Why Does My Bird Nibble Me?

A common problem seen by bird owners is biting or beaking from their birds. While most times your birds will not hurt you with their beaks, sometimes it could be more. There can be several reasons that can cause your bird to bite you. Before understanding the reasons, it’s important to understand the difference between biting and beaking.

Differences Between Biting, Beaking and Nibbling

While they can use their feet to climb, hold objects or explore things around them, their wings only help them fly. Birds use their beak as a third foot. They use their beak to keep balance or hold objects. They may sometimes bite gently with their beaks to help them figure out what something is. This is not really a bite but what is often called a beak or beaking.

Beaking or Nibbling is when the bird uses their beak gently to explore things or understand what something is. When climbing a perch, your bird may use their beak to test the strength of the perch. Beaking the perch will let them know if the perch is sturdy enough to hold their weight. 

Your birds may also do this when getting on your hand. Many bird owners confuse this type of gentle beaking with biting. Beaking is an innocent and natural way for birds to experience things around them.

Biting is a severe form of beaking and it usually causes pain. Birds will usually bite you if they feel threatened or think they need to defend themselves. The bite is quick and hard. It is usually accompanied by the ruffling of their feathers. A bite will often cause your skin to break or bleed. 

An important thing to note is young birds can unknowingly bite you or others. Just like a young puppy, they’re not mature enough to differentiate between biting and a nibble.

What Can Cause My Bird to Nip Me?

As mentioned before, birds use their beaks as their third foot. Your bird will use their beaks to explore things when you interact or play them. Before climbing your hand, they could gently nip to check the firmness of your hand. If they feel safe after beaking they will climb on your hand.

The bird may also gently beak if you are wearing new clothes or are wearing a new cologne. The new clothes or smell could get them interested in investigating the new things. When giving them food or treats, your birds may gently nibble your hand while taking the snack. These types of beaking are normal and should not be seen as aggressive.

What Should I Do If My Bird Bites Me?

Beaking is a normal part of owning a bird and it should only worry you if it gets aggressive and turns into biting. There are corrective measures that you can take like “time out” to let your birds know it’s not right to bite. Using a leather arm cover or wrist perch could keep you from getting hurt. Wearing an extra layer of clothing or even gloves can give you a little extra protection from being bitten.

Birds like Parrots are not known to use biting to show dominance in the wild. They only bite when scared or to defend themselves. They could be biting you because something is scaring them. Trying to find why they’re scared can help you keep your bird from biting you.

It’s important to look at your children and their interactions with your birds. Children have soft skin and may not be mature enough to handle your bird properly. Your bird can accidentally hurt them or cut their skin while playing with them. It’s always a good idea to supervise the interactions between your children and birds until you know how they will act together.