by La Tressa Woods
(Sherman, TX USA)

We have a male umbrella cockatoo who we purchased from an aviary at 6mos. old. He has been with us for 12 years now. Over the past few months he has started to "hammer" his beak on my hand when he steps up on it. Sometimes I get bruises because he continually hits it. At times, food will come up in his beak. Is this normal? What is he trying to tell me? Is his diet causing him problems? I have tried to research this, but have not been successful. Any insight would be greatly appreciated.
La Tressa Woods

Comments for hammering

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Dec 06, 2012
conure hammering my hand
by: Anonymous

aawww, this made my day- I was worried I was doing something to harm him or disturb him and you just let me know he's just telling me loves me!
Thank you so much!

Mar 08, 2010
by: Linda

What your bird is doing is trying to feed you. Birds do this when they love someone, and will even do it with a favorite toy. The hammering is to help get up the food for you. He is trying to feed you as if you were his baby bird, so this is one of the most wonderful honors your bird can bestow on you. To keep him from hammering your hand or finger, take his beak very gently between your fingers and tell him in a gentle voice "NO" that this hurts you, and you can even boo hoo and ouch a little bit. He does not realize he's hurting you, so you'll need to help him out here. Just remember to gently grasp his beak and bring it up and then you can praise him for being such a Good Bird when he actually "gets" what you want and stops doing the hammering. Toos beaks are big and hard, so I imagine he IS hurting you. He may also be coming into breeding age, and mates feed each other this way without the hammering. Maybe he is confused as to where your mouth is and thinks your hand will open it or something. You can never tell with our lovely, funny little Birdy friends.

So, to recap, you are being honored as a trusted, loved and very integral part of your bird's life. He just needs to learn when he is hurting you, and lessons need to always be gentle using our actions and voices to get our point across. Repetition is always necessary as birds have very short attention spans and wake up in a new world every morning, so stopping the hammering is your and your bird's new project. Have fun teaching him, and you'll also be surprised how much he can teach you. The teaching AND learning is all part of the joy of being owned by a parrot.


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