Thursday, July 30, 2009

Quotes from last night

My husband is one of the funniest people I know. This results in frequent laughter in our house, which makes the parrots laugh, which makes us laugh even more. Sometimes we say that Thomas is "on" -- when he's so funny that pretty much everything he says makes me laugh. Luckily for me, one of those nights was last night. After a few, I started writing them down to share here, at least the parrot-related ones.

Story 1:

Thomas reached between the parrot stands in the kitchen to open the window. Apparently this upset Beeps, who decided to jump on Thomas's shirt and angrily make his way towards Thomas's head to inflict a bite. I warned him that Beeps was going to bite (Thomas couldn't see his body language since Beeps was on the back of his shirt so didn't know if it was a friendly hop-on or an unfriendly one). With the warning, he was able to safely remove Beeps and avoided a bite.

After returning to the kitchen, Thomas grabbed a broom to sweep. This is a trigger for a Beeps attack, and when Beeps has already shown he's ready to attack, as he had earlier, the probability of an attack nears 100%. I never sweep unless Beeps is safely in his cage. Thomas likes living on the edge a bit more.

Also, if you're looking directly at Beeps, he's much less likely to attack -- he waits until your attention is somewhere else. Whew! Long lead-up for the funny comment.

Thomas: "Cowards attack from behind, Beeps. Cowards."

By managing to sweep while looking at Beeps the entire time, Thomas managed to avoid a bite. As he put the broom away, Thomas said, "Looks like I shamed him into not attacking!"

Story 2:

Stella flew to the floor and approached Thomas's feet. She gently preened him and bowed her head for his feet to give her head pets (like towards the end of this entry). Not getting the results she wanted, she started preening him some more, but not so gently this time. She needed to get her point across! When you don't listen to parrots as they nicely try to get you to do something, they must resort to other tactics!

Thomas: "Don't eat my feet. I know they're enticing...and you wouldn't be the first to say that!"

Since he was busy making pesto, I picked her up and tossed her over to a stand.

Story 3:

Thomas was holding Stella when she decided to regurgitate for him. (She regurgitated to me this morning -- an equal opportunity disguster).

Thomas: "Thanks, but I don't really like regurgitated food."

Maybe you had to be there for that one, but both Max and I found it funny!

Story 4:

Rocky was screaming (shocking, I know). When he quieted down and made vomit sounds, Thomas went into the living room to give him some attention. After giving him some physical attention, he'll usually give him a nut to keep him busy for a few moments. Also, let me note that we'd brought Rocky into the kitchen to be with us at least 4 times earlier in the evening. On his own accord, Rocky would walk back into the living room, and then scream because he was alone.

Thomas was snickering as he returned to the kitchen. I asked why.

Thomas: "I gave him an empty peanut shell. He's going to be mad. He is going to be mad. Eat it, Rock!"

To my relief, he did not seem to mind the empty peanut shell, or at least it didn't make him scream.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Last night (lots of videos)

As I previously said, I read a book for an hour or so last night while we waited for Thomas to get home. The greys and caiques were in the kitchen with me. Daphne was in her cage, and Rocky was in the living room.

After emptying the tray of paper, Beeps started pacing around. How does he have so much energy? Also, please note that the stand had been completely washed this weekend, so the messiness is from only 2 days. I do not understand how these tiny beings can create so much mess! Normally the paper in the bottom of the tray makes for super easy clean-up. However, Beeps's insistence on removing said paper from the tray means I'm constantly washing the tray (though obviously not often enough to keep it pristine).

I took a bunch of videos because it was so funny, but am only posting 3 here. They do tend to get repetitive.

Anyway, Max started following Beeps around, itching for a fight. As you can see, Beeps is completely disinterested. This does not stop Max! This went on, seriously, for over an hour. I don't know that the drumbeat sound of little caique nails clicking on the tray will ever completely leave my head.

I love how he stops to eat a dried blueberry, then remembers he doesn't like dried blueberries, and throws it on the ground.

video

In this video, Stella flies over to me as I'm filming the others: video

In this one, Stella goes down to see what all the excitement is about. From Max's body language, you can see she's wary of Stella and not as intent as following Beeps around because she is on the lookout for a Stella attack.
video

Calypso, on the other stand, also came down to see what the fuss was all about:
After a few minutes, he realized he didn't want to get involved and went back up to the top of his stand.

Stella

Last night, I was trying to take a picture of Stella so I could compare her feather destruction to how it was when we first got her. Since I see her every day, it's hard to detect subtle changes. I wouldn't have posted this picture, except, I thought it was pretty cute when Beeps decided he had to come over to check things out...
Thomas was unsure what time he would be home from work last night, so I did most of the preparation of dinner (salads) when I got home. Then I tried to relax by reading a book at the table while the parrots played on the stands.

I realized things had gotten quite quiet, and discovered why: Stella was eating nuts off of the salad:
I picked her up to move her to a more appropriate place, but first she grabbed a giant walnut to eat:
Later on, she was back, but eating from the other salad this time:
I was hoping she'd grab another nut when I picked her up, so I filmed it. She did grab a small walnut (though I called it an almond in the video). I wouldn't have posted the video, except I loved it when she started investigating the camera:
video

The greys like to perch on top of the fridge, though this is not allowed and we move them as soon as we realize where they are. The top few inches of our fridge are free of any magnets, as anything within Max's reach was removed by her beak.

I realized yesterday that Stella, being bigger, has a longer reach than Max:Beak marks in a postcard sent to use by a friend!

Monday, July 27, 2009

My cleaning buddy

When I wash the floors, which I do more than I'd like to because the mess the parrots make, most of the parrots have to be in their cages.

As previously mentioned, Beeps hates cleaning and would attack. When I clean the living room floor, he spends the entire time threatening me and sometimes throwing himself against the side of the cage in an attempt to attack. As soon as the bucket is removed from the room, he is angelic once again.

The greys are too interested in what I'm doing. They'll try to drink the cleaning water, walk through the clean floor while it's still wet (and since they eat with their feet, I don't want them walking through it). If I ignore them, Max may fly at my head, or they'll create havoc so I have to give them my attention. For example, fly to the fridge and eat my magnets.

If you've read any previous entries, you've probably surmised that Rocky would try to attack me. I can't fend off his attacks if I'm focused on cleaning, so he's got to be caged until I can focus on him again.

Calypso usually is fine, but he'll often get curious and try to go in the bucket, so it's easier to leave him in the living room as well.

That leaves Daphne, my budgie, to provide me with avian companionship.
She's so undemanding that she sometimes gets lost in the craziness that is the rest of my flock. I make an effort to make sure she gets adequate attention because she's not one to demand it if she doesn't get it. This is unlike our previous budgie, Ethel, who made sure she wasn't overlooked!

Daphne loves hanging out on the big birds' stands, but we can't allow her to do so while the larger parrots are out. It would only take a second for one of the larger birds to remove a toe or beak. But yesterday, when the rest of the birds were in the living room, she hung out with me as I cleaned the kitchen floor.

Budgies can be such amazing companions! Unfortunately, due to the size difference, Thomas and I have discussed possibly not getting another budgie after Daphne passes, which will hopefully be many years down the road yet. I don't know that I could live without one, though. People who focus on bigger birds don't know what they're missing! I can't tell you how many prospective adopters I've met who have told me that budgies and cockatiels have no personality. That couldn't be further from the truth!

Greys

I had to post this picture because of the way they both have cocked their heads.I was at the rescue this weekend. The birds that I talked about here, the ones whose condition made me cry, are doing amazingly well. They want nothing to do with humans (no surprise), but have become very playful. They're healing, filling out, and growing feathers back. When they first came in, none of them was strong enough to perch -- they were forced to be on the bottom of their cage. Now, all of them are perching, and jumping around. There are very few open wounds remaining. If you saw them now, you would have thought I'd exaggerated their condition. It's wonderful how resilient they are! Now, we need to find them homes that will allow them to blossom.

A grey was surrendered last week that reminds me very much of Stella when I first met her. No mutilating, but she has the same terrified look in her eye, and is very plucked. It was so hard not to take her home! They're trying to find a foster home for her, which is what I think she needs to regain her confidence and sense of self.

I truly believe one of the reasons Stella recovered so quickly is because of the presence of Max. Even though they don't physically interact, except while chasing each other around or the occasional attempt at beak wrestling, Stella has picked up almost all of Max's vocalizations, and many of her physical mannerisms. Stella benefited from having a well-adjusted grey to look to while learning how to exist in our house. If only I had the resources (time, space) to do the same for this one.

Max vs. Beeps, surprise

Earlier this month, I noted the fact that Max and Beeps don't like each other and that they use the stand to attack each other.

Yesterday, Beeps saw newly placed paper, so of course he had to go play in it and try to empty the paper from the tray to the floor (he was ultimately successful with this goal). Since he was below the grate, Max went over to try to instigate a fight with him. Beeps wanted nothing to do with her!

It was pretty funny. Max was getting frustrated because she was antagonizing Beeps, and he was happy playing, completely ignoring her threats. She would follow him around on top of the grate, trying to get him to fight her.

video

Beeps did finally give in and fight her, but only after he'd emptied the tray and Max had been bothering him for over 20 minutes.

Beeps revises his list of triggers

Throughout this blog, I've made comments about certain things that set Beeps off on a vicious attack, and even made a list that was pretty comprehensive, at the time, which I've reproduced, with comments, below:
  • Humans eating
  • Changing the food and/or water dishes in any of the birds' cages
  • Paying attention to the lizards [this is OK now]
  • Reading books on the couch [he's fine with books but now magazines or catalogs set him off]
  • Feeding the fish
  • Sitting on the floor
  • Watering the plants
  • Saying the word "Babycake" [usually OK with this now; depends on inflection]
  • Being in possession of any kind of technology [he's OK with everything except nail clippers, which aren't even that technologically advanced!]
  • Brooms
  • Touching newspaper

Sadly, a few things have needed to be added to the list:
  • Holding a container similar to the one in which the lizards' food is kept
  • Any kind of cleaning
  • Taking a nap on the couch -- he's OK with lying down on the couch -- as soon as eyes are closed, he attacks
  • Asking him to step up while holding a towel
Thomas and I, respectively, found out about these last two the hard way in the past week.

Thomas had returned home after working 30 hours straight. He should have gone to the bedroom to sleep, but felt bad that he hadn't spent much time with the parrots lately, so decided to go on the couch in the living room instead. He kept the greys locked up since they get into too much trouble, and Daphne because he didn't want her to be in harm's way from any of the larger birds. Rocky and the caiques were free.

Calypso didn't bother anyone, of course, and Rocky behaved surprisingly well. He was just happy to be in Thomas's presence. Beeps was fine, flying back and forth between his cage and the couch, playing with his toys, eating, etc. Then Thomas fell asleep, and was awoken by a sharp pain in his neck caused when Beeps pierced his skin! Later tests performed when Thomas pretended to fall asleep resulted in attacks that he was able to stop in time. So now Thomas has to be very careful about not falling asleep on the couch unless Beeps is locked up!

Saturday morning, I showered with Max and Calypso. After, still holding my bath towel, I went around and let Stella, Rocky, and Beeps out. Beeps stepped up on my hand just fine, showing no indication of agitation. However, he bent down and bit me on the base of the finger on which he was perched! Once again, subsequent tests proved that holding a towel in his presence will result in an attempted (or successful) bite.

This just baffles me. Beeps hasn't been toweled in years, and was just fine with towels a few weeks ago.

It's just further evidence that there does not need to be a reason for something to trigger an attack, and also a reminder for us to stay on our toes around him!

More Rocky

I promise I will write about some of my other parrots in posts later today -- this blog seems to be all Rocky all the time lately.

Friday morning, I was getting ready for work, and Rocky had screamed only 6 times. I was so excited and mentally composing the blog entry where I announced that perhaps we had turned the corner...when he subsequently screamed over 84 times in less than 10 minutes. (I lost count at 84 -- there were many more after that). So much for that.
However, I think we really might have turned a corner with him. He only screamed twice this morning! Even better, I went home for lunch and he didn't scream at all! I still have trouble believing that. I knew this couldn't last forever! I'll keep updating throughout the upcoming weeks.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

More Rocky frustrations

Rocky was in full scream mode this morning, so I thought I'd take a video of it. As I've mentioned before, he stops when he sees a camera, so the video isn't entirely thrilling, and the noise level is a bit misleading since I'm around the corner and about 15 feet away from him.

He's been screaming almost non-stop when Thomas isn't home and I am. When Thomas is home, he mostly tries to nest on the couch (see below pictures) but is generally quiet. Luckily, he does not scream after bed time. This means I have a little over an hour of screaming to listen to in the morning before work and usually about 30 minutes after work until Thomas gets home. On the days Thomas has to spend the night at the hospital, that 30 minutes turns into about 3 hours.

Rocky has no reason to scream. This video was taken right after he'd been served breakfast. His cage door is open, so he can go anywhere he wants. The only thing he doesn't have is Thomas in the house.

video

His hormones are driving me crazy! This needs to end soon. This morning I did a really hard treadmill workout in order to get out my frustration in a positive manner. I was still on a runner's high of sorts, so the screaming wasn't that irritating this morning.

Last night when I came home from work, Thomas was in the kitchen with Beeps and the greys, and everyone else was in the living room. Yet another thing that frustrates me about Rocky's constant screaming when Thomas is gone is that he doesn't even want to be with Thomas when he's home. Rocky is perfectly happy playing in the living room while Thomas is in the kitchen. What difference does it make if Thomas is in the kitchen or at the hospital? Either way, Rocky's not getting any attention from him. So frustrating!

A few pictures from last night; of course he had to extend his wings to try to scare me away:
Looking up to make sure I'm paying attention to his performance:
I couldn't help but post so many pictures of him because they all show off his feathers differently. He is so gorgeous, and I love looking at his nuanced color.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Challenge

Monday night, I had a meeting in the evening, which resulted in me not getting home until about 6:30. Of course, this was a day when Thomas got off of work early, so he got home around 3:30 and had 3 hours alone with the parrots.

When I got home, he said that he and the parrots had a wonderful evening and that he'd set the bar high since they'd be expecting a similar performance from me Tuesday evening when I'd be alone with them as he was working.

All I got out of him was that he'd put the Beastie Boys on the ipod (the parrots and Thomas LOVE the Beastie Boys) and that they "rocked out."

The challenge was set. Could I compare?

*************************
The answer was no. And all because of Rocky. Nothing made him happy. More nonstop screaming. Several times, I was giving him direct attention, for example playing fetch with his balls or singing and dancing. Right in the middle, he'd let out a few screams.

We survived the evening, but the parrots went to bed 30 minutes early and I did some yoga to help refocus.

Luckily Thomas is home right now and I expect that tonight will be much smoother.

Anyone interested in a cranky, loud, 22 year old severe macaw?

Of course I am not serious with this offer as I could not live with the guilt of subjecting anyone else to him!

Popcorn

We had popcorn for dessert last night, and some of it escaped while Thomas was putting it into the bowls, landing on the counter. Max took full advantage of this:She made us laugh last night as she really had to stretch herself out to reach the popcorn since the table on which she's perching is much lower than the counter where the popcorn was. She could have easily climbed or flew up to the counter. We joked that she thought she was being sneaky this way.

After she got the popcorn, she ate it while wandering all over the table. We had a huge mess to clean up on the table and the floor. I question how much made it into her stomach, as the majority was swept up!
You can see crumbs beginning to form at her feet... After this picture was taken, she crunched her way around the table.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Distractions

Last week we booked our plane tickets for our fall vacation, so we purchased some guidebooks this weekend and started planning. We're heading to Turkey. Thomas wanted to sit down and read, uninterrupted; not surprisingly, the parrots had other ideas in mind.

First, Max started staring at him:
Then she was joined by Stella:
As an aside, I realized yesterday that Stella reminds me of the ghosts from Super Mario Brothers 2 video game that I played when I was younger. When you were walking away from the ghosts, they followed you; they stopped when you turned around to look at them. Stella is exactly the same way with Max. She slowly creeps up on Max, but immediately stops and assumes and innocent position/look when Max turns around to look at her!He got up and sat in another chair, one closer to their stands. He was hoping that they'd play on their stands, happy to be closer to him, and leave him alone. Obviously, that did not work, as Beeps immediately came over and then Max:
Thomas then went on the floor, and Beeps got close to him:Though apparently not close enough, as he quickly made even more progress:
Beeps kept trying to eat Thomas's pants, so Thomas placed him on the floor, where Beeps proceeded to walk around and occasionally jump up on Thomas.

In this video, you can hear his almost-constant beeping. He also came over to me at the end, intrigued by the camera.
video

In this video, I was hoping to catch Beeps jumping up on Thomas, but as you can see, that didn't happen:

video

A few more scenes:
Stella didn't want to be let out of the action! She has the habit of going up to whatever body part of ours is handy and asking for head pets. Here, it's Thomas's foot, but she'll also do this to our hands (which makes sense) as well as our elbows, shoulders, knees, etc. Whatever's handy!
And a little video of this. After I took the video, Thomas obliged by petting her with his hand:

video

Needless to say, with all of the distractions and interruptions, not much planning took place that afternoon! In case you're wondering, Rocky was playing happily in the living room during this time, as were Calypso and Daphne.

Threats

Last week, Thomas left the living room, and Rocky took the opportunity to climb up on the couch and threaten me.

Two days later, I did not have a blanket on the couch, and he ran up and actually bit me on my side! Luckily he did not have much to grab onto, so he only left a small mark that only hurt for about 10 minutes.

After the performance caught on tape, I was thinking perhaps he was all bluster and no bite, but his subsequent actions proved that I was too optimistic!

video

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Sideshow

Last night, Thomas was using a neti pot to clean out his sinuses. Of course, the greys had to come over by him. I was in another room when I heard him exclaim, "I am not a sideshow! Get a hobby!" He often tells the parrots to get a hobby. I remind them that we pretty much are their hobby!As much as he pretends to find their attention annoying, I know he loves it. How wonderful is it that these two amazing, wild creatures are so interested in your every move? That coming to find you is usually near the top of their list of things to do?

Not sharing

Thomas made a soup/puree with a bunch of vegetables we picked up at the farmers' market yesterday. (I know! It's summer! Why are we eating soup? Because it's so delicious, especially with fresh ingredients. Plus, it hasn't been too hot lately.)

Even though there were two bowls, the greys started fighting each other because each one wanted to eat from the exact same spot. They're not the best at sharing.Finally, Thomas grabbed Max's spoon and moved her to the other side. This solved the problem! Max loves her spoon and is more likely to try something new when presented in this manner. Of course, she was already excited about the soup, so the spoon was not a factor this time!

Creepy eye pictures

We got some cucumbers at the farmers' market yesterday, and Max loved them! I couldn't remember whether she liked them or not, so it was a nice surprise.

However, both pictures I took of her turned showed a creepy eye. This is so strange as her eye is normal; I must have caught her mid-blink!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Maybe their foraging skills aren't so stellar...

Perhaps I've given my greys too much credit for skills in the foraging arena. They're really good at asking for food any time I get near the fridge. They're also really good at sneaking bites out of our dishes. Apparently they're not so sharp at recognizing food with unusual presentation.

Last night, I missed my mark while transferring some beans into the dish. Max was saying "want some!" as both greys were following me around, trying to eat beans out of the dish. Both ignored the beans that had fallen on the counter, even after I pointed it out to them.

Finally, I brought Max over and pointed them out again, and a light went on:
After she saw what Max was doing, Stella flew over for her part:
These ladies are so alike in so many ways!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Denied

Last night, I had placed my bowl and spoon on the counter, in preparation for dessert. However, I then got sidetracked.

Stella noticed the bowl first and flew over to the counter, probably expecting to steal a tasty treat. No such luck! She banged the spoon against the bowl in protest, and flew off somewhere else.

Less than a minute later, Max came over and exactly replicated what Stella had just done!

I wasn't quick enough to get a picture of Stella's disappointment, but here's Max's:Not to worry, both greys did get a bit of dessert when I'd finally gotten around to preparing it!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Surverying his destruction

Ripping up the newspaper is not enough; Beeps is not satisfied until he's thrown all of the playstand lining onto the floor. He looked up towards me for this picture, but right before, he was staring contentedly down at his work.

Peaceful cohabitation

Though I doubt this serene scene lasted much longer than the few seconds required to take this picture, for a moment in time, there was peaceful playstand cohabitation by half of the parrots in our house.

Stella scenes

I haven't been writing about her too much, but Stella has been doing well. Thomas took this picture of the greys while I was out of the house:
Thomas was thirsty, so he poured himself a glass of water. Stella decided to fly over to him and beg for some water, even though she had some in her cage. From the way she drank, you would have thought we deprived her of water!
Maybe she wishes she were a runner? As I've written about before, even though we do our best to keep her away from the shoes, as it triggers digging/nesting behavior in her, we are not always successful. She rarely perches on the shoes, preferring to dig in the carpet.
Stella turned out to be a wonderful addition to our family. It's still hard for me to believe the curious, intelligent parrot that was lurking underneath the terrified and mutilating exterior we met last year. She really gives me hope for the parrots I see at the rescue and how they might find happiness in the right home.

Brewing

A couple of months ago, Thomas decided to quit talking about brewing his own beer and just start brewing. I'm so glad he did as it's been quite fun. He does most of the work.

We've made a weizenbier that we're drinking now, a cider (that's for me!) and a nut brown that are bottled and will be ready to drink in a few weeks, and an amber that's currently in the fermenter.

When we're doing work related to the brewing, our parrot routine is a bit altered. Normally, everyone is out of their cages when we're home, but Beeps is too unpredictable (would a part of the brewing process trigger something in him leading to an attack?) and Stella flies around, which is too distracting, so they stay in their cages. Daphne was in her cage since she's so much smaller than the other parrots and can only be out when I can supervise for her safety. Calypso was on his cage in the living room, and Rocky had chosen to stay in the living room and play by himself.

Which left Max as our only avian companion. It really made me think about how much different our lives would be if she were our only bird. It would be closer to fitting a bird into our pretty much normal lives rather than fitting our lives around the birds!

She had to investigate everything; here she's looking at the drying bottles:
Thomas was in front of her playstand, so she went as close to him as she could and acted very adorable, including begging for pets and attention, like here:He did stop a few times and give in to her demands, but mostly he had to bottle the cider. She had to wait until our hands were free!

Rocky vs. Max

After their shower, Thomas placed Rocky on a playstand. What happened next was very strange, as Rocky and Max rarely interact. Max flew over and then they started fighting. Of course, as soon as I came over with the camera, they both acted innocent.

Perhaps Max was upset that she wasn't invited to shower with Thomas? (I thought he and Rocky needed some alone-time, though then I showed up and started taping).

You can see in this video that she had her foot up, ready to step up. After I separated them, they were fine and neither one bothered the other for the rest of the day.

video

Nightmare

I was not supposed to volunteer at the rescue this weekend, but when we got home on Saturday, we had a message on our machine asking us to come up and take pictures of some birds that had been surrendered.

I can't get into too many details and don't even want to say what kind of birds or how many, but it was quite possibly the most horrific evidence of animal neglect/abuse I have ever seen. And I have seen quite a lot come through here. I had a hard time falling asleep Saturday night, and cannot get the images out of my mind.

I started crying immediately upon seeing these poor, vulnerable creatures, leaving Thomas to take the pictures. I grabbed out my favorite parrot that's currently at the rescue. He tried his hardest to comfort me, as he kept making his loud kiss sound. One of the residents started asking, "What's the matter?" as he does whenever anyone is upset around him. I reassured him that he was safe and things are OK. They are so empathetic.

I really hope that these guys can be saved with proper care and love. While it's quite possible I'm projecting, the pain I saw in their eyes was almost unbearable. I will never understand how people can treat these magnificent creatures so poorly.

As you might expect, this experience put into perspective the problems we've been having with Rocky. When we got home, I gave all willing parrots extra attention (I made Thomas give Rocky extra attention!) and treats. I also realized that I need to be more patient with Rocky. I don't know if he sensed the difference in my attitude, but he was very pleasant all day Sunday, with only normal amounts of screaming.

More Rocky

Though this picture is somewhat hard to see due to the fact that it was dark, there was something about it that I really liked. Perhaps it's the way his red shoulder feathers are so prominent.He was very happy to be taking a shower with Thomas, and got quite animated. Here he is, making noise and moaning. He is rarely quiet. At the end, the two of us play a coughing game for a few seconds. He will only do this with me -- if Thomas responds with a cough, Rocky will not cough again.

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This is his favorite kind of singing. He does it almost every time he goes on the shower, and often when he hears a particular song or music that he likes:

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This is my favorite kind of singing that he does. I can almost never understand the words he's singing, but he sounds earnest!

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Thomas was home a lot this weekend, which was good for Rocky. We seem to be making progress with his hormones. All it takes is time! His screaming has been markedly less frequent than the prior week.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Max vs. Beeps, redux

Max and Beeps had us in stitches last night with their antics. They kept following each other around. It's almost like a delicately choreographed dance. Beeps doing flips, Max jumping up on the ladder at the last second...

Also, in these videos, you will notice no macaw screams! But if you listen closely, you can hear Beeps's almost constant beeping (which I enjoy).
video

After this went on for a while, somehow they chased each other onto the floor, where their interactions continued:
Beeps flew back onto the stand, and they continued following each other back and forth. I didn't capture the best parts of this, as Max got more interested in walking off and investigating Thomas using the food processor (making pesto). But I'm posting it anyway since it's only 20 seconds or so, and I think Beeps is incredibly cute with his pacing and beeping.
video

Beeps had successfully removed all of the paper in the tray. He's watching Max rip up the paper on the floor:Then, they headed over to the other stand. Beeps eventually threw all of this paper on the floor as well:
I had to post this picture because of the way he's cocked his head:
They spent most of the evening within 18 inches or so of each other. While it mostly seemed like play, we still closely supervised, especially given their history.

Their interactions just fascinate me. As I've thought so many times, I wish I knew what they were thinking!

Rocky update

Rocky was better last night. Only a few screaming bursts. Of course, he had Thomas to himself most of the day. I told Thomas to smother him with attention, so he did.

Here he is, giving him head scratches and getting his pin feathers:
Rocky loves this!

I'm a bit apprehensive about the next time I'm alone with them. He screamed a bit this morning after Thomas left for work. I put him on his perch in the basement (he likes it down there) as I had the windows open and didn't want his screams penetrating the neighborhood at 7:15 in the morning.

He had a blast down there by himself. I could hear him singing and playing. Occasionally he'd call out my name and when I asked him what he wanted, he just laughed. I did still feel guilty about separating him from his flock even though he was enjoying himself.

Richard, thanks for the ideas on the noise-reducing ear muffs. I'm really hoping they do not become necessary, but I'll keep them in mind! I'm going to try your suggestion of smothering him with my attention. It's tricky with him as he appears to want my attention when I'm the only human there, but when he realizes it's me, he sometimes starts to attack.

I did tell him this morning if he screamed tonight, I was going to towel him and give him head pets while holding him against my chest. I used to do this to him when I had to medicate him (about three years ago) to calm him down after the medication procedure.

I'm still hanging in there! I think it helps that I still believe this to be temporary and that he'll settle back down in a few weeks. I can handle normal amounts of screaming. It's when it becomes an almost-constant thing that I worry about my sanity.

Less than a year to go of Thomas's residency and then he'll be around a lot more. The parrots and I are looking forward to that!