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View Diary: Dawn Chorus: She was not a refined woman... (193 comments)

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  •  well... (15+ / 0-)

    mine was transported with a nestmate - both having been handfed - and shipped to a pet store.  Something went wrong in the shipping and both he and his nestmate came with some wounds, feathers plucked and lots of trauma.  MIne was better off, he had a lot of his major feathers gone (tail, wing) but aside from one nail torn out, was okay.  His nestmate didn't fair as well.

    So they were named in the store - they thought he was the female and his nestmate the boy, so the names were switched up.  But by the time I took him home (about 6 months after his arrival), he had already learned his name so I kept his female name since he was so attached to it.  :)  There really weren't any near male equivalents.  Doesn't matter.  The name is his.

    In any case, his nestmate wound up being a huge snuggler.  She was kept under vet care for 4 months and with all the handling and medical care, it actually had her bond closely to humans.  With my guy, he spent the last 4 months striking out with fear biting because the bird caretaker of that store up and quit.  She had a wonderful hand with the birds - there was some sort of dispute with management and she left.  So the bird room responsibilities were passed from employee to employee - none of whom knew anything about birds. but during his first two months in that store, I used to visit and he would come down from the perch to the front of the cage to greet you, curious.  4 months later, he sat huddled at the back of the cage, still primary wing feathers still not grown back, tail feathers still missing.

    Because his beak is formidable and when he lunges it is quite scary, I suspect there was some abuse.  Example, I use newspapers for the bottoms of the cages - when he first came home with me, he flipped at the sight of newspaper - even if they were stacked across the room.  In the store they also used newspaper for the bottom of the cages... I suspected someone would use the newspaper to try to keep him at bay since he was fear biting.

    And of course what did I do, I wound up asking about him one day when I was in the store.  I hadn't been to that store for months since it wasn't close to my house, and I actually had stopped to see if he was still there and to see how he was doing.  That's when I saw the personality change and how he wouldn't come when I called to him.  the person taking care of the birds at that point was the assistant manager.  I just wanted to see if he was handable.  That guy said - oh yah, sure - opened the door and pretty much grabbed the bird!  Of course he got bit.  The bird was thrust at me, where I had him perch on my fingers as that assistant manager walked away muttering with blood drops trailed out in his direction out the room.

    So when he came back I said, I'll take him if you give me a discount.  Which, if you think about it, was perfect timing.  I did get a discount, and then for the next 6 months got bit every day as I carried him from a night cage to a day cage.  My figuring was, I didn't want him to come home just to be cage bound.  He had no flight feathers, no tail feathers, so he had to rely on me to bring him from sleeping cage to the cage where he had toys, water and food.  I got bit, but knew not to react.

    Sometimes he barely broke skin, other times I was bleeding just like that assistant manager!

    At night when I'd come home from work and spend time with my small flock, I'd set him up next to me by the computer, on a perch.  That way he could watch me interact with the rest of the flock - where there was always one or another clambering on me.  I figured I couldn't teach him any better than just let him learn from the other parrots and how they related to me.

    One day he finally took a sunflower seed from my fingers without biting me first.  To me, that was a miracle.  :)

    I learned patience from this one.  He put me through the mill to gain his trust.   But it was well worth it.  As the years past, he became the gentlest of all the flock.  He has a wonderful speaking voice, however his vocabulary is very limited.  But when he speaks he does sound quite human.  

    He liked Sunny's quiet and calm disposition, and there were many times I'd find him perched near her as they would preen together.  When his 2nd year feathers finally came in, I could see that he was actually male (this parrot is sexually dimorphic).  And I met the person who wound up adopting his nestmate and she told me that they realized she was female and not male with her feather coloration (that's how I found out what a snugglebug she wound up being).

    My guy doesn't snuggle and doesn't particularly like to be touched,  but he likes to preen your hair.  He has always been wonderful with small children who would come to visit.

    All the suffering of this world arises from a wrong attitude.The world is neither good or bad. It is only the relation to our ego that makes it seem the one or the other - Lama Anagorika Govinda

    by kishik on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 10:24:06 AM PST

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    •  Wonderful story (ultimately!) (12+ / 0-)

      The handling they get early in life makes such a difference, but even a bird who's had a rough start can often learn to trust.  It really does take patience and commitment, though.  Thank you so much for giving him the time and care he needed to become a Good Bird.

      •  his story... (10+ / 0-)

        was mentioned in an article for a bird magazine some years ago.  I guess it's because there aren't many who have moustache keets in their flock!

        All the suffering of this world arises from a wrong attitude.The world is neither good or bad. It is only the relation to our ego that makes it seem the one or the other - Lama Anagorika Govinda

        by kishik on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 10:47:02 AM PST

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      •  I wonder if there is a socialization period (8+ / 0-)

        for birds as there is with cats?  I think that may be a uniquely mammalian thing... but some mammals socialize during a window and after that window shuts, it's much harder to get them to view humans as anything other than very large and potentially dangerous.  A couple years ago, we adopted two beautiful but completely feral grey tabby kittens, a bit on the old side - maybe 16 weeks.  The male, who grew into a big athletic cat, socialized and is now very affectionate and sweet, but he was a ferocious biting, stabbing little predator when we first got him. The female - she's a tiny little thing - is very attached to us, but she still will not permit us to touch her.  instead, she sits just out of reach and purrs. My wife, who never had pets (can you imagine living 48 years and never having a pet?) finds this all very interesting. The feral female cat quietly slunk up and sat on her lap for the first time the other day. She knows a warm place when it's January in Chicago, but she still won't be touched.

        “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

        by ivorybill on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 12:11:20 PM PST

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        •  Socialization period is very important for parrots (8+ / 0-)

          In the wild, they rely on each other extensively for things like finding food resources, warning of dangers, etc.  The flock structure can be rather complex, as the relationships have years to develop and change with birds who live so long.  They have leaders, but it's not quite like the Alpha Dog - more like senior community members who other birds look up to.  (To put it in terms of this site, no Markos, but plenty of Rec List Regulars.)

          A new bird attempting to join a flock will be sized up by the others; it will study them and try to fit in.  Gradually, either it will fit in well and join the flock, or it will be driven out or move on of its own accord.  Since there's less option for moving on in a pet situation, then the period of adjustment is really crucial.

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