Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Not sure what was going on, but the parrots (especially Max) were having a hard time keeping their eyes open yesterday:This happened so infrequently with the old camera that when it did, I made a post about it. With the new camera, it happens quite regularly.

Double nosy

When I think of nosy parrots, I think of Max, who always needs to know what's going on with everyone else. Yesterday, she was the target of Brian's nosiness!

Since the greys have shown absolutely no interest in Brian, we are attempting to have all three parrots out during breakfast. This is done with extreme supervision with regards to Brian, as one of the greys could easily take off his beak if they wanted to.

Thomas was petting Max's head (he had full control of her head) when someone came very close to see what was happening:Max did not feel comfortable with this, so right after taking these pictures, I removed Brian from the table.

Tuesday evening

Thomas had to work late again last night, so I was hanging out with the parrots in the kitchen. Because Calypso was with me, I didn't put his dinner on his cage; otherwise, the other parrots eat all of his food (or, more likely, throw it out of the dish onto the floor) before he gets there.The greys still managed to find his dish that had been covered with a cloth (they removed the cloth.)
Later, Max started helping herself to our dinner:And once all food was removed from her area, she started begging to be picked up instead:When I went to pick her up, she quickly changed to wanting head pets. She's tricky that way!

On a different topic, I do not mean to steal Shannon's blog excitement at all, but Steve has been making such progress with her that I felt compelled to post a link to his most recent achievement. It is hard to overstate what a great job Shannon is doing with him, and more proof of what patience can do. This has made my week!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


As I was preparing the lizards' food yesterday morning, Max watched me, repeating "want some!" I reminded her that this was lizard food and she doesn't like it, but she flew over when I was washing my hands. During those few seconds, she managed to rip a hole in the bag, and continued telling me she wanted some.I put a few leaves on the counter, and to my shock, she ate a few bites!
This intrigued Stella who flew over, displacing Max. Don't worry about Max -- she had the foresight to bring a leaf with her.

Stella, on the other hand, appeared to just play with the food.

Berry surprise

Or maybe not much of a surprise when these two are involved. Thomas had measured out the pineapple and blueberries for our post-run smoothie. Stella loves blueberries, so she immediately flew over and started helping herself.

Though she's been doing this for months, something piqued Max's interest this time, and she flew over as well. I cropped this picture a little long to the right as Rocky was trying to see what was going on -- he looks so tiny from this angle!
Max must have been worried that Stella would try to steal her berry, so she flew away.
And ate it in peace on the stand:
Stella continued to eat out of the bowl.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Crash landing

When Brian was surrendered to the rescue, his wings were clipped. Unfortunately, the facility does not have a way to keep flighted birds safe, so that's standard policy. He's molting right now, which means he has some flight feathers growing in.

He's still learning to fly (obviously) and doesn't always do so gracefully, which is to be expected. We hope to allow him to fly, assuming that it can be done so safely with the much larger parrots in our house.

Last night, he decided to take off. I'm not sure where his intended destination was, but I doubt it was a kitchen drawer:


For the past few weeks, Thomas and Stella have been working on a new trick. He asks me, "Do you have a problem? We can put our heads together and solve it!" and then they do exactly that. Well, the first part at least.As you can see, he has not learned his lesson from last week's ear bite. ("But that was Max!" Stella would NEVER bite me!") Stay tuned for a Stella ear bite at some point in the future!

In which Max irritates Rocky

Max has been in a mood lately. Once again, I wish I could know what was going through their heads. For the past few days, she's been frequently bothering Rocky -- wanting to be near him. I'm pretty sure it's not a friendship overture, at least he doesn't see it as such!

Over the weekend, Rocky was hanging out under the kitchen table. Max followed him under there. He didn't want her to be there, but she was ignoring his "BACK OFF!!!" posture:She was prancing around a bit; the way she does when she's up to something. Then, she started ignoring his protests in a more deliberate manner:
Even though someone was enjoying the show:
we removed her and occupied her with something else.

Friday, March 25, 2011

On call

Thomas was on call last night. Usually he doesn't get many (or any) calls while on call (his specialty is one that doesn't have emergencies -- a big part of the reason he chose this specialty) but last night was an exception.

Soon after we started dinner, with all of the parrots out, he got called. He went upstairs so he could talk in relative peace and I tried hard to keep the parrots quiet so they wouldn't disturb him.

This mostly meant paying attention to the two loud ones (Rocky and Basil) and somehow Max slipped under my radar. I didn't even realize she was missing, but apparently she climbed up the stairs and started knocking her beak on the office door until Thomas let her in. Then, she sat on his desk and made chatting sounds (quietly) as he spoke. When I finally realized she was missing and went upstairs, I found her eating post-its.

Meanwhile, Rocky was upset that Thomas wasn't there, so he'd frequently scream, and Basil was loudly talking -- for about 30 minutes straight. Normally I love this, but I was wondering what Thomas's patients were thinking about the strange background noise. If you don't have experience with parrots, it must be very confusing!

"Hello! Hello Basil! I got your foot, Bas! Peek-a-boo! Come on! Hello there!" over and over and over again. Very loudly. Interspersed with macaw screams.

Finally, it got to be the parrots' bedtime, so I put everyone except Max away and did my nightly sweeping. When Thomas came back, an hour later, we finished dinner in the kitchen with Max the only parrot present. We think it was her dream come true as we suspect she wishes she were still an only parrot with 100% of our attention.

Luckily no call this weekend so our time is our own!

Nutty Stella

The greys were begging me for treats this morning; all I was willing to offer up was a bit of apple and then pellets. They were not happy about this, but I want to make sure they get proper nutrition -- if I left it to them, I suspect they'd eat nothing but cashews!

Speaking of which, Stella apparently noticed a cashew that had been dropped in the tray of one of the kitchen stands. She went down to get it and then proceeded to eat it while hanging upside down from the grate.
She's not typically as athletic and playful as my other parrots, so it was a joy to see her like this.

More Brian pictures

I slept in this morning as it's my off day from running. Thomas still ran, so he and Brian had breakfast together. When I got up, he told me he'd taken some pictures.

Once again, I must add that parrots should not eat much (if any) dairy. We have made the decision to allow Brian to eat a small amount of cottage cheese as he loves it (he helps himself) and, with his tumor, we want to make the time he does have with us as happy as possible.A little bit stuck on his beak:
Which Thomas quickly removed after taking this picture -- he didn't eat an entire curd!

I'm making a lasagne...

...for one.

Anyway, not sure how I lived without a slow cooker for so long, but I got one for Christmas and have since been using it several times a week.

Last night, Thomas had put our slow cooker veggie lasagne on the counter so he could dish it out. He left it unattended to grab a serving spoon and returned to find this:

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


With Thomas working late yesterday, Rocky was stuck with me. He mostly played in the hallway, rearranging Thomas's shoes:He did feel the need to (halfheartedly) threaten me when I was taking the above picture:

Dinner time

Last night, Thomas worked a bit later than usual. The general routine is that I feed the parrots dinner when we eat (this reduces the incidents of parrots flying over and asking us for our food) but when Thomas is late, I feed them earlier.

Stella was being quite the bully to Calypso, so I fed him in the kitchen, which he loved.Occasionally, Max would try to knock Calypso off of his perch with that toy (of course not when I was taking a picture!) Finally I threw her in the living room so she could eat her own food and leave him in peace.

Speaking of dinner, over the past few weeks, we've noticed that Basil will not eat dinner unless we're there. A true flock animal (and he's not even part of our permanent flock!) Last night, he had his dinner for an hour before we ate. He just sat on his door, and as soon as Thomas and I sat down to eat, he ran to his dish and ate as though he were starving.

He does eat during the day when we are gone, so this is something that's unique to dinner.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Blood bite

Since Friday, we've noticed extreme jealousy out of Max. Her behavior is perfectly normal until she notices that one of us is holding/paying attention to another bird (especially if that other bird is Beeps or Stella). Then, she must act.

Friday after work, I was alone with the birds. Since Beeps is so unpredictable right now he can't be out of his cage unless he is being held by me; otherwise, he flies over to Basil's cage to cause problems.

I was sitting at the kitchen table, reading the paper, Beeps on my leg. Max flew to the table and grabbed my hand gently with her beak, pushing it down to foot level. This is something she does when she wants to step up, so I wasn't concerned. She then put one foot on my finger, as if to step up. However, she was only controlling my hand as she then took her beak and grabbed a pinch of skin! I can't really call it a bite as she didn't break the skin, but it was definitely a hard pinch -- three days later I can still see the marks on my hand. It was so deliberate and cunning; I really wish I had the entire incident on video as it was rather unbelievable. She was angry and she wanted me to know it! Note that she could have done a lot more damage had she wanted to -- this was about getting her point across.

When Thomas got home, I warned him about her. A few minutes later, he had Stella on his arm and was looking at the wild birds in our backyard. Max flew to his shoulder. She almost never does this, as she knows it's not allowed. He was unconcerned as she is generally well-behaved, so he was taking his time in getting her off, when she quickly bit his ear and then flew to her cage.

Here was the result:
This probably looks worse than it was, as Thomas instinctively put his hand up to his ear and then smeared the blood around a bit. By yesterday, there was only a tiny spot of dried blood at the wound, though he said it was still tender.

I suspect this is hormonally-driven; I'm pretty sure she went through a similar phase last year so I'll search my blog archive to see how long it lasted. In the meantime, we are being very careful around Max until her behavior returns to her baseline.

Weekend randomness

I haven't posted about Calypso in a while. He's so easy-going and doesn't really do much that is blog-worthy. He is one of the sweetest, most patient birds around. He needs to give Beeps lessons on this! Proving, yet again, how species generalizations are not always useful, as my two teenage male black-headed caiques could not have more differences in their personalities!

Peacefully chipping up some wood while I eat breakfast:************************
So happy that spring is on the way! Spent too much time watching this squirrel eating in my backyard.
There has been an increase in animal activity in our backyard, leading to Thomas frequently yelling, "Robins! Come quick!" or "Come here to see this cardinal!" This will be old hat again soon.

Little Brian hanging out on the shower door:
This morning, Thomas was eating breakfast. He had his last piece of toast in his hand when Brian ran over and started eating. This made us laugh, as previously he'd eschewed food when offered and would only eat something off of our plate. Of course, when I tried to get a picture of this, he had to run over to pose for the camera.
He is so obsessed with the camera! How does he know what it is? He wasn't allowed out of his cage for 10 years, so I can't imagine they were taking many pictures of him.

Friday, March 18, 2011


Brian eating bread:This has become a cherished morning routine.

Mr. Hormone

I thought we'd be passed this by this time of the year, but Beeps continues to be one giant hormone. As soon as he sees me, he starts regurgitating. As soon as he sees Thomas, he tries to attack. When not hormonal, he is equally tame to us; if anything, he has a slight preference for Thomas.

As a result, he's not getting out as much as he used to; however, he is content in his cage, and I make sure he gets out several times a day, even if only for a few minutes each time. When allowed out, he needs to be heavily supervised as he really wants to be on Basil's cage. Basil does not want him there and this causes major problems. (Mostly Basil freaking out and making the loudest, most unpleasant noise imaginable. I don't want to see this escalate to violence, however, so Beeps is always swiftly removed from his cage. Basil continues to protest for a few minutes even after Beeps is gone.)

I got home from work last night and Thomas informed me that Beeps had tried to attack him 5 times in the past 2 minutes. Good thing Thomas has strong reflexes and was able to move out of the way of the fly-by attack.

This picture isn't the best, but since the camera triggers attacks, I only had one shot at him. Especially since he was on my arm!
Poor guy! Hopefully he'll start feeling himself again soon. We miss the fun, playful Beeps who has other things on his mind than feeding me and driving away the competition (i.e. my husband.)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Grey censors

Every night, I bring home The Wall Street Journal home from work. Last night, I was reading it while making dinner. However, during a period when I was sufficiently absorbed in my cooking the greys decided to band together to make it difficult for me to get the news:As usual, Max started this and Stella flew over to join the fun. Think of how their lives could be improved if they were friends instead of rivals! Perhaps it's a good thing they haven't realized this, as they create enough havoc as it is, without working in tandem!

The bag man & gawkers

Rocky was wandering around the kitchen last night, looking for ways to occupy his time. He loves to hang out in boxes and Thomas's pants. I keep my grocery bags near the back door, so that I remember the next morning to put them in my car. Rocky seized this opportunity to make a pseudo-nest:Much of the evening was spent crawling into the bag, standing on the bag, and doing other weird macaw-things to the bag. Personally, I don't get the attraction...

He was making such a fuss laughing, talking, and making other excited noises, that the nosy greys had to fly over and see what was going on:
I love the way they tilt their heads when they really want a good look at what's going on on the floor.

Also, have there ever been nosier parrots? These two must always be in everyone else's business. I do tell them to get hobbies of their own, but of course they don't listen to me. It must be too much fun this way.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

More Rocky

Rocky only seems to do this when I'm the only human at home with the parrots; perhaps he's searching for Thomas. He looks out our patio door; the only parrot-height window. As soon as he sees me, he puts on a good front; dancing and singing, but when he doesn't know I'm looking, he just stares out the window. I don't know why he'd search for Thomas here, though he has, on occasion, seen him mowing the lawn from this vantage point. However, Thomas never enters/exits through the patio door, as there is no second barrier to make sure the parrots can't escape.Rocky loves towels. I cover Brian's cage at night with a towel that I keep on the bottom of his stand during the day. This was just too enticing for Rocky, who had to play with the towel.
I always use a stick to transport Rocky; this keeps me safe and allows my blood to remain inside my body. One thing I find curious is how Rocky could, if he wanted to, run down the stick to attack, but he never does so.
I should be grateful for that and not question it, but of course I like to try to figure out what makes him tick. He's got me stumped!

The lurker

Unfortunately, Thomas had to work tonight. It's been months since he's had to work at night, and we've really gotten used to having him around. I'd like to think that I miss him the most, though that distinction might actually go to Rocky or Stella. The only one who's happy about this is Calypso. Calypso does not like Thomas, so he was very happy tonight! Usually he puts himself to bed right after supper, around 6 pm, but tonight (as all the nights Thomas isn't home), he stayed up until I had to put him to bed.

Earlier this evening, I was in the kitchen making dinner. I heard some clicking; sure enough, Rocky was lurking around. I had the camera set to no flash, so he's blurry, but you can see him making his way in to be with me:He stops at every corner to see what's happening:
He started making his way towards me, then turned around, deciding against launching an attack (perhaps because I had a stick in my other hand so he knew it was pointless.)
Rocky is such an enigma. He won't let me handle him, but when Thomas isn't home, he likes to be near me. If I were forced to live with someone I hated, I'd spend the evening in the other room if possible, yet Rocky seeks me out. It's maddening; I can't understand him.