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Weekend distractions - moonshadowed
Weekend distractions
Of a good sort!    I used to have parrots before Thomas was born.  Specifically, two caiques.  But when he was born I felt I couldn't give the birds what they needed and rehomed them with experienced bird mommies.  (Ladies with previous parrot experience).   If I knew then some of the things I know now, perhaps I wouldn't have rehomed them... but at the time it seemed like the best decision for them and me.

Well, Thomas is 8 and Miss Georgia is 3 and a half.  I thought with care and proper supervision, I could perhaps have a parrot in my life once more.  

Enter Phoenix Landing.   I took two of their classes (and would be willing to take more if my schedule allows)... and I'm now a proud foster "parront".    Originally, I was supposed to get a senegal as my first foster bird, but as in human fostering, things didn't work out.  (As in I'm really not sure, but from what I heard the first foster family did not return emails...)

Then last week I got an email from the Maryland Adoption coordinator.  She just had the relinquish form for a bird, an african grey.  Was I interested?  (The reaction in my head was H*ll yes, but the polite emailed response I sent was "Certainly")   Actually, I would have said yes to any parrot really.  (I knew I wanted something a bit larger than a cockatiel or budgie, but smaller than a cockatoo.)

So.. without further ado, meet Miss Jewel:

I took this picture on Saturday evening after I got home from work.  My sweet hubby, jeriendhal  was the one who went to pick her and her stuff up.  (And she came with a lot of stuff from her first family:  a large cage, a sleep cage, a travel crate, and a box full of her favorite foods and another box full of her favorite toys.)  I know she was well-loved, because her first mom has already requested an update by email, which I sent to the MD adoption coordinator.  (We aren't supposed to have direct contact, although Royce did talk to the woman because Jewel's stuff was in her husband's truck.)

I want to write down progress (and setbacks if any, altho I hope there won't be any/many) as they happen...

Saturday (day 1):   She stepped up for  jeriendhal  to go from the travel crate to her big cage once he set it up.  This makes perfect sense as there was something she wanted -- the security of her cage.  He told me she was VERY quiet and only squawked once, briefly, when Salem (our cat) came up to the crate to sniff at her.   Georgia was very interested and standing near the cage talking to her in whispers.  (I had told her we need to be quiet and gentle to the bird and it seems she took my talks to heart)

When I got home she seemed interested as I talked to her, but didn't want me to touch her.  The picture above is one I took when I opened the door to hand her a treat (as pistachio nut in the shell).   I didn't press the issue since we had only just met.

In the evening, I thought to see if she'd be willing to step up to go to her sleep cage.  She wanted nothing to do with my hands.  In fact, she snaked her head forward and...not bit (at least she did not break the flesh), but it was definitely stronger than a nibble.  I wisely backed off... just covered her big cage and told her calmly "Nite Nite Jewel."  Other grey parronts at Avian Avenue told me that it was indeed a warning bite and had I pursued the matter I would have gotten bitten harder.

Sunday (day 2):   We had to get ready to go to my brother's house for nephew's bday party. Hubby had only put one toy in the cage yesterday so I got a few more to put in to hopefully occupy her while we were gone.

When I opened the door to the cage, she came forward, ignored my arm reaching into the cage and clambored to the top of the cage. (A dometop). I got things set up and we let her walk around up there for a bit as we got ready. When it was time to go she did not want to step up, not even for a bribe of her favorite pistachio nuts. So I got a stick figuring maybe that would be easier for her to step up on... or if she decided to nail something it would be that and not flesh. Oh my did she squawk and growl. I kinda got her cornered on the side of the cage in a little standoff.. she obviously did not want to step onto the dowel. I offered my hand saying calmly, "Jewel honey, step up" Hubby was behind and to the side ready to be the bad guy if need be and towel her.

Eventually she decided that between the dowel, my hand and the towel, my hand was the lesser of three evils. She stepped up. We praised her effusively and I gave her a pistachio as I put her back into the cage.  After we came home from the party we have hung out near her cage talking to her, and praising her when she played with a toy. At one point I stood near the cage and she came forward and sorta grumbled squawked at me... like she was telling me off for this morning! (lol) She did, however, accept a pistachio from my fingers.  She also took a red seedless grape from me, very gently.

Monday (day 3):  I tried misting (spraying her with a mist of water) ....thru the bars of her cage since she won't let me hold her yet. She seemed to like it. I didn't *soak* her, but she did get wet and fluffed and stretched a bit during and afterwards.  This is supposed to be good for all birds and especially feather pickers.

She has also been willing to come forward to the front of the cage and look at me as I talk to her. I tell her over and over how beautiful she is and how I only want to be her friend. (She did try and clamor out again earlier in the moring when I had the door open to check something, but I used one hand to 'block' her -- she squawked and I said calmly, "You're not coming out unless you want to step up. You want to step up?" and presented my other hand... she retreated back into the cage and I said calmly "I guess not. That's okay then."

Then I am near her cage and talking to her before I had to go to work and guess who let me stick my pointer finger in thru the bars and give her a very brief scritch on the head?

She was at the food bowl, but she saw what I was doing and clearly tilted her head toward me so I could. It was quick and very brief, but she let me do it! I praised her and said what a beautiful and good girl she was, and how I only wanted to be her friend and love her.

I know it was a priceless gift, that brief bit of contact.

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2 comments or Leave a comment
kippurbird From: kippurbird Date: October 20th, 2009 03:41 am (UTC) (Link)
What a pretty bird! I hope she stops feather picking. What do the kiddlets think of her?
moonshadowed From: moonshadowed Date: October 20th, 2009 03:51 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, Georgia is a little afraid of her (as in she doesn't want to get to close) yet at the same time she's fascinated... she will play in the room and watch Jewel..and loves to hand me a treat to give her.

Thomas keeps asking "Can we pet him?" (or sometimes he says "Can we pet her?" but he also does not get too close. He will come partly into the room to look at her then retreat to another room. If he's in the same room he covers his ears like he expects her to squawk loudly..and she honestly hasn't done many loud noises at all.

I hope she'll stop feather picking too. I tell her she's pretty now, but she'd be even prettier if she let all her feathers grow in and stay in. ;)
2 comments or Leave a comment