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On the Shoulder?

Shoulder-perching may cause behavior problems

Often, people will ask about allowing their birds to perch on their shoulders. Most birds will begin to exhibit problem behaviors, especially aggression during breeding season, if we allow their heads to be higher than our hearts. Unfortunately, birds enjoy being up higher, and keeping them off of shoulders can be difficult. If the bird is kept on a perch of the proper height, it will begin to relate to you at that level at all times, and it will be less obsessed with sitting on your shoulder.

As with any other behavior, be clear with your intentions when training your bird to stay off of your shoulder. This can be done by giving it only two options. One option is to sit on your hand or arm like a little lady or gentleman. The bird's other option is to go back to its cage or perch for two to five minutes. If no other options are offered, the bird will eventually accept sitting at the lower level.


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On the Shoulder?

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Reader Comments
Good info.
Cheryl, North Fort Myers, FL
Posted: 3/1/2011 3:29:28 AM
I think it's silly to put a blanket ban on parrots being on shoulders. Sure, some birds may develop problems, but mine never have. Being on my shoulder is a great way to snuggle with my birds while I'm busy doing something else.
Kim, South Bend, IN
Posted: 10/17/2010 1:47:45 PM
Good article.
Ashley, Bellevue, WA
Posted: 2/1/2010 11:14:50 PM
Our birds (2 greys, 1 sun conure, 1 cockatiel) are not caged...or clipped, and they have all sorts of perches around our home. They don't spend very much time on our shoulders and are pretty mellow when they do. Our suggestion...throw away your bird cages; seems to solve lots of bird behavior problems.
Rick & Smilla, St. George, UT
Posted: 12/15/2009 1:17:48 PM
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