Saturday, August 25, 2012

Understanding your bird

I believe I have mentioned in the past how Shade transforms from the perfect little bird to a somewhat on edge being when new flight feathers (that are still known as blood feathers since the shafts are full of blood) grow in; they are very sensitive and she seems to feel it much more than any of my other guys. During that time, she might be prone to give a quick nip (still not a terrible bite by a long shot by comparison to the rest of the flock) and is much more moody (cuddles less, tends to want to do her own thing more). In fact, when I see the shift in behaviour, my first instinct now is to check her wings and bingo, those big blood feathers are always there. Another thing that I have noticed with her at that time is that her weight tends to dip a few grams. Not sure why, but it's been something I've observed for some time now.

Although I haven't had Léa for quite as long (it'll only have been for a year in a few short days!), I've started to notice patterns with her as well. Being still just a baby, she's hasn't yet shown me her full personality I'm sure. However, she does have her "cranky" moments and I've noticed these tend to happen with either a) like Shade, feathers grow in on her wings and make her uncomfortable, and b) when her beak is flaking and a particularly large chunk is about to fall off but is still *just* holding on.

This morning started well enough - I had a very very cuddly Cape on my hands. Eventually though, she started getting playful so I sent her on the atom in the room. All was good for some time - she even changed play stand - until she started flying back and forth between the play stand with the atom and the one on the opposite side of the room, screaming. Nothing had changed in the room that, to me, would have triggered her reaction. I looked outside and nothing there seemed different. It was nearly time to go in the cage anyway so I went to pick her up and she just kept flying back and fort, avoiding me, while screaming. I did manage to get a hold on her at one point and put her in her cage.

I gave her a few minutes to calm down but she was still angry and took it out on me with a few bites on my right index finger. Stronger bites than what she normally does when she plays (which are really more like nibbles) but still not full force (I bled a little, I'm sure she could have done MUCH more damage had she wanted to).

I was trying to figure out what would have made the switch in her head flip from playing calmly to going crazy; and what I think might have happened, she was chewing a large piece of wood (one of the branches of a Java stand) just before flipping out and I do wonder if a piece of it snagged on the piece of her beak that was chipping. In the past, touching a part of chipping beak did make her go nuts so I think it's the safest bet as to what might have occurred.

Unfortunately, as I had put myself in the middle of her flipping out session, I think somehow I got associated with the pain. I think, just like they tell you to let Red-bellied parrots have their freak out session when a panic attack takes over them and only pick them up when they have become calm so they don't associate you with whatever induced the period, I should have let her calm down before trying to intervene (to be honest, I did so because she was getting loud and it was early and I was concerned it would be heard by neighbours).

We had to go out for a few hours so I figured this would give her time to calm down. When we got home, I armed myself with a handful foot toys made of strung wooden beads and proceeded to go and see her. She was still a little standoffish so I presented the toys to her and her face immediately lit up and she stepped up quite readily, no longer with any intentions to chomp down. I brought her over to the orange room and let her play with her toys and she even wanted to cuddle after some time, so I *think* I managed to get back into her good graces - in fact, while she acted all sulky after being put back in her cage until I got her out with the foot toys, she's now (I did return her to the cage since) whistling her happy songs!

I think there's a few things I'll take out of this episode, but at least I've confirmed that I know how to bribe a difficult Léa!

1 comment:

Fernand said...

Youyou( my senegal) is doing the same thing here. Growing feathers is very demanding for a bird. It also make change in their hormonal cycles. At that time, all my birds are supplemented with some very well cooked meat. The extra protein is vry helpful in these moments :)