Parrots near faces

During my little free time, I like to surf YouTube, this parrot forum, and websites of good trainers. I see lots of pictures/videos of people cuddling their parrots (especially large birds like macaws and cockatoos) really close to their neck/face. I also see many people kissing/nuzzling their parrot’s head and neck. What are your thoughts on this? I know several of you have larger birds like Greys, Capes, and Macaws, so I’d like to hear what you think.I know that experienced and knowledgeable trainers have learned to read their parrot’s body language and know what not to do, so the parrot doesn’t feel the need to bite.I’ve only ever had hands-on experience with small birds like budgies, so it seems pretty risky to put a powerful macaw or cockatoo (or even a senegal) beak so close to your face. I’ve seen stomach-turning photos of bites on noses, lips, cheeks, eyebrows, etc. Granted, we don’t know how tame those birds were or what the owner did before the bite, but those pictures are pretty scary. Maybe it’s because I’ve grown up with a psycho/evil cat, but I just don’t trust animals (of any species) near my face. A bite on the arm is a lot less severe than losing an eye.

I don’t blame you. I never really liked any animal near my face either and although Joe does sit on my shoulder at times I don’t cuddle her extremely close like some people do with their birds. There are times where she touches her beak to my nose but it’s quick and brief so I don’t really mind. Of course I’m just overly paranoid when it comes to my face i guess lol. Heck even when i had dogs I never let them lick my face, or my kids’s for that matter. It’s not really something I like but I guess it all depends on a persons preference.

While I do let my parrots on my shoulder I don’t really let them in my face (and especially other people). They don’t bite are rarely even nibble so it’s pretty safe but not a justifiable risk (only takes on time to take an eye out or make a lip piercing). Neither parrot has ever bitten me just to bite. The majority of bites I ever got from them (and believe me they are quite few) were either me using excessive force (making them do something they don’t want too much), jealousy (Kili only), or displaced aggression (again Kili only). The most dangerous scenario I put myself in is having both parrots on my shoulders with my head in between them. This is pretty much the only time Kili really bites is if she is looking at and thinking of Truman but I approach her with my hand. Thinking it is him, she bites on me. However, sometimes it is convenient or just necessary to have my hands free and both on shoulders when I’m outdoors with them. So I practice this a lot with them. Usually there is so much going on outside that they put their differences aside and pay attention to other things.But I gotta say, Truman has done more damage to my arm with his talons than ever with his beak. Can’t say how things will be when he gets older but approaching 2 years old he really doesn’t bite. Kids will bother him in the park and maybe he’ll point his beak at them but he has never actually tried to bite anyone. Kili only intentionally bites people (and Truman) who are afraid of her.

Rokisha wrote:I’m just overly paranoid when it comes to my face i guess lol. Heck even when i had dogs I never let them lick my face, or my kids’s for that matter.Me too! I’m glad I’m not the only one! I guess it’s a good thing that you use hands for training. Thanks for your input Michael! I appreciate that you mentioned the situations in which you were bitten.

i just got comfortable with mya near my face, a cockatoo does have a nasty bite so itook my time building trust but i only do it when it’s calm in my house and i’m usually petting her head anyway.penny likes to snuggle right in my eye.

When Im on the sofa with Stitch sitting on my chest, he sometimes wants to preen my beard. I think that other than quick kisses, thats the only proximity I allow near my face.I probably shouldnt let him preen my beard, but he always does it after I have scratched his head for a while, I think he wants to be nice back .

I think its all about knowing the bird and having trust.Personally, Jacko sleeps near my head and does give kisses as a trained behaviour. I did it because the essence I think, to safety, is trust and no barriers. If I get defensive of my face I send off an energy that is nervous and likely to provoke the same sort of defensive behaviour in the bird. If the bird is used to bumping his beak on my beak so to speak (heehee it rhymes) then there’s no tension.I would not allow a bird that I do not know to approach my face, just as I would not approach their face/vulnerable spots. When we know each other then by all means, hop on my shoulder–it is a convenient perch (and a safe vantage spot that offers security to the bird) when my hands are occupied. When I walk into an unfamiliar place I will put Jacko on my shoulder as (even though she’s a bit wobbly on my shoulder—I usually wear hoodies to give her a better grip) it keeps her up high and safe, it also gives confidence.

Ive seen some really serious bite pictures and have had a bite or two on my ear so I generally try and make sure Dusty is not a shoulder bird. What I have done is taught him this move where I gently hold his beak/head down if I really want to put my face on the top of his head, its the closest thing to kissing as I dont want to spread my germs to him, and gives me a little protection in case he gets a fright or something while im doing it

Since my parrot really doesn’t trust my that much, I really don’t feel confident of him coming near my face.

cml wrote:When Im on the sofa with Stitch sitting on my chest, he sometimes wants to preen my beard. I think that other than quick kisses, thats the only proximity I allow near my face.I probably shouldnt let him preen my beard, but he always does it after I have scratched his head for a while, I think he wants to be nice back .Rambo is big on preening fingers and toes.Myrtle likes to preen the fuzzy hairs on my face and my eyebrows. She did scratch my ear trying to turn my head back so she could preen me.