Friday, May 2, 2008

Simple Pleasures

I don't know if I've ever mentioned before how much my parrots, especially Max and Beeps, love to shower. I think I have mentioned that Beeps may be half-fish as he takes a bath in his water dish several times a week in addition to his frequent drenching with a plant mister.

Max LOVES the plant mister. I keep it in the living room because I use it in the morning to mist the lizards' food, and every time I pick it up she gets so excited and exclaims, "Want some!" We try to mist her every day, sometimes more than once, but it doesn't always happen (we can't mist her too close to bedtime because we want her to be dry overnight).

I had already sprayed her for quite awhile yesterday, when I decided to take this video. It's a bit longer than usual -- around 40 seconds -- but it was hard finding a good stopping point. Her bathing pattern is that I spray her (the harder/closer the nozzle is to her, the better), she flies or runs off (depending on where she is) and then comes back for more. I can get her to fly all over the house by pointing the sprayer at different perches -- she flies right over.

In fact, I sometimes have to put her in her cage while I spray the other parrots because she tries to get in the way of the spray of water and they deserve my full attention when they're getting a bath.

After I turned the camera off, I did a little experiment to see how much she loves it. I clicker train her, which means that I teach her to do tricks and she gets a treat (generally a safflower seed, but occasionally a bit of cheese or a piece of cashew) when she does the trick. Although called clicker training, a clicker is only needed in the beginning. Once the bird knows the trick and it's on cue, the clicker is no longer needed.

In any case, I did a training session with her where I would give the cue and the treat for performing the trick was to get sprayed a few times. She loved it and I got some of my best performances out of her (exaggerated movements when I asked her to take a bow or show me her wings).

Here are the four larger birds hanging out on their stand after their baths. Calypso is the caique in the background. You can see that Max and Beeps are pretty wet. Since Calypso and Rocky weren't in bathing moods last night, they just got a light spray (as did Daphne who was safely away from their large beaks).

Rocky and I are continuing to progress. He hasn't tried to bite me since Monday. I feel like I have an even better understanding of his body language and have stopped using heavy armor on my arm, although I have not yet tried with bare skin (even Thomas usually makes sure he has his arm covered as bare skin has been known to set Rocky off).

He's also been calling my name more and following me around the house, and not in a menacing way. I have been taking things slowly and only having him step up on my arm from inside or on his cage (otherwise, it's the stick). Perhaps I'll move on to try other places in a few weeks. My main concern right now is that we're leaving for a 10-day vacation in 2 weeks and that might set our progress back, so I don't want to do too much before then.

Happy weekend!


Sharon said...

What a fun video... Max not only gets clean but also gets some exercise in!

As for my Mooky he hates the spray bottle... he's deathly afraid of it! I've tried small ones, colored ones, different shaped ones but I can't pull one over on him he knows they're all spray bottle.

BTW you have 4 beautiful parrots.

Mary said...

Thanks for the compliment! Of course I think they're beautiful, but I am a bit biased :)

It's funny how they have their things they are frightened of -- I've seen others who hate the spray bottle. Mooky is so smart and such a character. I love those greys!