…but humans often misunderstand the origin of the “bite”.
You have to read our behaviour. Haven’t you learned that 90% of communication is through body language? Birdies are no different…okay…perhaps a wee bit.
I would say except for the very communicative few, closer to 99% of our communication should be read by interpreting our body language. Honestly, it isn’t really that difficult.
Cockatoos like me (actually all cockatoos) have dark or reddish-brown eyes. That means that you can’t tell how excited we are by looking at the color of our eyes. Macaws and other parrots tend to “pin” their eyes when they get excited — their pupils rapidly, in quick succession, constrict and dilate. Their eye color is lighter so you can really see their excitement.
Why should “excitement” matter you ask? Well, I can say for me at least, when I get really excited, especially if I am playing fetch with my bababall or mom throws up the doggie rope so that I can jump fly to catch it in my beak, I get a bit aggressive with my object of play. In my eyes though, mom’s fingers are seen as extensions of my toy and my jump up to bite them. It’s just the way I am so whoever plays with me just has to “GET USED TO IT!!!”
If I start pacing back and forth on my cage (in excitement), you can also run the risk of getting bitten. Especially if you think it is a grand time to try to give me a kiss. Yes, mom wasn’t too smart on one occasion (granted, she was just learning about birdy behaviour at that time), she stuck her nose where it shouldn’t have been (given my level of excitation) and I just about bit off the tip of it.
She screamed (I guess it hurt quite a bit) and bled a lot. She managed to avoid stitches but she had a small scar on her nose for many years.
I also bit her on the lip once. I was mean – there was probably little she could have done to avoid this bite — lest she paid more attention to me. She was busy talking on the phone and I was running up and down along the couch and just jumped up and bit her. I seldom bite unprovoked. In this case, I strongly felt she was ignoring me. Sometimes Jeckyl comes out, but rarely.
The other area that will run you the risk is near my cage, especially if you mess with my box so BEWARE!
Here you can get a good idea of my attempt at warning mom to “Stay away”… Notice my lowered a.k.a. attack-mode posture, flared tail and mean facial expression.
Thing is, we aren’t usually mean critters and even if I do bite, I will cower afterwards and suck up to mom.
Yes, I do get “biters remorse”