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How To Regain A Parrot’s Trust

Last Updated on January 28, 2024 by Carrie Stephens

Parrots make affectionate, friendly pets when socialized from an early age. However, it takes time and effort to build a special bond. If you break a parrot’s trust, you must work hard to regain it.

To regain a parrot’s trust, spend time together, moving quietly and speaking softly. This proves you’re not a threat. Observe and copy the parrot’s body language when communicating with it.

Rebuilding broken bonds requires time, but it’s achievable if you work on the relationship.

How To Know If A Parrot Hates You

If you’ve done something to upset a parrot, it’ll start behaving negatively toward you. Until you rebuild trust, you’re likely to experience the cold shoulder from a parrot.

Parrot trust issues can manifest in the following ways:

Aggression

Distrustful parrots become hostile, especially when they see you approaching. A parrot may bite or lunge at you to protect itself, which signifies stress and fear.

Screaming

Screaming signifies the parrot’s annoyance with you. Most parrots make noisy vocalizations when annoyed, but larger parrots will be even louder.

Parrots also make the following sounds when they’re unhappy:

  • Hissing.
  • Screeching.
  • Crying.

Note the sounds the parrot makes each time you approach because it reveals its mood.

Decreased Vocalizations

Some parrots stop vocalizing as often. While decreased vocalizations are easy to ignore, they indicate a parrot’s unhappiness. If you’ve upset the parrot, the sadness is likely due to you.

Crouching

Crouching is among the most extreme signs of anger and is reserved for owners who have upset their parrots. The neck feathers will also become ruffled.

how to gain your parrot’s trust

Stereotypies

When a parrot’s unhappy with you, it may develop stereotypies, including:

According to Avian Biology Research, parrots engage in feather-destructive behavior when stressed. This behavior isn’t seen in the wild because parrots aren’t exposed to the same triggers.

Negative Wing Posture

A parrot will hold its wings away from its body, which signifies aggression.

Similarly, opened wings indicate that a parrot’s trying to scare you away because it’s attempting to make itself look bigger and scarier, so you back off.

Frightened parrots hold their wings and feathers tightly to their bodies. They also hold them horizontally and quiver them, indicating the parrot’s ready to fly away from you.

How To Get A Parrot To Trust You Again

Building a parrot’s trust isn’t easy, as they have good long-term memories.

Parrots have medial spiriform nuclei, which gives them advanced intelligence. A parrot likely remembers the reason for the lack of trust. 

Regain a parrot’s trust with these steps:

Spend Time Around The Parrot

Even though you’ve upset the bird and lost its trust, parrots are social creatures that enjoy companionship. Without it, they become bored and stressed.

Spend as much time around the parrot as possible, sitting next to the cage so that it becomes more comfortable in your presence. You could do the following:

  • Quietly read a book.
  • Speak to the parrot in a quiet, gentle tone.
  • Give the parrot an occasional treat.

As soon as the parrot realizes you don’t mean it any harm, it’ll begin to trust you again.  

Communicate with Body Language 

Even though some species can mimic human words, parrots don’t understand English.

Communicating with a parrot through body language is something it’ll understand, allowing you to regain trust and build a strong bond.

While some parrot behaviors are universal, note its movements and copy them. The parrot will make some more than others, so they’ll respond more favorably if you copy them.

If the parrot greets you by bowing its head, lower your head. If it lifts its wing to get your attention, raise your arm. These actions will go a long way toward regaining the parrot’s trust.

Feed Treats

Nothing builds trust quicker than feeding a parrot its favorite snacks.

Hand-feeding can build trust. Parrots are vulnerable to predators when they eat in the wild, so accepting food from their owners shows faith in them.

Teach The Parrot To Step Up

Teach the parrot to step up to get it comfortable perching on your hand.

To teach the step-up command:

  1. Choose a quiet spot in your home that’s free from distractions.
  2. Put your index finger in front of the parrot.
  3. Say, “Step up.”
  4. If the parrot doesn’t respond, nudge its legs with your finger.
  5. Continue pressing if it doesn’t get the idea. It’s normal for it to step back once or twice.
  6. Eventually, the parrot will step up on your finger instead of backing away.
  7. After some steady nudges, it feels compelled to step up rather than back away.
  8. Give the parrot a snack treat.
  9. Encourage it to dismount and try again.

If the parrot seems comfortable around you, you can progress to other tricks, such as:

  • Shaking hands.
  • Waving.
  • Talking.
  • Playing dead.
  • Dancing.
  • Fetching.
  • Turning around.

This is a fun way to build and improve your bond.

getting a parrot to trust you

How To Maintain Trust With A Parrot

Once you’ve regained a parrot’s trust, you must maintain it. That’s why you shouldn’t:

  • Force the parrot to do anything it doesn’t want to do.
  • Shout or scream at the parrot.
  • Using physical force as a form of discipline.
  • Trick the parrot.
  • Use unclear commands.
  • Refuse to give the parrot space, especially if it’s upset.
  • Ignore the parrot for long periods.

Parrots have excellent long-term memories, so they’ll likely recall how you lost their trust. If you make the same mistakes too frequently, you may lose your chance to rebuild trust entirely.

Signs A Parrot Trusts You

Once you’ve regained the parrot’s trust, it’ll display several signs:

  • Nuzzling against you.
  • Shrinking or enlarging irises (eye pinning).
  • Positive vocalizations (singing, talking, and whistling).
  • Preening your hair.
  • Wing flapping.
  • Tail flapping.
  • Head bowing to make you scratch its head.
  • Mimicking your words and actions.
  • Relaxed postures.

The parrot may not display all these signs, especially all at once. As long as it shows some of them when it’s around you, you can be sure it’s starting to trust you again.