Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A very generous gift

A little while back I had approached one of my friends on Avian Avenue, Stephanie (who also owns a Cape by the name of Olivia) about the rope she uses in most of her toys. She's a very creative person and I'm in awe in front of her homemade toys collection and the rope she uses seemed quite versatile and, to me, looked like it was easier to use (and easier on the fingers) than Paulie rope or leather. It also looked thicker than the hemp twine I use when I make foot toys, which would be practical as there is no need to make 3 knots at the end to make sure the beads don't fall off as well as probably making it more enticing to make knots between beads and given how my gang likes knots, it would be a good thing.

Not only did she divulged where she got it from but because you have to order at least $50 of stuff from the store in order to have a valid order, she offered to send a spool of the rope so I could try it out before committing to such an amount (I do wonder how many spools $50 would get you..)

The package came yesterday and I was blown away by Stephanie's generosity (although not surprised since I've witnessed her generosity on many occasions).

There wasn't just one spool of rope..there were two.



But that wasn't all! She included some beads and other wood pieces, items that are favorites of Olivia's.





Finally, she also included two foraging blocks from Parrot Enrichment!



Thank you so much Stephanie! I'm guessing I'll be busy making toys for the birds this week-end!

31:365 - Egg Bird



Actually, egg seems somewhat inappropriate seeing how almost round she looks.

Today I tried something different. I generally take the pictures in the evening during the week and I generally take the "bird of the day" out first so I can get an uninterrupted photoshoot. While this appeared helpful in the case of Petey and to some extent Zuri, it seems to have made the others more "rigid". I didn't intend to change the routine quite yet but I did, thanks to Shade, who's turn it was to be taken in picture.

She was preening early this morning and was looking rather cute all along. The "egg" picture was the first one I took - and while I have a few pictures where she's looking at the camera with a coy expression on her face (which I might post later on here), the egg one was the winner because it was different.

I'm thinking I might no longer confine myself to that one-on-one photoshoot anymore..

3 years ago today...



..Zuri joined the family!

In those three years, I think he really starting coming into his own. While there is still progress to be made with his trusting humans, I think he's really become more comfortable around the Boy and I. Lately he's been really coming to us to scratch his head since it is full of pin feathers and Shade doesn't seem to keen to want to help him of late and will quickly put her head down in front of him so he'll take care of hers..without really returning the favour.

Things I'd like to work with him this year - train him to go into his carrier better as that is often a battle and to train him to step up on hands a bit better. A few bad bites in the past have deterred me of offering him my hand most days, specially in the morning when it's time to go back in his cage as he's very snappy then. Luckily, he's perch trained and will step up on one of those readily.

I had thought to stick to pictures I took earlier this week but as I was about to post, he decided to hang upside down above me and I just couldn't resist taking new ones. Here are more of him monkeying around upside down!







Monday, January 30, 2012

I jumped on the bandwagon..

..and got some foraging blocks from Parrot Enrichment.

It had been something I had contemplated for a while but given recent expenditures around Christmas, I held off on making any subsequent purchases for a bit. However, Kris the owner of Parrot Enrichment recently had a sale on some of the blocks which had slight imperfections. It was hard to resist the sale so I ordered a few blocks..but the ironic thing is, I only ended up ordering one of the imperfect blocks, as I opted to get extra small puzzler blocks for the small Pois and Piper and I was interested in the revamped with more grooves small puzzler block for Léa. I believe only there were mostly older models imperfect for sales, although I did manage to get an updated medium puzzler foraging block with the discount.


The extra small puzzler foraging blocks


The medium and small puzzler foraging blocks

Just by looking at the medium puzzler foraging block, you can hardly see anything "wrong" with it - all that there was was a small chip above to of the holes on the other side of the block.

Finally, I also got a few puzzler foraging foot toys.



I'm thinking of maybe introducing the blocks to the birds over the week-end. Until then, I'll think about how I want to stuff them with goodies to eat/play with!

30:365 - I'm so over this!



I'm pretty sure is what Pixel was thinking at that moment.

She didn't really want to partake in a photo shoot, I think she would have much rather continued to try and feed me, an activity she was trying to start as I took her out of her cage to take her picture. Unfortunately for her, I'm not so keen on parrot regurgitated food although I can appreciate the sentiment...

The phases of sulking Joey

First, start off the morning trying to attack your owner's elbow and every time she removes you, fly back and land rather abruptly.

Try to attack her fingers through the glass of the computer desk - that will get you removed again.

Continue to fly back and land rather aggressively - which of course will get you removed again.

When she says "enough" fly to the couch and make sure to turn your back at her. This might make her feel guilty.

Keep the guilt trip going for a few minutes.

Start making cute little noises, but make sure you keep ignoring her.

After a few minutes of that, occasionally look over your shoulder - be sure to give her the sad parrot eye if she ever would be looking in your direction while you are looking over your shoulder.

Move over to the tree between the couch and her, getting closer. You can opt to now be facing in her direction.

Once you've been there for a bit and she's realized you've moved closer, you can attempt to fly back to the computer desk, choosing to land nicely this time and to display no aggression whatsoever.

If you have done all steps properly, she might let you sit there now.

Wave..



...or caught mid-scratch?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

29:365 - Missed opportunity



At first glance, I'm sure there is some confusion about why I chose to title this picture like I did.

I love the picture, don't get me wrong. But..it is truly a missed opportunity.

Zuri was showing signs of restlessness and not wanting to "pose" for much longer so I snapped pictures as fast as my camera's focus and flash regeneration would allow me. I snapped this one and, a few seconds later, Zuri lifted both his wings up. That shot, to me, would have been quite amazing. Unfortunately, by the time I was ready to take another picture, he was done with his stretch and both wings were back down...and he promptly turned his back to me, signifying the end of the photo shoot, lest I would want to take pictures of his back.

What I got is still a pretty wonderful picture though and I guess I should consider myself lucky to having been able to at least catch one wing being lifted.

Fruit murder scene



The poor blackberry never stood a chance against Pixel..

Saturday, January 28, 2012

28:365 - Trust



Trust with parrots, I found, is a funny thing.

Some give it (almost) willingly. Some, you need to work much harder to get.

I have a mix of rehome/rescue birds as well as birds I got as babies.

I won't lie, in almost all cases the ones I got as babies were quite more willing to give their trust easily. There is, however, one of the rehomes that is an exception.

Pixel.

While she was skittish the first week or two when she moved in, we quickly formed a bond. Being able to have a bird lay on their back in the palm of your hand does deserve a certain amount of trust - and this was something I was able to do with her quite quickly. While I can also do this easily with Shade, we did have to work longer on it and this is something I'm also currently working on with Léa. (Piper just doesn't like being on his back so I won't try to get him to do so, but he does shows his trust in me in many other ways.)

Would I dare attempt this with Joey, Zuri or Petey? No, not at this time at least.

While the trust level with Joey is much improved from when he first joined the flock and that Zuri is slowly starting around, I don't think I'm nowhere near ready to try and manipulate them as easily as I do Piper, Shade, Pixel and Léa. But I do think it is something I might be able to do down the road with them. Petey, on the other hand..if we ever get to a point where we can cohabitate with no chance of him trying to dive bomb me from time to time, I'll be happy.

Why is it easier to gain trust with birds you get as babies? They haven't been issued any reason yet to feel any other way than to trust you. However, this comes with a great deal of responsibility since how you do treat them and deal with them will pave the way of how they will feel about humans in general. Part of the reason why I don't think I'll ever be able to fully gain Petey's trust is that I think, at some point, someone, a women, did something terrible to him. He's quite willing to treat any men he encounters in a very sweet demeanor. But women...no such luck. While he won't attack unknown women, he is clearly uncomfortable around them. Why would I think there is more hope with Joey and Zuri? For one, the progress that has been made since they first came here and the fact that their history isn't as scarring I would think, although Zuri did seem to have it harder than Joey.

But why would Pixel be so trusting? I somehow feel with her that she is so trusting with me because she might have picked me - back in the days where I visited her in the pet store she would come down in her cage to be as close to me as she could and I did see her ignore many other people. And while she is quite trusting of me, the Boy wouldn't dare handle her in the way I do sometimes and when I had her at my parents' to be watched over while we were away on vacation, she was rather nervous around them.

I did mention earlier than when it comes to baby birds, we have a huge responsibility in playing a role in how they will trust other people - I think I did fairly well with Piper and Shade, as they are quite willing to see different people and be well behaved. I can only hope that Léa will turn out the same way.

Funny how taking one picture let me to write something significantly longer than I first intended. I do hope you enjoy the picture of trusting Pixel and her dainty ways.

Friday, January 27, 2012

27:365 - He looks happy..



I am finishing up the fourth week of this 52 weeks project.
Which means I still have 48 different pictures of each bird to take.

While I *think* some of the others might play along well and give me something a little different each week to post, some I fear will give me more of the same.

Petey is one of those birds. I basically, at this time, can only really take pictures of him on the atom since it's the only place he'll allow me to without trying to immediately jump on me. And he doesn't have many poses - it's just how he is. I could easily get many blurred head shots of him since he likes to move his head so much when the camera is out (a dancing machine he becomes).

He generally hates the camera - but at least on this picture, I think he looks happy.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

25:365



Not the sharpest picture, but a cute one nonetheless!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

24:365 - The look



I did a 365 project a few years ago. I remember one of the things that was the hardest was to take a picture when I just did not feel like it.

Today was one of those days. I did not feel like taking pictures but I did - since I know how nice the feeling is to complete the project, even if many times (and I'm sure this is just the first of many times where it will happen this year) I want to quit.

What I got tonight made it worth it - I really like how this picture of Zuri came out.

Monday, January 23, 2012

23:365 - Bat bird



The random generator did not want to give me an easy picture today - it picked Léa, as shown above.

What is not shown - my scratched up left hand/wrist/forearm given she kept flying to me instead of staying nicely in one spot and then held on as tightly as she could while I tried to put her down one handed (since my other hand was holding the camera).

And why did I keep on holding the camera instead of putting it down so I could put Léa down with more ease? Because if I wasn't somewhat ready to try and capture a shot right after I managed to ease her off I'd miss the opportunity. This photoshoot lasted a long time, and most of it was spent handling Léa.

So sorry for the not-so-sharp head. I still think it's a pretty neat shot showing her activity level.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

22:365 - Funny coincidences

The first week of this project, I decided to let a random number generator decide of the order in which the birds pictures would be taken (the number attributed to each bird was the order in which they joined the family). The following two weeks were done in the order the birds came here and their age from oldest to youngest.

This week, I figured I'd go back to the random number generator. Three weeks ago it picked #3 first. This week...#3 came out first again.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

21:365 - Léa



8 month old hyperactive Léa..it was hard to get her to stand still long enough to get a sharp picture today.

Day 18 alternatives

I had a hard time picking which shot of Joey I wanted to use on day 18. Here are some of the alternates that I had pondered about using on that day.







Friday, January 20, 2012

20:365 - Zuri



He's 4 years old!

Léa's telephone noises

Yup, that is noises plural.

Earlier this week right after coming home from work and before letting the birds out, the Boy was in the living room while I went to get something in the bedroom. I heard the familiar noise of someone pressing buttons on the phone. I asked the Boy if he was checking voicemail and he said that he thought I was the one handling the phone..before saying "that was Léa". She confused both of us so I think it's fair to say she's got it down perfectly.

And just now, I had another realization. She does make the sound of a ringing phone and it's always eluded me as to which ring it was exactly until now. She has the pattern down of the long distance ring. Of course, the reason it was crystal clear now is because, for the first time, she did it right after the phone rang, and it was a long distance call.

She also said "Allo" shortly after, although not close enough for it to have been an association. And it was "Allo" not "Hello" - I typically answer the phone with "Allo" (what can I say, years of habit of answering the phone in French) and it's also how I greet the birds. Generally, those long distance phone calls are answered by the Boy since they are either his parents or telemarketers and such and he most definitively uses the English greeting.

She definitively seems to prefer the French lately - but honestly, I do find the sound of it fits her little girly voice better!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

19:365 - Shade



She's 5 years old!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

17:365 - Piper



6 year old Piper!

Monday, January 16, 2012

16:365 - Pixel



She's 7 years old.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

15:365 - Mr. Petey



This week's order of portrait will be based on the birds' ages - from the oldest to the youngest.

So Petey gets to be first, according to his band he would have hatched in 1995, which means he's 16-17 years old by now.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Léa, today you are 8 months old!



Another month has gone by, and quickly at that!

Last month, I said you had gotten more active - this has not changed. In fact, the combination of this hike in activity level combined with the Boy's and mine vacation, meaning you came out in the morning later than the usual 6am during the week, meant that you spent even more energy than you normally did (being more awake when we took you out later), you decided to give me another scare and lose a little weight. I had toyed with the idea of bringing you to the vet more than once, but the last time I did that after you had lost some weight, the vet had told me that it was quite normal for you to lose up to 10% of your weight. So I kept a vigilant eye on you, but since you were so full of life, that you continued to eat with the same appetite and you did put on some weight throughout the day and that everything else about you screamed healthy, I figured you were ok. And the moment routine came back to "normal", your weight also came back to "normal".

The fact that you just want to move all the time made today's photoshoot rather difficult - I got quite a few blurry shots since you would move as I pressed the shutter on my camera. But it also make for some fun and interactive pictures.







Toys are still quite popular with you and you are starting to play with more and more different kinds, which makes me happy.



On certain of the pictures above, we can see that you started growing some orange on your wings as well; you have two orange feathers at about the same place on your right wing and one on your left so far. Your right ankle also now has a band of coral going all around it, while your left ankle started to grow a few more of those coral feathers but still has some catching up to do.



As for your head, a few more coral feathers have started up showing on your forehead, however, since they seem to like to grow behind some grey feathers, they aren't all that obvious yet. And since you seem to like to grow them one pin at the time, they are very slowly coming in.



Now, all this obsession about looking for your first coral feathers has drawn my attention away from one other physiological change you have been growing through, the apparition of grey all over your head (and not just on the very top).

It's funny how it's coming in - there is the very obvious patch of grey on top, your cheeks have definitively started to change as well to the reddish with a grey rim adult feathers and your bib has definitively got more grey as well. And all of these waves of grey are converging towards the back of your head, where there is still a very obvious baby green spot left. I'm guessing my next month it'll probably be grey as well.







This month you've also started using words in context - I never doubted that you were smart, but seeing birds do this always amazes me. Don't think that this means that you always have to do so; I'll be quite happy if you want to stick to your cute noises instead of really using human speech. Even without saying words you do manage to get us to understand what you want. I've also seen you get obsessed with doing things and then stopping and moving on - might I suggest that you get tired of going on the floor? I'm pretty sure the Boy as well as myself would enjoy it if we didn't have to pick you off the floor so often.

Finally, Léa, it's been quite enjoyable seeing these changes happen in you and I'm quite looking forward to what is to come!

14:365 - Turning 8 months old today!



There will be a lengthier post about this later on today.
While I love this shot because it captured her in movement, that same thing made her photoshoot today all the more difficult..Lots of blurry pictures!

Earlier this week I mentioned that there would be a nice coincidence with this week's 365 - this was it. That Léa's turn would fall on her turning 8 month old day!

Little Coy Girl



Who, me?