Monday, November 10, 2008

Joey's progress

Yes I am aware that in my descriptions of my parrots that Petey seemed to be the one who "needed some work". She does. However, that doesn't mean that all my other birds are "perfect" (using the word perfect for lack of a better one, but it's not quite what I want to say; I'm aware that no one is "perfect" and that every individual's idea of perfection is different, so do take this with a grain of salt please).
Piper and Shade better fit my idea of what I'd like my birds to be. It helps that I did raise them from a very young age compared to my other two.

But this post is meant to be about Joey. When I first brought him home, he had a good behavior except for the biting. He bit me a lot (not so much my significant other to whom he took an instant liking) and hard. He did seem a bit more wary of me than of any men who approached him (we did bring him to the local Parrot Club meeting early on). I did get him to stop the gratuitous biting by saying no and putting him on or in (if in, it was for 5 minutes at the time) his cage, depending on the frequency and force of the bite. Although he didn't bite nearly as much anymore (there is still the occasional nip, but I'm no longer getting them more often than my significant other) I still couldn't handle him the way I would handle either of my other parrots. He also progressively allowed me to scratch his head without freaking out at first but we still needed to work on our trust.

When Joey first entered our home, his flight feathers were clipped. I did make the decision of allowing him to grow them back in for multiple reasons. One, he crashed a whole lot on the floor during some panic attacks (which are known to happen to young Red-bellied parrots) and I wanted him to flutter down more gracefully and being able to keep his tail intact (he had a couple of broken tail feathers). Two, I have a cat and even thought the cat is not out and about the living room when the birds are out of their cages, I wanted to give him the possibility to fly away would he ever meet her face to face. Three, I enjoy watching my birds fly and I have a big enough room to allow them free flight without too many obstacles on which they could hurt themselves. As his flights have grown in, I have seen Joey grow more confident. His panic attacks have almost all stopped (still the very VERY occasional one once in a while, but this could be because he's growing older too), he seems to enjoy the extra exercise and his noticeably more extroverted with us and the other birds. And although threw the months of him being him he has grown to accept me better and come to see me once in a while, lately, he's been doing it more and more and without me asking him to come to me. Two days ago, he allowed me to grab him softly around his body and lift him up from wherever he was standing. My significant other has been able to do this with him from early on so it was obvious that Joey did not have a problem with everyone doing that, just me (and other women). I nearly cried of joy when I did it. He did not budge, he did not try to bite my fingers like he did whenever I tried it before.

But the biggest progress for me happened yesterday. When a bird will willingly lie on it's back in the palm of your hand is a great sign of trust on it's behalf. Yesterday evening, Joey allowed me to take him and lie him on his back on my flat hand; I was not holding him there. I did it once and couldn't believe I brought him back up to a normal standing position and tried it again. He lay there without a fuss. I was so happy.

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