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How Do I Stop My Conure From Sitting On My Head?

Is your conure's favorite perch your head? Find out ways to deter your bird from hanging out in your hair.

Sally Blanchard

Q) Any suggestions on how to stop my 4-month-old conure from climbing to the top of my head repeatedly? I had one bird breeder tell me this stunt is used for "I'm the top bird” syndrome. I have longer hair and usually have it up in the back, but I don’t know if this has anything to do with it or not. My daughter, who spends less time with her, does not seem to have the same issue. The main reason I do not like it is because of the poop — I do not want it in my hair, even though she seems to "hold it" with me a lot more than with any other person in my family.

If you have a conure that likes to hang out in your hair, use bird-safe shampoo and conditioner.

A) It is often difficult to stop a parrot from doing something that you have let it do on a frequent basis, but it is possible with patience. Telling her not to do it is often just a drama reward that she doesn’t understand. Your conure needs to be repatterned with patience and consistency. If she is climbing up your arm from your hand, the best way to stop her is to "cut her off at the pass.” This would be the bend of your arm. If she starts to go beyond that point, you will need to put your other hand in front of her and use the word "Up” to get her to step on your hand. Each and every time she tries to go up your arm, you stop her in this manner.
Repatterning her will take some patience on your part. If you allow her on your shoulder, she should be put there with the words, "Step down.” In this manner, you are giving her permission to be on your shoulder. If she behaves herself, she can stay there.

However, if she climbs up your hair to the top of your head, you need to take control with the "Up” command. The best way to change any negative behavior in a companion parrot is to take control of that behavior by patterning a more positive behavior.

Want to learn more about conures?

5 Ways To Play With Your Pet Conure

Ways To Keep Your Conure From Chewing Clothes

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Posted: March 28, 2014, 4:30 p.m. PDT

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How Do I Stop My Conure From Sitting On My Head?

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Reader Comments
IF they climb up your arm lol...What if they fly to your head?

Not that I care, birds on my head doesn't bother me. I also don't believe that a bird on your shoulder or head is necessarily dominating you. I believe that they do it for security, everything is going to look huge and surround your bird if you hold them with your hand at waste level. Being on your shoulder makes them feel more comfortable. I don't think that it's a coincidence that smaller birds tend to be "shoulder birds" more often than large ones from my experience.
Nathan, myville
Posted: 10/8/2014 7:27:33 AM
stephanie, north smithfield, RI
Posted: 4/3/2014 11:23:04 AM
I do this arm sweep that forces her off my head and back down to my shoulders. Took a while but she got the hint. Anytime she goes on my head now she automatically gets put on her cage and I walk away. I quietly say "step up" if I have to but mostly if I put my finger down she steps right up. She eventually flies back to my shoulder after I walk away. I don't speak unless it's to tell her step up when I do this because then she thinks she's being rewarded, but if I'm quiet when I do it and don't look at her, she understands she did something wrong.
Bee, San Diego, CA
Posted: 3/30/2014 2:55:16 PM
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