Friday, February 27, 2009

Wrap-up

Yesterday I beat Thomas home, and was surprised to be greeted by this scene:Apparently I had either forgotten to put Calypso in his cage, or I forgot to make sure his cage was securely closed. I do a double check of everyone as I leave for the day, making sure they're secure and saying goodbye (it's part of our routine that helps make the parrots feel comfortable and safe), so I'm not sure how he got past me.

In any case, if I had to leave any of the parrots out during the day, he's the one I'd choose. I'm pretty sure he spent the entire day on or in his cage. Had it been one of the greys, I would have found mass destruction, I'm sure. I triple checked him this morning before I left!

*************************
Beeps, aka Mr. Hormone, attacked Thomas last night. We think we may have found another trigger. Thomas was lying on the kitchen table (I have no idea why) when Beeps flew over and attacked. Later, experimenting, we discovered he became very agitated whenever one of us sat on the table, and that's when he attacked me the day before.

As she had for me, Max came to Thomas's rescue and buzzed Beeps off of Thomas, herding him back to his stand.

*************************
I'm starting to wonder whether Thomas and Rocky collaborated in the bite from earlier this week; otherwise, Thomas is just taking extreme advantage of the situation; e.g. "Would you mind very much doing all of the dishes? I would help, you know, but I have this bite on my finger and I don't want it to get infected."

*************************
For dinner last night, we had nut burgers and french fries. Below is one of the potatoes I turned into fries (sorry it's so dark):
I remarked to Thomas that it looked like a heart, but he said it looked like a butt.

*************************
Over the weekend, I could not resist purchasing a pint of blueberries and have been eating them sparingly, with the intention of turning the majority into muffins. I got up early this morning and finally made the muffins, worried that the blueberries might go bad before I had the chance if I didn't do it today.

I was in the living room, handing small pieces of muffin to the parrots in there (everyone but the greys) and returned to this scene:I must say I was not surprised by this.

*************************
I stopped at the library on my way in to work this morning to drop off some books and pick up a few more. I set off the alarm walking in. I don't even understand how that could happen as I had properly checked out all of the books and it didn't sound a few weeks ago as I was leaving. I held my breath while leaving, but didn't trip the alarm with my new books, luckily. I would have hated to be thought a library thief, even for a moment!

*************************
Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend and a great start to March!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Grey fun

Last night, Stella helped herself to an almond. Thomas had just finished sweeping the floor, so was a little upset that he'd have to sweep up again since she chose to eat the almond while perching on the back of the chair.

Sadly, I was not quick enough as she'd already dropped the almond in the dustpan, but he held the dustpan under her for several seconds and asked her to drop it in when she was done, which she did (that she dropped it in the dustpan was just an accident, helped by gravity and the fact she decided not to fling the shell).
***********************
A few days ago, we made nut butter, which is so much more delicious that anything we can find in the store. We just buy bags of mixed fancy nuts at Trader Joe's and then blend them up for a few minutes. The only ingredients are nuts!

Max goes crazy for this. I was eating breakfast this morning, which consisted of apples dipped in the nut butter. I had given Max a small spoonful of the nut butter in a spoon, but she quickly finished that and decided she wanted more.

Although she rarely does this, she flew to the table and started bothering me for nut butter. I'd pick her up and fling her towards her stand. This was only a temporary fix, as she'd fly back to me and try to steal my food. Finally I flung her and she didn't come immediately back. I should have been suspicious, but instead enjoyed the relative calm as I attempted to finish the Sudoku puzzle in the paper.

Thomas gave her up, saying to me, "Look where she is!" She must have seen the cover to the nut butter on the counter and decided that made an acceptable substitute. Since she'd already had enough for one little parrot for one day, we removed her shortly after taking this picture.
You can see her eyes pinning -- she loves it!

Clementines

As mentioned in a previous post, we have clementines. These are like crack for parrots (and people); at least the ones in our house.

Max:Stella prefers if you hold it for her so she can drink the juice:
I don't know exactly what happened, but after Thomas gave Rocky his fruit, Rocky put it on Thomas's hand and then jumped up there himself:Calypso didn't want his picture taken; you can see the clementine piece on his left side as he runs away:Since I am patient, I eventually got a front picture of him with his treasure!Beeps also enjoyed his, but since he is very hormonal, I couldn't get a picture of him (cameras set him off).

As usual, Daphne was not interested. More for us! Although not much more since she is only a little budgie and her consumption of clementines, even if she loved them, wouldn't make a dent in ours!

Bloodbath!

OK, really more of a blood trickle, but that just doesn't roll off of the tongue. Why, oh, why did Rocky (you had to know it was him!) bite Thomas, the love of his life? Because he was angry.

Thomas got home a little early from work and since it was relatively warm out (in the 40s), he called me at work to see if I wanted to come home and go for a run. Of course I accepted! I only work about 7 minutes away from home, so Thomas got ready for his run, not letting the parrots out as they'd just have to go back in.

I arrived home with a box of clementines. Thomas ate one as a snack and then doled out pieces to the parrots, through their cage bars. He got to Rocky, but instead of taking the fruit, he bit Thomas's finger! We think he was angry that he was in his cage.

By the time we got back from our run, things were back to normal between them. Later on in the evening, Rocky was on Thomas and I noticed something worrying out of the corner of my eye. There was redness on the white part of Rocky's face and I worried he might have injured himself.

Upon closer review, it was determined that he had Thomas's blood on him; no damage to Rocky!

*************************
In other biting news, Thomas and I were discussing what our plans are for this weekend. Our conversation went something like this:

Thomas: What do you want to do this weekend?

Me: I'd like to go to the art museum with my best friend since we haven't yet seen the new exhibit and I've heard great things about it.

Thomas: I don't think they'd let Max into the museum.

Me: Of course I meant you!

An hour or so later, Thomas was cooking dinner and I was sitting on the kitchen table, chatting with him. Yes, I was sitting on the kitchen table with my feet on the chair. If I'd been sitting at the kitchen table with my feet on the floor, I'd risk a Rocky bite.

With absolutely no provocation, Beeps flew over from his stand and started viciously attacking my head. (Hormones are still raging through that tiny guy!) As I reached for something with which to nudge him off of me, suddenly my savior appeared in the form of Max. She flew at him, removing him from my head, and then circled back to me, landing on my leg and giving me kisses.

Thomas: I guess Max really is a better friend than me since I just stood here laughing whereas she took care of business and got Beeps away from you.

No damage was done to my head as he was quickly removed and had spent most of the time posturing before his attack (which really is quite funny to watch; I can't blame Thomas for laughing!)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Why does my macaw hate me?

I like to see what searches bring people to my blog. This helps me to see what topics people are interested in, and I try to write entries reflecting that, on occasion. A few weeks ago, someone found me via a search that I find heartbreaking: "Why does my macaw hate me?"

I'm not sure if that person is still reading, but I couldn't get that question out of my mind and decided I wanted to write a post about it. As always, let me disclaim that I in no way consider myself to be an expert. I do have quite a bit of experience dealing with difficult parrot relationships up at the rescue where I volunteer, read and analyze pretty much everything I can find about parrot relationships, and currently live in a home with a macaw who usually acts as though he wishes I weren't around. Truthfully, I'm not all that interested in the science behind the behavior -- I'm a humanities lady! I'm more concerned with the application of techniques that work (so I do read the scientific stuff but usually skim quite a bit of it!), and I anthropomorphize a lot in my relationships with parrots.

First, it is important to remember that every macaw, every parrot, is an individual. They have likes and dislikes, and that includes choosing to whom they bond. In my mind, adding a parrot to your house is more like adding a roommate than adding a pet. It's like getting assigned a roommate in the dorms at college. I was lucky in that I got along really well with mine, but I know many people (including Thomas) who weren't so lucky. At least that relationship only lasts the school year and both parties have the liberty to come and go as they please. A parrot is stuck, subject to the whims of his roommate.

That's why I think the absolute best way to add a parrot to your house is to adopt an older bird, a bird that chooses you. I know I could fall in love with any parrot that loved me; it's not that easy making a parrot fall in love with any human that loves her! Volunteering at a good rescue is the perfect way to help other birds while waiting for that special spark with a bird. Over the years, scores of birds have chosen Thomas or me; obviously we couldn't bring everyone home, but if the parrot is interested in you at the beginning, you're setting your relationship up for success.

There is a lot of misinformation out there, although more people are speaking up now to disprove this, that you need to buy a baby or even handfeed a baby in order to get a bond. That is not true at all! In fact, the opposite may happen. The bird may see you as its parent and then turn against you when he reaches maturity. After she matures and her true personality is known, it may not be at all compatible with yours. And that's not even considering the fact that the bird may be killed or maimed by improper handfeeding techniques. I know a lady with four parrots; three she purchased as babies and one she got when the bird was in her teens. She can only handle one of her birds now -- the one who was an adult when she adopted her.

Of our six parrots, only one (Max) was purchased as a baby; the rest were mature when we acquired them. One or both of us has fantastic bonds with every parrot in our house.

The above information won't help the person who already owns a macaw that hates her, but I'm hoping it may be helpful to someone.

So, what to do when you live with a macaw that hates you? Change his mind! This may take time and patience, but acquiring a bird is a lifetime commitment, and you may see results quicker than you expect.

The vast majority of parrot behavior consultation we do at the rescue is more about modifying the behavior of the human rather than the bird. After all, parrots are wild animals reacting to their environment.

After a vet visit to rule out any physical reason for the behavior (especially important with a change in behavior), it's a good idea to look at the physical environment of the bird and make changes. Sometimes something as simple as increasing the hours a bird sleeps makes all the difference! These include:
  • Is the bird getting 12 hours of dark, uninterrupted sleep? (This seems to be of more importance to the New World species like amazons, macaws, and conures, and less important for greys, who may be fine on 10-11 hours; each bird is different).
  • Is the bird eating a good diet? With as little processed and chemically-dyed food as possible? And a good variety of interesting, fresh food? My parents' quaker used to become really aggressive whenever he ate any white flour. It may be helpful to experiment and keep a journal to track this.
  • Does the bird have a big enough cage, with enough interesting things in there to keep him occupied? Although this is different for everyone, the rule of thumb in our house is at least 4 different kind of perches, at least 20 toys inside the cage, and at least 10 toys outside the cage, with the toys being varied: destructible, foraging, beads on leather, noisy, etc. A bigger cage might be needed if there's no room for the bird after that!
  • Is the bird receiving enough physical exercise? I know I get squirrelly after a day of inactivity and have lots of pent-up energy. Preferably involving wing flapping/simulated flying/flying. We get all of our birds panting at least once a day.
  • Is the bird receiving enough mental exercise? Does she have to look for any of her food, or is it all given in the same dish every day? Does she have a job? I particularly like clicker training as a method to make your bird's mind more active.
  • Is the bird receiving enough human attention? Since birds have rather short attention spans, it seems to work better if you give them short bursts of attention rather than longer ones. Just acknowledging them and maybe dancing, or giving them a few head pets, or singing them a song for even 20 seconds several times an hour seems to make a huge difference in their happiness.
Once these things have been considered, you can move on to the next level of winning your parrot over. Once again, let me put in a plug for clicker training. I have yet to meet a larger parrot (my budgie is the only bird I can think of) who doesn't love this! In addition to exercising their mind, as discussed above, it helps you to understand their body language, which is very important in a successful human-parrot relationship. I've read that one of the main causes of human divorce is a lack of communication between the partners. Is there any wonder that so many human-parrot relationships fail when we're trying to communicate with another species? A species who, despite the ability to talk, expresses itself the vast majority of the time with body language that is often too subtle for humans to understand?

Put yourself in the place of your parrot. Really try to understand his body language and respect his wishes. Offer him as many choices as possible so that he has more control over his own destiny. I have written before that we have a personal responsibility philosophy with our parrots. If they're upset about something, it's on them to change things so they're happy. That's not to say that the parrots should be able to do anything they want to! We have rules about what is and is not acceptable, and their choices have to be made within those guidelines.

I'm already getting quite long and I know I'm leaving stuff out, but it's really important to remember to have fun with your parrot! Parrots, especially macaws, are silly, fun-loving animals. They don't want to live a dull, severe existence. They love to dance, to hear you talk to them in silly, high voices, to throw their toys around, etc. Use this to your advantage! Engage you parrot in fun!

Take time to appreciate her for who she is. Maybe make a list of the things you love about her and why you decided to bring her into your house. You may have to revise your expectations of the type of relationship you have with your parrot, as I have done with Rocky. Parrots are master-body-language-readers; interpreting signs we don't even know we're giving off. If I approach Rocky with a bad attitude because I resent him for the way he treats me, he'll pick up on that and it will only encourage his dislike of me. Instead, if I approach him with a fun, positive attitude and love him for his quirks, he'll start to warm up and make overtures to me!

In summation, I try to make every encounter with my parrots a positive one, even more so when the parrot in question doesn't really like me (Rocky). I want them to associate me with good things.

Changing a parrot's behavior towards you can be done, mostly by changing your behavior towards him! It probably won't be quick or easy, but I think it's worth it. My relationship with Rocky has grown by leaps and bounds during the 2 1/2 years we've had him. Is it perfect? Nope; we're still working on it. Will he ever love me as much as he loves Thomas? Extremely doubtful. Have we found an arrangement that works for us? Yes; it can be done!

Popcorn

Thomas was eating a few handfuls of homemade granola as part of his post-workout snack last night, when Rocky decided to get in on the action:
You can see by the crumbs on the counter that this wasn't his first trip to the bowl.

For dessert last night, we had popcorn, which the parrots love! Some of them (Stella, Beeps) finished their treat before I could take a picture, but here are the rest of them:

Max:
Calypso:
Rocky:Yes, Rocky had to spread his wings out to threaten me even though he was enjoying a treat.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Nesting

Stella's picked up the intensity of her nesting attempts lately. Spring is (kind of) in the air, and that's prompting her to try to find the appropriate nest cavity.

We've had talks about the futility of this. There are no male greys in our house, so any eggs she would lay would be infertile anyway -- why put yourself through that trauma? She disregards my advice. However, despite her best attempts, she has not quite figured out how to fit under the stove:We are very careful to discourage this behavior; she was removed from the floor as soon as I snapped my pictures.

While it may be sexist on our part, our philosophy has been to allow our male birds (Rocky and the caiques) to do any nesting they want, providing it does not negatively impact their behavior, while preventing nesting behaviors in our female birds (Daphne and the greys). This is because we don't want to encourage egg-laying in our females. I know some people who have lost birds (usually cockatiels) to egg-binding, so we're careful with our ladies. That's not to say it won't happen; we're just trying to reduce the probability of that happening.

Since Max and Daphne have, thus far, shown very little interest in nesting, it's mostly just a concern with Stella. Happily, although she does seem determined to fit under the stove, she always steps up nicely when we remove her from the area. That doesn't mean she'll stay on her stand once she flies there, preferring another try with the oven. As yet, she has not attempted any nesting in the living room, so this is just a concern in the kitchen.

Since you couldn't see her face in the above pictures, here's one I took this morning:I think she is trying to look innocent, as she had just recently thrown all of my recyclables (they had been waiting on the counter to be removed to the garage) onto the ground.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Ireland

We had a wonderful time in Ireland; I cannot overemphasize how friendly everyone was! Here is a taste of what we did and I hope everyone reading this can go there themselves someday. It's fantastic!

************************
On our first day there, after dropping our luggage off at the hotel, but before being able to check in (and shower), we went for a walk around the city, including stops in this lovely park. There was quite a bit of urban wildlife. This seagull lucked in to a large piece of bread:In this same park were ducks:************************
We went to the Botanical Gardens (we love Botanical Gardens!) The visitors obviously feed the wildlife, which were rather tame. As we had seen in London, squirrels would climb up people to get to food they held in their hands.

This squirrel was digging for nest material. Even though I live in an area with a lot of squirrels, I had never seen such a thing before. I did take another video of him climbing up the tree, but lost sight of him. As the video turned out mostly to be of a tree, I decided not to post it.

video

And a close-up of the adorable little fellow, with a mouthful:************************
Later in the week, we took a train to the coastal town of Howth, where we saw this unusual (to us) bird:Also, my dog-envy was in full swing, with many people taking their dogs out on promenades. We were walking along the dock, when we came across these two older gentleman with an adorable dog. The dog carried a tennis ball in his mouth.

When they came to this part of the dock, the dog jumped up on the ledge and walked along it (you can see the dog towards the right of this picture):We imagine this is a daily routine for everyone. Shortly after I took this picture, the dog ran ahead and dropped his tennis ball at the feet of another gentleman standing on the dock. Obligingly, he kicked the ball, and the two of them played fetch while these two men caught up to their dog. Then, they stood around chatting and playing with their dog. What a life!

************************
We also went to the town of Bray, where we got in quite a bit of hiking. Towards the sea, we found this fun little tidal pool. The only living creature we could see was a snail:There was a large hill that we climbed, and were rewarded with this view:
Too bad the skies weren't clearer, but still quite breathtaking to my eyes.

*************************
Finally, we took a bus to Glendalough, and the driver stopped so we could get out and see this beautiful sight. It was quite misty as you can see, but I think that only adds to the magic of the place.Once we got to Glendalough, we were able to hike for about an hour until we had to meet the bus. This was one of the many waterfalls we stumbled upon:************************
When we were waiting for the train to take us from Bray to Dublin, a young boy of about 4 years old came up to me and the following conversation took place:

Young Irish Lad (YIL): Hi

Me: Hi

YIL: I like your shoes.

Me: Thanks. They're kind of muddy. I like your shoes, too.

YIL: Thanks.

Me: You look like you're from the future (his shoes were silver).

YIL: I am from the future.

It was such a funny conversation! We talked a bit more (his grandfather was right there, laughing along) and then the train came.

We're back!

We spent last week in Dublin, which I think I neglected to mention before leaving, so sorry for my unexplained absence! I'll post some pictures from our trip in a subsequent entry.

We've revamped Andreas's tank, and he's since been spending a lot of time laying in his food dish. It's rather bizarre, but he makes me laugh pretty much every time since he doesn't quite fit!Before we left for our trip, Thomas was having some fun with Stella near the clean dishes:
This happened yesterday, after we were back home. Rocky was so pleased to be with Thomas again that he wouldn't leave him alone. Finally, Thomas told him he'd better be careful what he wished for and brought him very close:Not surprisingly, Rocky enjoyed being in his pocket, so this scene will likely be replicated more frequently in our house in the future!

The parrots are really quite used to us leaving now. We returned home around 7 pm on Friday, which is usually their bedtime. We kept them up for an extra hour or so. The greys and Rocky were a bit needier than usual, but were back to their normal personalities by the next day. Daphne was completely normal, as though there hadn't been a disruption in her routine. The caiques were a different story.

Beeps has been extremely aggressive towards me. Although we don't want to take this step, we are contemplating clipping him. Saturday morning, he jumped me 10 times in a row before we put him in his cage so I could finish breakfast. Luckily he isn't a fast flier, so I'd hold up a magazine to deflect him as he flew towards me to attack and he'd return to his stand, waiting a few seconds before launching another attack. He's fine with me as long as Thomas isn't home and I'm not paying attention to the lizards, sweeping, or using technology.

Also, Max has become my protector. I wish I could get a video of this. If Beeps tries to attack me and she's in the room, she'll launch at him, herding him back to his cage or a stand, then do a loop around the room and buzz him one more time for good measure.

Calypso will take a week or so to get back to normal. Right now, he's still too excited to allow me to hold him unless I have him step up on a towel.

Rocky went under his cage for the first time in several months yesterday. I guess his nesty season is beginning, which means Thomas gets a reprieve from his macaw tumor as Rocky is busy turning 2X4 slices and newspaper sections into a nest for him and Thomas to share.

It's great to be back and I should be able to visit all the blogs I read by the end of the week -- can't wait to see what I've missed!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Max overload

Max was in fine form yesterday. I've written before that she flies and lands on the freezer door anytime it's opened; yesterday, she did that for the first time with one of the cabinet doors:
After taking this picture, I removed her and closed the door. No need to give her easy access to chewing up the cabinets!

Then, she flew over to the sink where I was preparing dinner and proceeded to hang out on the dishrack.
What's so strange is that she won't do this for many months and then she'll start doing it again -- strange!

Thomas's rotation this month is in geriatric medicine. In order to give him an understanding of what it's like for older people that have to take a multitude of pills, they gave him a pill sorter box filled with, get this, candy! I think it would have been more realistic had they filled it with placebos he had to swallow. In any case, since I am a huge candy fiend, he gave this to me, and I am trying not to eat too much!

Max tried, unsuccessfully, to get in the action. The last thing I need is for her to get all hyped up on sugar -- she has enough energy as it is!
I'm unclear as to whether we get to keep this or if he's supposed to return it before the end of his rotation. If we get to keep it, I'm going to turn it into a foraging box for Max. It will drive her crazy since she'll be able to see the treat inside!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Imitating Greys

Last night I went into the kitchen to clean up after dinner. Of course, the greys followed me. I left the kitchen momentarily, and returned to find this scene. I'm not entirely pleased since I don't want Max to start thinking the stove is a playgym also.

In other news of Max imitating Stella, last night she found a marble on the floor that Beeps had thrown out of his foraging bucket. Apparently this kicked in some kind of nesting instinct in Max and she worked to push the marble under her so she could sit on it, as though it were an egg. Then, she started digging, like Stella does. This is the first time we've seen this behavior out of her (the digging, that is. She has previously tried to sit on a pecan). We're going to watch her closely as we don't want to encourage nesting behavior in our females due to concerns of egg-binding.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Randomness

I read on a uromastyx forum that pool filter sand makes a good substrate, so we switched Andreas earlier this week. He seems very happy! We will switch Elsa once she's done brumating, as we want to disturb her as little as possible during this time.

He's been quite active and more personable lately. A few months ago he'd go into his hide when I'd walk in to the room; he was giving me quite the complex! Lately, he's been staying out and even approaching my hand when it's in the tank doing some sort of maintenance. He's also been doing some amazingly cute poses, like this one where his arm is nonchalantly resting on his food dish:*************************
Max was wandering around the table, trying to eat Thomas's food (as usual) when she suddenly hopped up on my jar of Aquaphor, where she happily stayed for several minutes. ***********************
Over the weekend, Rocky was wandering around the floor, playing fetch with one of his balls when Max climbed down and started walking around the floor as well. She doesn't do this often, as she'll usually fly instead, but sometimes she likes to explore on the floor.

She found some disgarded food that Beeps had flung down from his cage:And then she proceeded to perch on the shoes I wear in the house to prevent me from stepping on wood chips:************************
Finally, I took this picture of Daphne, and she turned out pretty well (not too washed out or fuzzy), so I thought I'd post it. She has a lot of toys in her cage -- for some birds, this would be overload, but she likes it this way. Her favorite toy is that wooden dome-shaped one hanging on her left. Thomas drilled holes into it in an ill-fated attempt to make a foraging toy.One thing she loves is when I cup her in front of my mouth and talk quietly to her. I make clicking sounds and she clicks back, and she'll preen my chin a bit. Thomas walked in on me doing this a few days ago and accused me of licking her. He was joking since he knows I wouldn't do something like that.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Noisy Rocky

Over the weekend, Thomas and I were sitting on the couch, watching TV, a folded blanket in between us. Rocky climbed up onto Thomas and then over him, making his way to this blanket. He spent several minutes attacking the blanket and fake attacking us.
Tired out from such exertion, he then decided to preen himself. In a previous post, I remarked that he is almost constantly making noise, which you can see in this video.

video

************************
Rocky has decided that he does not want Thomas to wear anything red or orange. Unfortunately, Thomas owns a lot of red clothes.

Sunday afternoon, we were driving to see a play, when Thomas said to me, "Just so you know, Rocky and I are fighting right now because he doesn't like it when I wear red." The play was one that left us a little sad, and also made us appreciate the loved ones in our lives. In the car on the way back home, Thomas said, "I'm going to put on some blue clothes so Rocky and I can be friends again."

Sunday evening was very peaceful as Thomas and Rocky settled into their routine again.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Headless grey

Well, not exactly, but that's the first thought that went through my head when I saw this picture:Saturday night, we were watching TV with the parrots. Stella was on Calypso's cage, eating his food and preening.

You can see her feathering is improving somewhat, but she's still doing some picking. It may be an entrenched habit, but maybe not.

She's got a down feather on top of her head:
She's finished preening and apparently doesn't realize there's a feather on her head!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Breakfast

Here's an example of what I was talking about earlier this week when I said that they usually come to Thomas when he's eating, whereas they know they have to go on their stands to get anything from me.

Thomas was reading the paper and eating breakfast (plain yogurt with Grapenuts) when Rocky and Max came over to help themselves. He started out by alternating the spoon between the two of them, but by the end, they were sharing the spoon and eating at the same time.I had to make a video of this once I heard them crunching the Grapenuts.

video

Thursday, February 5, 2009

I guess he's out of here!

Tuesday night, four of the parrots (everyone but Calypso and Daphne) were hanging out on the kitchen stands. Thomas had given everyone a little treat, and then ran upstairs for a few minutes.

Rocky quickly finished his food and then had to rush off to find his buddy.

video

*************************
The challenge for the next few weeks on the cooking blog I participate in is healthy soup, chili, or stew. I'm working on a tasty, healthier chili (still haven't gotten there yet), but here was yesterday's attempt:
I've had conversations with Max about how she can actually reach her head into the bowl and grab a bean out without having to put her feet on my bowl or in my food, but she has apparently chosen to ignore this advice.

*************************
Rocky has been running around, dragging his beak on the floor. This is something he does quite frequently, although it's tough to get a video of this behavior as he'll stop doing that to come over and threaten me when he notices the camera (and he notices everything!). Lately, he's been making the sound like the pen from Picture Pages while he does this. It makes us laugh every time! I will try to get a video of this!

*************************
Last night, we put the parrots to bed around 7 pm, like usual. We've found they are in much better moods when they get 12 hours of sleep, especially Rocky and the caiques (the greys don't seem to need as much sleep, but they get it anyway). Then, Thomas and I went to the gym to swim. When we got back, everyone was asleep. It was very strange to eat a post-workout snack and brush our teeth in a silent house with no parrots. Everything got done much more quickly, though!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Feeding time

As I've mentioned, I find the parrots' interactions with each other and with us fascinating. They each have their individual personalities, as do we, and, as you'd expect in a group of diverse personalities, the way they interact with one person is different from another.

One example of this in our house is when Thomas or I are eating something. When I have something to share with the parrots, they know they have to stay on (or go to) their stands and I'll come to them. It's largely the opposite with Thomas. The parrots need to come to him in order to get some.

Last night, Max was on her stand when Thomas was making hummus. She kept saying "want some!" She must have sent off some sort of secret parrot signal after a taste, since Beeps and Stella immediately flew over and started begging for some also. He had to keep rotating the spoon among the three of them.

*************************
Also last night, I was cooking dinner in the kitchen. Thomas had been asked to try to keep the parrots in the living room with him since I was in a hurry and didn't have time to constantly stop what I was doing in order to pick a parrot off the floor [Stella], or shoo one away from the butter dish (it's covered, but see-though, so she thinks she should be able to figure out how to get at it) [Max], or just have to watch out for foot attacks [Rocky].

Thomas decided to have a dance party with them since one of his favorite songs was on the ipod. Beeps was not amused. He tried attacking Thomas three times and finally I was called into the living room to "save" Thomas; Beeps attempted to attack Thomas, who ducked, but then Beeps landed on his back and started posturing, so Thomas was stuck.

I was listening to the banter of the dance party: "I'm going to dance and you can't stop me!" "You are not the mayor of the tiny town from Footloose!" "What do you have against happiness?" and laughing. Of course, he could have put Beeps in his cage before he started dancing, but I think he enjoys this strange part of Beeps's personality, plus Beeps gets some exercise flying around.

Monday, February 2, 2009

At the rescue

I took a few pictures at the rescue last Saturday, although for the most part, I did not have my camera with me. There are a timneh and congo grey up there that remind me so much of Max and Stella, except they are males. I hung out with both of them for quite some time and were calling them my bizarro greys. I did not take pictures of them.

Mostly I took pictures of the birds that Thomas was hanging out with. Like here. Once again with his macaw ladies:
The bird on the left was very neglected. She developed severe problems due to malnutrition, and when she came to us, weighed less than half of what she does now. Our vet did not think she would survive; she has made amazing progress! The bird on the right was thrown out of a moving vehicle in sub-freezing weather. Luckily someone saw this, took her into their car, and she eventually found her way to us. She has healed from the physical aspects of her abuse, but the mental part is ongoing.

She is giving me the stay away pose: look at how she's raised her feathers and slightly opened her beak. She is warning me to stay away from Thomas! As I've written before, he is half-macaw and they all love him!
But it's not only the macaws! These two amazons do not like most people, but they are drawn to my husband. They both came down by him to get head scratches through their cages.
A short video. You can hear them talking, although it's not clear, and the one on the right gives him a big kiss!
video

Once again, I left feeling sad. There are just so many unwanted parrots! I really wanted to take the greys and a couple of conures home; Thomas wanted the macaws and a few others. We both know we are at our limit.

And I was amazed yet again at the natural ability Thomas has with the birds, especially macaws, amazons, and conures. I see it every day with our guys, but strange birds are drawn to him as well.