Yes indeed, I have read about not petting below the neck, and have even had a "little talk" with the folks who are fostering him (only for the next few days until the new "Empire Macaw cage" arrives and I have a safe place for him to be in my home).
Funny thing is, when I had this talk with her my lovely lady neighbor said " oh... maybe that's why my daughter has been having problems with her bird (an IRN) trying to mate with her arm ... etc. etc..."
Needless to say when I returned home I immediately sent her a link to the "sex and the psittacine" article on the parrot island site.
I should mention that my area of study in college was animal communication- though most of my experience has been with rescued horses and dogs, I have found that patience, an awareness of an animal's "energy levels" (not trying to be woo-woo here), and "taking it at their pace" can go a long way.
Apparently I'm the only one who is able to put my hands in and out of his cage, and have him step up ( I offer a hand, and let him choose whether or not he wants to- if he doesn't he will put his head down and turn away- often with a whiny nasal little "no!" LOL (pretty freaking cute)
My rules so far:
1) on-the-hand time is Fun Time- I hand-feed new foods, offer fun toys, and give head and ear scratches (he will reach up with his foot to show me *where* he wants to be scratched!!) and give rides up into the air ( arm extended above my head and then back down) with a whoosh! sound (he LOVES this and will stand tall every time my arm goes UP!) we also dance to fun music
2)I will not force myself on him or coerce him to do anything. For Example: when it was time to go to the vet's, I made the inside of the cage REALLY interesting by playing with a new toy in there until he decided he wanted "in" on the action
3)no shoulder-time... as that's a privilege he will have to earn (if ever). we can have fun hand-and-scratch time without putting him in a position that could potentially be unsafe for us both)
4) give him one new experience a day ( new food, new toy, ride in the car, branch from the bamboo, etc...
geez. this turned into a tome... maybe I should post it in the "rescue" section? sorry Moderators! I'm just all jazzed to have other knowledgeable "bird people" to "talk" to LOL