Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Steve update, and a show off

Steve continues to make slow progress. He's still spending the vast majority of his time on the highest perch in his cage:We placed toys around him. This serves two purposes. First, it provides him a way for him to feel hidden. A prey animal, it can be very disturbing to feel like you're on display all of the time. He feels safer when he is partially hidden. Second, since he's spending most of his time on that perch, it allows him to play with toys without moving.

We're still finding small wood chips in his cage lining, and he's been doing some chipping with us in the room! He also took all of the beads off of a new toy we'd placed next to him the day before:He's got another new toy in his cage today, and I can't wait to get home -- I hope it's destroyed!

He has a boing on the other side of his cage, and I got a picture of him exploring it:Hopefully soon he will spend time in different parts of his cage.

He still takes food very gently from my hand; here he's eating some peas:
Also, we got tail wags from him on three separate occasions -- something that greys do only when they're content! So he's settling down and feeling safer with us.

Beloved Parrot asked in the comments about his history. With rescue birds, you never know for sure. The story I got is that he was originally purchased because his owner wanted a talking bird; someone to entertain her. He was a decoration, not a companion. According to the intake sheet his former owner filled out, he has quite a large vocabulary, though no one has heard him speak in almost 2 years.

Somehow, he got loose and spent 5 days outside before being found (Thomas jokes that he and Max have something to talk about!). His owner took him to the vet upon being found; everything checked out fine. Then, she put him in his cage, and he refused to come out for the next year. She never took him to the vet again or did anything to figure out why he didn't come out of his cage.

Finally, she called the rescue where I volunteer and asked that someone come and get him. He wasn't talking anymore and she was tired of him. When the director took him out, she noticed blood under his wings. He'd mutilated under both wings, to the point where there was no skin left, just open wounds, and his owner never noticed!

He's been at the rescue since late last fall. He's been thoroughly vet checked and deemed healthy. He's had laser treatments done under his wings, in hopes it would help with skin regrowth (it didn't). He's had homeopathic remedies tried, in vain.

Our best guess is the mutilation started due to the trauma of being outside and not having a proper enriching and loving environment. Thomas and I are trying to get him to have a mental break-through, learn how to be a bird, be part of a loving family, know he's safe, etc., and we're hoping that once he's safe and secure, he can stop mutilating and let his skin regrow. However, mutilation is very complex and once it's been established, can be very hard to break. We don't know when he started mutilating in his previous home, but the mutilation could have been going on for almost 2 years now.

We'll just wait and see what happens! He has such a gentle personality, similar to Stella, which gives me great hope.

Max continues to be very interested in him. She frequently goes to a place on the stand closest to his cage, and sits there, saying "Hello!" and "How are you?" He doesn't respond, though looks at her with interest. This is the stand next to the stand she's usually on. She's definitely spending more time there because of Steve.

She also likes to put on shows right in front of him, swinging around and playing with toys:
Hopefully he's taking notes and will surprise us with some moves of his own someday!


Tony Wildish said...

I have to say, when I first read you were fostering another grey, I thought you had to be totally nuts. But then, I've read enough about your menagerie over the years to know that you are!

Steve couldn't have a better chance than with you, I'm sure of it. Good luck to him and to both of you, and to your whole flock.

Mary said...


Thanks for the nice comment. I think about you guys frequently and hope that all is well!

I know we're nuts, but I just couldn't let him get drugged up if he had a shot of making it through without drugs.

I'm also telling myself every day it's just a foster -- that way we can help more. Hopefully it will stick this time and we'll find him a great home!

Best to you guys!

belovedparrot said...

Thanks for the update. Steve has such a sweet face. Yeah, I suspect you're going to be his salvation. I'm so glad he's with you two and Max and Stella and Rocky and . . . .

Shannon said...

Thank you for rescuing Steve. I am so relieved he's with you for however long it takes. He couldn't be in better hands. The bird gods will shower you with blessings! :)

Mary said...

Thanks, belovedparrot and Shannon. It's nice to hear encouraging words!

I'll definitely keep updating about him. I didn't write enough about Stella and her progress when we first got her. I've been going back, reading, trying to see what her timeline was, and I'm frustrated that I didn't write more.

So prepare for Steve overload :)