When capturing a bird in a cage, wait until the bird is facing away from you and climbing, to attempt the capture. Do not try to capture the bird while it’s on a perch or facing you, as you will likely not be successful, and may well sustain a bite.
Some birds are very clever at eluding the capture. What to do? Linda explains:
Birds that need extensive treatment learn quickly that if they turn their back, you will catch them. I have one Amazon who goes to the bottom and rolls on his back and refuses to change from that position–it’s almost impossible to get a bird on its back in a towel without risking bending a wing, and certainly, without sustaining a bad bite.
I too, learned. In this case, I learned to put a towel on the cage floor. ‘Oh no!’ thought Luce (the Amazon): ‘I’m surrounded!’ Before that, I would poke up through the grill with my finger: tickle, tickle! That worked for a while.
The most important thing to remember is this; much of what one does with parrots takes patience. You will always need, at the least, a Plan B with parrots–and often it goes to Plan H. But always stop, take a breath, continue with patience and quiet, reassuring words of encouragement and praise. Always work to keep things light by using chirpy words–make a strong effort to NOT appear tense and determined, as this will just frighten the bird. I often laugh, and joke, and tell the bird he/she is such a silly–haha! It truly does take a big part of the edge off, for both of us.
If things start to really degenerate, stop and wait a while until you feel more composed; don’t keep pressing and pressing. Always, after the ordeal, hold and snuggle and reward your bird. They get, pretty early on, that YOU don’t want to be catching them any more than they want to be caught up.
After treating a bird in a towel, always hold it in the towel and groom its head and cheeks and snuggle, thus ending things on a note of warmth and good feeling.
And the more you do it, the less of an ordeal it becomes. You get to know what moves the bird will plan to make. You learn what to do to get the bird where you want it.
But always keep in mind: the bird is perceiving you, and reacting to you, as it would to a predator. Try hard to avoid encrypting that image in it’s mind. Shift your eyes so you aren’t staring directly at the bird; hide your hands behind the towel to associate as little as possible of yourself with Bad Mr. Towel; talk kindly. And when you catch the bird, move quickly to control its head so that you can immediately give it a scratch of good will. Always keep in mind- your bird is probably frightened at best, and possibly, utterly terrified. The good news – Parrots don’t usually hold a grudge. If you keep up the positive reinforcement, they almost always get it–they get that you are both in this terrible boat with Mr. Towel, but you aren’t enemies.