Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

Parrot News

tags: ,

My hawk-headed parrot is teething. Or, because she’s a parrot and thus, has no teeth, she is “beaking”. Except she typically proceeds quickly from “beaking” (testing substances with her beak) to puncturing or otherwise destroying various objects — “chomping”, if you will. So, for your amusement, I have compiled a list of objects that she has “beaked” and “chomped” so far;


  • DVDs
  • CDs
  • the blanket on my futon
  • my futon mattress
  • my fingers
  • several books (I rescued them before she made “v” shaped punctures in their covers and pages)
  • the refrigerator
  • my laptop (could you hear me screaming in utter terror?)
  • my cellphone
  • my MedicAlert bracelet, which is impossible to remove

Chomped (sometimes to great effect);

  • my thumb (OUCH! A week later, it still hurts)
  • my cell phone charger cord (fortunately, and thanks to electrical tape, it still functions as it should)
  • NYTimes and its advertising inserts
  • her cage (she removed several bolts and effectively dismantled portions of her cage early one morning)
  • a bunch of plastic “bathroom cups” (I give those to her to shred)
  • my pillows
  • one issue of Science magazine (proving that she is a birdie after my own heart because she has an insatiable appetite for science!)
  • numerous t-shirts (adding her chomps to those made by Elektra, my female Solomon Islands Eclectus parrot)
  • one pair of sweats (while I was in them)
  • numerous boxes that contain either books, my bicycle, or a wooden nestbox for my lories
  • paper bags
  • several bird toys — you know, the ones whose lifespan is inversely proportional the amount of money spent on them
  • teabags
  • my bathtowel


  1. #1 Annie
    November 30, 2007

    Would a branch or a log provide her with more oomph for her beaking? (I felt your pain when you mentioned your thumb. Yikes!)

    Maybe you could clicker train her to woodcarve! :*)

  2. #2 treekick
    November 30, 2007

    My sympathies. I’ve already had to buy a replacement cord for my Mac. My little Meyers finds it irresistible (He’s trying to eat it as I type this). Fortunately my Hawkhead hasn’t taken an interest in valuable electronics.

  3. #3 carolyn13
    November 30, 2007

    I’ve lost a sofa for every German Shepherd puppy I’ve owned. One of them ate a bed too.

    I’m so curious to know if The Bird is Persephone or Orpheus. I can’t wait to hear!

  4. #4 "GrrlScientist"
    November 30, 2007

    annie; i would like to purchase branchs for all of my birds to chew on, but the hawk-headed parrot seems to especially need one. i guess i will have to look through the bird catalogue for some branches .. doesn’t that sound silly, though? BUYING tree branches?? since i grew up in the country where there were more tree branches than you could shake a stick at (haha), the thought makes me almost hysterical with laughter.

  5. #5 Chris' Wills
    December 1, 2007

    Aren’t there tree branches in Central Park?

    I’m not suggesting that you go cut one off, but don’t the gardeners prune deadwood at this time of year. I’m sure that if you asked nicely they’ld give you one or two.

  6. #6 Kathy Heaton
    December 1, 2007

    CAUTION: All woods are not safe for birds to chew.

    Here are several good lists to consult:

    And be CERTAIN there are NO PESTICIDES on it.

    Best regards,

    Houston TX

  7. #7 David Harmon
    December 1, 2007

    My sympathies, as I’ve been there at a lower elevation!

    I used to have a rabbit, and most of ten years after his death, I still have possessions bearing the Mark Of The Beast. Unlike your bird, Vorpal was mostly confined to within a half-meter or so of floor level, but wires of all kinds were his favorite targets. Computer cables, phone cords, power cords…. And then there were the bookshelves he undermined to the point of collapse….

  8. #8 Alan Kellogg
    December 3, 2007

    Yea, it’s teething alright. He’s basically exercising his jaws, preparing for the days when he’ll be tackling nuts, concrete, limb bones. Bored parrots are destructive birds.

    He’s also tasting the things in his environment. Parrots learn alot about their world by tasting it. The same as with puppies, kittens, and infants. The thumb I’m thinking was an accident. Bird doesn’t know his own strength.

    Try him out on a variety of woods. A hard wood may not be best, it might be a resiliant hardwood instead. But keep him busy. (I know you know that, but you’re a scientist. I am well acquainted with the forgetfulnessess of the scientist. 🙂 )

New comments have been disabled.