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So, you’ve got a new green cheek baby. Problem: your green cheek doesn’t seem to like you very much. Oh no! Will my cute baby bird ever get over this, you ask? The answer: probably. Green cheek conures are like people, in that they have specific personalities and won’t like every single person or bird in their environment.
For this reason it’s important to gauge your bird’s reactions before choosing a mate, if you plan to breed them. You don’t want to buy a bird for them to mate with, and then later find out they don’t get along!
The depressing part though with bird selection is that no matter how hard you try, your green cheek (which was supposed to like you!) may choose to bond to another family member, such as a husband, spouse, or children, or possibly not bond with anyone at all. Just because you bought the green cheek conure the bird for yourself, doesn’t mean that the green cheek you have will automatically like you, and you alone.
How to remedy this distressing situation? Well, the good news is that green cheek conures bond by more than just personality. There are some things you can do to try and get your bird to like you more:
Realize that this may be a temporary dislike
Not all humans do something on purpose that their bird dislikes. However, birds have subtle signs of dislike that humans can easily ignore or overlook. You may have done something that your bird doesn’t like without even realizing you’ve done it. If that’s the case, give it time. Birds are notorious for holding grudges for (seemingly) small things, but won’t hate you forever. If you’ve done something unforgivable from your bird’s standpoint, you may have to start back at the beginning with your bond with your bird.
Teach your bird it’s okay to like you. If your bird won’t come out of his cage, then open the cage door and wait patiently outside until he does. If for some reason your bird is afraid of your hands, then teach your bird that hands are a good thing by offering a treat or favorite toy (but only if your green cheek steps up onto your hand.)
If he suddenly seems afraid of his owner, waiting patiently also applies. You may have done something scary without realizing it. In that case, just let the bird have some time to see that you’re actually likeable, and not something to be scared of.
It’s possible something has changed in his environment that he doesn’t feel comfortable with. Have you purchased new furniture, gotten a new pet, or even changed his cage size to one that’s a bit bigger?
If you changed his cage, don’t change it immediately. Give him some time to get used to it – after all, it’s his home, and how would you like to be placed into an unfamiliar home all at once! Give the bird a few days, begin moving his toys slowly to the new cage, and definitely give him time to explore it. He will come to be familiar with and like his cage within a few days to a few weeks.
Again, patience is key here. Your bird (whether he is a new bird or something has changed) will eventually come around once he feels safe and secure again.
Help, my bird bonded to my boyfriend/husband/wife/significant other and is biting me!
Did your bird used to be cute and sweet, wanting scritches, and now he bites you and wants to be with someone else? Unfortunately, as stated, birds just want to be with their chosen human, especially around mating season. If your bird has bonded with someone else, unfortunately there’s not much that can be done. Sometimes, however, birds get a strong infatuation (much like a human crush) and eventually go back to liking their original owners once they get tired of their newfound crush.
If your bird has bonded to a human, you might notice them eating together, attempting to feed, and grooming their chosen human. Everyone outside their favorite person gets bitten or attacked if attempting to break up the love-fest or even come near.
Luckily, this sort of behavior is seen more in Amazons and hormonal large bird species, and not often seen in green cheek conures. Green cheeks normally consider everyone in the house their “flock” and don’t bond strongly with a special human.
When it does happen, however, it takes special acceptance of the green cheek making their choice. You may never share such a strong bond again, but they may fly to you and ask for scritches every once in a while, and still enjoy your company.
Bird Like Other Bird in the Mirror
I felt this should get it’s own section since it is a specific behavioral problem. Birds can and will bond to the bird in the mirror if given the chance, and ignore you. Ignore all advice to get your conure a mirror.
There are plenty of other fun toys out there that they can play with, including bells, rope perches, and even kleenex boxes. Creativity is the only limit you have. But please, no mirrors. If you want your bird to like you better, eliminate every possible opportunity for them to bond with another bird, including the one staring back at them in the mirror.
I got a new bird or other pet, and my bird hates me!
If you want your bird as a pet and not a breeder or even turning untame, don’t buy another bird companion for him! I made this mistake early in my hobby of keeping green cheek conures. I thought my little guy looked lonely in the cage all by himself, and I thought he would like a lady bird friend.
My bond with my bird wasn’t completely broken, but he just never liked me as well after that. He bit me if I tried to give him scritches, slept together with the other bird, and they fed each other regurgitations. I could still be friends with him and we could hang out, but he had chosen his mate/bond partner, and it wasn’t me.
If you want a bird to be a tame pet, please don’t go out and buy another bird to keep him company, as they will choose to be around their own species more than human company.
Your bird may react negatively and appear to not like you if you get another pet other than a bird, especially a cat or a dog. I always joke that birds are the only kind of pet you can have, since they are prey animals and will be attacked by cats, dogs, reptiles including snakes, and even some (depending on personality) pet rats. Well if you can’t have cats, dogs, reptiles, or even rodents, what does that leave? Not much, except other birds of course.
Please be careful in getting another pet if you have a bird already. Cats and dogs are both predatory animals, and can cause severe harm or even death to your green cheek conure if not properly supervised. Even if you buy a different animal species and it calmly watches the bird, not attacking, there can still be problems.
Birds are sensitive, and can be extremely stressed by only the presence of such animals in the home. Because birds are prey animals and adept at hiding illness and stress, your bird may be extremely stressed and not show it. If your bird stops eating, drinking, or playing when you buy another pet such as a cat or dog, please do the right thing and rehome either the bird or the cat (or the dog, or the rodent, or snake etc.)
Your bird might not like you for some time after introducing a new element such as a new pet. He won’t hate you, but he could become so stressed out that socializing (something natural for birds) is put on the back-burner. So please, choose wisely and think hard before adding another pet, to keep your bond with your bird, and your bird healthy as well.
You Clipped Your Bird’s Wings, Didn’t You?
This isn’t an accusation. Some owners choose to flight their birds, and that’s their decision. But they have to realize that their bird might not like them for a while, afterwards. Clipping a green cheek’s wings can keep them safe from dangers like flying out the door, or into a wall out of fright. My first green cheek breeder suggested that I clip Chico’s wings to take him down a few pegs (he was a mean, fiesty bird at the time.) I think it’s the promise of a mean bird magically not being mean and acting sweet to their owner that gets some people to clip a bird’s flight feathers.
If you clip a bird’s wings they might be more docile, but it doesn’t mean they will like you more for it. They will just be more dependent on you. Still, some owners have their reasons for flighting their birds. If you notice your bird’s personality change for the mean side, though, please consider letting their wings grow back out (usually 4-6 months.)
Sick Birds may Stop Social Interactions
Birds are masters of hiding sick, since in the wild healthy birds may chase a sick bird away from the flock. If your bird suddenly doesn’t want to be with you, and you’re sure you haven’t changed anything, and he hasn’t bonded with anyone else, it may be time to take your bird to the vet. Watch for other signs such as puffed up/ruffled feathers, a suddenly quiet bird (birds are naturally loud and love to vocalize during the day!) or perching at the bottom of the cage, or not eating.
You don’t have to be like me, worrying over every lost feather (when Chico started molting, I was really freaking out!) or sneeze, but do get your bird a regular checkup, at least once a year. Any of these signs, coupled with a moody bird who doesn’t like you when he used to love you, may be signs it’s time for a vet checkup.
Use Patience and Understanding and Your Bird will Come Around
As stated, all birds including green cheeks are living creatures with their own wants, needs, and behavioral problems. Understand that if your bird doesn’t like you all of a sudden, it may be he’s just not in the mood to socialize that day, or he is angry at you (for reasons of his own) or he is sick. Understand that birds are just moody at times, and don’t force a step up, playing, or bonding with you. Green cheeks are nibbly birds naturally, so don’t be offended by a bite here or there. If your bird is drawing blood with his bites though, don’t let him walk all over you. Some serious green cheek bite training might be needed!
Sometimes, birds are turned off of liking a human by forced social interactions, just like an overly needy date. If you keep forcing your bird to be with you, the less they will want to come to you. If you leave your bird alone for a while to play on his own, eventually he will come around to be with and like you.
Becoming familiar with your bird’s likes and wishes and respecting those wishes will ultimately allow a closer bond between bird and owner.