Why Does My Ringneck Keep Flying From My Shoulder to Her Cage?

Why Does My Ringneck Keep Flying From My Shoulder to Her Cage?

Last Updated on by Mitch Rezman

Lydia G. has 2 issues with my Indian Ringneck


Hi, my Indian Ringneck keeps flying back to her cage all the time when I take her around on my shoulder.


She won’t venture further than a foot away from it.


She also has a box she likes to spend time in and on.


She has toys to play with and I give her branches to rip up.


I keep going and getting her every time and repeat it quite a few times and she always goes back.


She was doing this at her previous owners too.


She also started biting me after I went away for a week.


I can’t get her out of the habit.


I’ve started stroking her beak and pulling my finger away when she tries to bite, she is always ready to bite though.


I really wanted a friendly companion but I got a T. rex. Please help.




Dear Lydia

T.Rex sounds about right. We have a rescue Quaker that we call our little dinosaur. He is sweet but all beak.


Actually, most rescue birds (rehomed parrots, not first owner birds) have tendencies to be biters.


Expecting that your IRN will be loving and sweet after having been moved to a new home and owner may be bittersweet.


That you were gone for a week also can be hard on her. Who took care of her during this time?


There is little that is more confused than a human imprinted parrot that finds itself in a new home and having to fit into a new place with new people.


It has no one and nothing to call its own but its cage, most likely now a new one too. Staying close to what it knows best, its cage is all it knows.


And often being removed from it can increase its stress significantly, thus resulting in more nippiness.


Don’t expect to be able to pet her and be happy if you can pick her up without being bit.


I have some suggestions.



Remove the box she is chewing on and any fluffy nesting materials from her cage and play area. 


They likely are encouraging hormonal behavior that you do not want.


Accept that she likes her cage, and make sure it is in an active area of the household so she can sit on it and watch you and the family and be a part of your life even if she is not on your shoulder.


Shoulder riding is not a given, it is an earned privilege. Any biting or nipping while on the shoulder means less shoulder riding.


When you do put her on your shoulder, go into a room where she cannot see her cage. Instead go into other rooms where there are places she can be set, a chair back, a bird stand, etc., and give her a little special treat.


Eventually, she will start looking forward to these little trips and more likely to want to ride with you.


How long have you had her?


If only a short period, then you may wish to have her wings clipped, just this once so she has to be dependant upon you for transportation, and by the time her wings regrow, that you will have developed a better relationship.


How is the lighting over your bird’s cage, play area?


Installing a strong daylight bulb as close to the top of her cage top on a timer 12 hours on and 12 hours off will help regulate her hormones and help her from becoming too broody and cage protective.


Economy Cage Light, bulb and timer


Please tell me more. We also like pictures.


Hi Catherine,

Thanks for your advice. I’ve only had her for 3 months, I was told she was 5 mths old, but by what I’ve read, the beak is dark, doesn’t that mean they are an adult? Isn’t a young bird supposed to have a reddish beak?


I’ll try cutting her wings this one time, I don’t really like doing it as she needs the exercise, the only time she flies is when I take her away from her cage.


Lighting category


When I was away, my husband looked after her, but I don’t think there was much interaction between them, as he has nothing to do with her now either.


Luckily it’s the same cage she had before, so yes she protects her territory. She is let out of her cage all day and outs herself back in for the night which is good, so she gets a good night’s sleep undisturbed.


I think they might have sold her because of her behavior, yes I’m disappointed but I want to help her feel at ease and loved.


I have some ideas on how to go about it, starting with her training again, I’ll use a pointer and clicker and treats to entice her. I had her passing me a ball at one stage which was great, but haven’t done it lately.


Her cage is in a quiet area actually I don’t have much room to move her. She should have enough daylight as she is below a window, but I will look into the light.


She is actually less inclined to bite on my shoulder, she eats out of my mouth which was funny.


Thanks for your suggestions I’ll give them a try.


Here is a picture of her. Well at least I think it’s a her as she doesn’t have the ring or the flatter head of a male, not DNA’d.




Building trust with your bird ~ Video


Dear Lydia,


It sounds like the original owners had expectations of the young bird that only come with attention and time. Hopefully, you can fix this with loving attention.


How do you talk to her?


I advocate sing-song talking, in a higher voice and sweet-sounding as she will enjoy it.


Consider whistling short tunes, she will not be a big talker but she can learn to whistle and will enjoy interacting. 


My own IRN I talked to as I hand fed him, later at about 6 1/2 months he started saying the things I said to him as a baby. So they learn communication even before they are capable themselves.


IRN males don’t get their rings until they are much older. My Lutino (yellow) IRN started getting his orange ring one feather at a time starting at 9 months old.


Easy to see on a yellow bird. It was full by 18 months. Yours does appear to be a female though. Her beak will get redder as she matures.


Windows do not offer the same quality of light as a good full spectrum or strong daylight bulb due to the window glass filtering out the UV’s. That is a common mistake.


Why Do Pet Bird Keepers Get The Lighting Thing Wrong?


At her young age hormones are not an issue. But will by the time next winter rolls around. So look into moving her cage onto a wall in an area you pass through often and getting her a light set up.


Stop letting her eat from your mouth.


It is very unhealthy for the bird.


Your saliva has bacteria that will make her ill.


Her feathers don’t look so good right now, discolored areas, and that can result from a bacterial infection.


If you can get good results with clicker training you may not need to clip her at all.


Please fit it into your daily schedule with her. She will start to look forward to it.


Also, give your husband a jar of sunflower seeds, Nutri-berries, or another treat she likes and ask him to drop one in her cage or hand it to her if she will take it, a few times a day.


That will help with their relationship even if he does little more.


Please let me know if you see any improvement.




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