We have a cockatiel that we've had two months now. We bought it from a breeder and we just love it. We allow it spend a lot of time outside the cage and it is so sweet. My daughter had our first grandbaby on the 21st, and I went to stay with her for a few days when she came home from the hospital. My husband was here at home, and let the bird out when he was home, but it seems that since I've returned home the cockatiel has started this light gentle pinching of my skin on my neck, especially my lips and anywhere else. It's not a bite, but more of a slight slow pinch. He never did it before. He used to play with my hair, but doesn't do that anymore, instead he pinches me. Could it be due to the fact that I had left him for a few days? He is used to me handling him more than my husband.
My male cockatiel does this as well. He's discovered when he nibbles at my chin or neck my hand comes up to shoo him away and my hand means scritches When he first started this I think it was just to test and check out my skin but then I made the mistake of distracting him with scritches and he's come to realize this works. Now I only give him scritches when he climbs down to my hand to ask, and he's nibbling at the neck a lot less
Not sure this is why your cockatiel is doing it but I thought I would share why mine started doing it. He just wanted attention
-Peepers & Clementine
-Ellie & Riki, Babies of Peepers and Clementine
-Oscar, Our dog
-90 gal. aquarium, home to 4 very large gold fish
He could be preening you a little to hard. My tiel preens me all the time but every once in awhile he does it to hard and pinches my skin. Perhaps he's become more comfortable with you and preens your face instead of your hair for additional affection. He could just be in a playful mood too. When my birdies feeling active he pinches my finger nails and slightly chews on them. It doesn't hurt, but it's the same pinching feeling you described.
we also are having this problem with our young male , sampson , he is 9 months old and we think it is his teenage time , he pleases himself whether he will allow you to scritch him or you are todays diet of choice , either way you cant be sure until he either drops his head for scritches or drops his head too fool us into scritches and then goes into attack mode , its a definate get away full beak open lunging type of im gonna eat you nip though ! so any help would be appreciated too
I think it is definately a sign of affection. Tonight I was laying on my back on the sofa and he was walking around on my stomache and playing and nibbling on my t shirt for quite awhile. He came up to huddle up by my neck where it's warm. He lightly nibbles and it tickles and only once tonight he lightly pinched my skin on my neck. He went back to nibbling on my old t shirt. He sure is sweet!
Curry used to do what you described, making slow pinches that progressively turned into sharp nips, around 9/10 months. Because I didn't react with the pinches, he moved up to sharp nips so whenever he does that we say "No!" then 15mins of time out in his cage. In the beginning he didn't quite understand this but I noticed that since I systematically put him in his cage whenever he nipped/bit me he now doesn't do this at all (pinches or nips/bites). However, since my boyfriend didn't do this everytime (he would just put him on top of the cage) Curry tends to continue nipping him more.
I think that Curry was "testing" our limits and because we didn't react with the pinches he figured they were OK before moving up to nips (which really hurt in fact!). And of course it's that time when he's really moody, just like a teenager (he's just over 12 months now)! But overall we found that putting him in his cage for 15mins helped his behaviour alot- especially since now my boyfriend put him in his cage EVERY time he nips him. In terms of affection he still preens my hair and gives me kisses though!!
The first time I left Spike for a night and came back he was really nippy for three days I think they can get grumpy with you when you leave. Luckily when I went camping for a few nights last year and came back Spike was just really happy to see me
Yestersay was only one little pinch, today none. I seem to think he was upset when I had left for a few days to be with my daughter and the new grandbaby. He comes up on my shoulder and still does not nip like he started doing when I returned home last week. At any rate we enjoy him so much and I figure if he starts it again I will put him in his cage for a time out each time he does it.