Last week, the Boy was out of town which meant I had a whole week alone with the birds.
While, for the most part, things went ok - the Littles were great, including Petey who didn't try any funny attack on me - things with Léa started ok but then went bad.
Ever since she "flipped" back in October, we have been working on her trusting me fully again. Things were starting to get really really good prior to the Boy leaving, but I knew there was still work to be done, namely, getting her to consistently (as opposed to occasionally) step up on my hand.
While she is fine with coming out of her cage on me, and she was fine while out of her cage, the problem was getting back in. Prior to the Boy leaving, she had been fairly good about stepping onto my arm and staying there until I put her in her cage, after her last time out in the evening.
She did well on Monday night. Tuesday, things got a little tricky, alhough, in the end, I managed to get her in her cage without too much problem.
Then came Wednesday...and everything fell apart. When I went to do her cage, I could sense things were going to be rocky, so at first, I intended to leave her in her cage for the evening. However, it was clear she was going to bypass me somehow so I figured better she associate me with the good experience of getting out so I let her after she stepped up.
You could feel that things were going to be difficult during her "out" time, as she wasn't as well behaved as she normally is. I let her get it out of her system, mostly ignored her, and eventually she settled down. Eventually, it was obvious she was getting ready for bed so I thought this was the best time for me to get her to step up, as it's been this way in the past. But she had none of it that night.
She started flying everywhere. Eventually we ended up on the landing on the second floor (where the birdroom and computer room are, and she kept eluding me. Eventually she directed herself to the main floor, which, in an effort to avoid using electricity for no reason, had no lights open. My heart did stop for a second. I ran after her and found her on the floor and finally managed to scoop her up, something I haven't done in a long time, as she wouldn't allow me. She wasn't keen on it this time either, screaming in such a way that you would think I was trying to kill her, chewing on my thumbs as hard as she could manage (yet didn't draw any blood but she did manage to get them quite numb) until I held her against my chest, after which she calmed down a little. I got her into her cage and, as I closed the door, I noticed a big drop of blood at the end of her beak - she had just broken the very tip of it.
While I remained calm while in the room, the moment I was downstairs preparing some cayenne paste to apply to her beak, I think the nerves got the best of me and I allowed myself to breakdown a little. My hands were shaking badly too, but I managed to get my composure as I walked upstairs, grabbed a towel on my way to the birdroom to help restrain Léa. When I got there, the drop was gone and there was no other sign of blood around her cage - and I had read many stories of Capes breaking the tip of their beak and there being blood everywhere. Since she didn't appear to be bleeding anymore (I did stand by her for 5 good minutes), I figured it was best to let her be, especially since she looked quite calm.
I, on the other hand, was feeling terrible, thinking I had, in a few minutes, managed to destroy everything I've been working towards over the past 6-7 months. Things appeared quite bad, although Léa did not thrash in her cage when she saw me (as she did in October) and would calmly still take pumpkin seeds from my hands so I figured there was maybe still a little hope that things didn't go too far south. But to avoid things getting any worse, and given the Boy was due back shortly, I felt it was better to keep her in her cage for the last two remaining days. While she did not seem to want to come out on Thursday, you could see she was anticipating being able to on Friday evening.
With the Boy back early on Saturday morning, I was more than happy to let her out. As we did prior to his departure, I'm the one who got Léa out of the cage, and she did splendidly. And, during today's morning out of cage time, she stepped up onto my hand 4-5 times, in the most gentle way she has done in a very long time, not even appearing to ponder possibly chewing on my thumb. I needed that boost, but it really makes you wonder what goes through her head, to be able to act the way she did on Wednesday with no reason, to being a complete angel this morning.
But at least I know that not everything was broken that night between us and that it might be easier to move forward than I initially thought it would be.