Once the bird doesn't see you as a threat, then you can try giving it treats when it is with your wife and let HER show displeasure when it leans to bite you. (Don't jerk and don't let the bird close enough to bite you either.)

If you don't want to do the above, then call a breeder in your area and see if he/she can take the bird and sell it to someone who wants the bird. Usually breeders have ads for birds in the paper.

Thanks for writing, and I hope you feel you can give it a try. If not, hopefully your wife learned the lesson to not bring home a pet unless the whole family is ready for the noise and mess that it might make.

Click here to add your own comments