Yesterday was day 4 with Steve. It's been such a short time, but I've already seen slight improvements in his mental state. When we first got him, he was pretty much like a statue. He didn't make noise (unless he was on our arm, in which case he was making horrible noises) and he barely moved. He's been making soft grey noises, and this morning a rather loud grey noise! He's also been exploring his cage a bit, and I found evidence of a bit of wood chipping at the bottom of his cage!
Since he's so frightened, our number one goal is to show him that we're not scary. We move slowly around him, and I frequently give him a favorite treat when I pass his cage (pistachio, cedar nut, or banana chip). He takes the food so gently from my hand. He will be a perfect clicker training candidate once he's settled in.
However, yesterday, Thomas walked a little too quickly near his cage, which sent him flying out of his cage. He ran over to the shoes in front of our door and sat there. Thomas picked him up. Only one scream! Progress!
So, Thomas sat down with Steve on his hand as he read the paper.As you might imagine, certain jealous parrots were not pleased with this. Max flew over to Thomas's head and started preening him roughly.
This doesn't actually hurt, but she only does it when she wants to show us how displeased she is with us. We find it funny, which only encourages her.
So Thomas had her step up on his other hand. This made turning the pages of the paper difficult, but made her happy:He started giving Max kisses, and Steve made a kiss sound! So Steve got a few beak kisses as well (he's actually leaning his head toward Thomas for a kiss):Rocky also came up, but was quickly distracted, which I will show in my next post.
After a few minutes, Thomas placed Steve back on his cage. We don't want to overwhelm him.
It is quite hard for me to have him here. I know that I need to leave him alone, let him observe things, and work at his pace. But I want to grab him and hug him and make everything better. Even though that will just make everything worse! Patience is not one of my strong points, but it's essential when dealing with these guys, especially the greys. I haven't had to exercise patience of this sort with my own birds in so long, since Stella came to us.
Despite what I just said, I am very happy that we finally brought him home! I feel like we have a real chance of getting him healed up, physically and mentally, so that he can find a good home.
Thomas said to me on Monday, "You know, you're not going to fix him. Max and Stella will do all of your work for you." I completely agree. As I've said before, I believe a big reason why Stella improved so much is due to having Max around. She observed how we interact with Max, and how Max interacts with us, and mirrored that. I'm hoping the magic will work again.