My bird Jules is not a fan of men. When I got her she decided that the husband was not to be trusted. She would get all fluffy whenever he looked at her. Birds fluff up their feathers to make themselves look bigger in the face of a threat.
He’s been sucking up to her by giving her grapes and treats. She moved his threat level from He Must Die to I Guess He Has His Uses but He’s Still Sketchy.
I got her out this morning and had her on my shoulder. He was home from work and ready to take a shower. He was very ready to take a shower as in uncovered. He said something to me and then stopped and said, “She’s really fluffy.”
I looked at Jules. She was puffed up to twice her normal size. Then she looked away from him and seemed to compose herself. Her feathers lay down flat. Then she looked at him again and got flustered all over and fluffed up. He said, “I think she’s upset by the dog being near her.”
She averted her eyes again and unfluffed. Slowly she glanced back towards him without moving her head. Feathers up. “I don’t think it’s the dog that’s upsetting her,” I explained. “I don’t think she knows what to make of you without, um, colors on.”
I had to take her back to the cage. She was fine as long as she didn’t look. Maybe she was a nun or a spinster schoolmarm in a previous life. Poor thing, she’s probably scarred for eternity now!
I took Jules in the shower with me today. Our routine is that we both spend some time in the water and then she needs to sit on the shower curtain rod while I shampoo. She got bored on the rod today and decided to fly. I looked out from the shower to make sure she landed somewhere safe.
She was dangling from the bottom of a towel that was hanging on the towel bar. She was holding onto the bottom edge with both feet. She was upside down. She was swinging gently from the momentum of her landing. She looked confused as to how she got into this predicament.
I think she jumped with a clear plan of where she was going and then she grabbed the first solid looking thing she came across. The moral of the story must be to look before you leap!
Conversations with my patients are usually one way affairs. “What a good boy” and “Now hold still for a second”, etc. This morning was different though.
I had a 21 year old Amazon parrot in for a post-adoption appointment. He was a chatterbox. He kept yelling “Cuss Word!” He likes it if you swear at him. I told him that was a sign of abnormal psychology and probably low self esteem. He didn’t care. He just wanted me to cuss. Cheeky bugger.
Jules is settling in well. She now mostly doesn’t give me any hassle about coming out of the cage. She still pretends that she doesn’t know “Up!” when it is time to go back though. Contrary to all reports from the foster homes, she isn’t afraid of the dog at all. Of course, Freckles isn’t as intimidating as the herd of Dachshunds where she was. Freckles wants to touch the bird so badly and pouts when I tell her no.
I have introduced the cats as Predator 1 (Riley) and Predator 2 (Powder) but so far everyone has ignored everyone else. I haven’t let Jules out of the cage when Predator 1 is in the house though.
Jules came here as a seed eater. I spend my bird exams preaching against the evils of seeds so we have to fix that. I ordered her the top of the line organic pellets that I prefer for birds to eat. She hasn’t touched them. Well, not true. She has screamed at them in her bowl and then thrown them out of the bowl. They keep getting put back in there though. Now she’s offered a mix of her seeds and several types of pellets daily. It is hard to see what she is eating for sure. I know she eats the seeds first.
I tried the trick of taking her and her bowl of pellets out and pretending to eat them with her. Birds are flock eaters and so if others are eating something it must be safe. I got attacked for that. Apparently she didn’t want them but BY GOD, THEY WERE IN HER BOWL! THEY WERE HERS! BACK OFF, B#%@H! New plan needed then.
She took her first shower with me yesterday. She seemed to like the water but she didn’t get into it like Ozzie did. She did want to play the “catch the drops of water running down the human’s face” game and didn’t understand why I wasn’t so keen on that.
So far she has only said, “Hello” to me on one day. Occasionally she is muttering something that sounds like words under her breath but I can’t make them out and am not sure I want to. LOL.
It is one of those inescapable facts of life like death and taxes.
Bigger birds bite harder. Also true.
The rescue kept saying what a sweet bird Jules is. I’m sure that’s true. Right now, though, she is a very pissed off and stressed sweet bird. I’m still calling her a sweet bird because I know this is tough on her and even though she has bit me over and over she has refrained from breaking the skin.
Last night she didn’t want to eat. She took a bite of a cucumber slice I offered her. If I tried to touch her, she’d bite. She doesn’t have a great “Step Up” command. That’s not good. That’s the bird equivalent of a dog’s recall command. If she is out of her cage and something happens and I need her with me Right Now, she better step up on my hand when I say so. No questions asked. This is especially important in a house with predators. We’ll be working on that.
Trying to get her to step up last night went like this. I put my hand in the cage and said, “Up.” She bit and fled. Repeat. Finally she did a few half hearted attempts and I called it good. This morning was the same thing. I finally caught her against her will and made her come out for a visit. She was shaking so hard but eventually settled down enough to walk around on me and play with my hair. She tried to get tough and acted like she was going to bite my face but she didn’t mean it. I blew air at her and she stopped. After she was comfortable I put her back in the cage while she was still having fun.
This evening I was going to work on Up again. I put my hand in the cage ready for the assault and she lowered her head but didn’t bite! She let me scratch her neck and pet her. I think we’re on our way to making friends.
You can tell she wants to be involved because when you walk through the room if you ignore her, she’ll call to you. If you initiate the conversation, she’ll ignore you. I think she’s playing hard to get.
She’s a Senegal Parrot. She’s somewhere under 10 years old. That’s as specific as they know. She seems very sweet. So far she’s just hanging out in the cage to get used to her new home. She has her favorite swing in there in order to feel at home.
She just sat there for a while but now she’s gotten off the swing to get a drink. She’s groomed some and she took a bite of cucumber from me. She hasn’t eaten anything else yet though.
Riley is ignoring her for now. He’s ignoring her a little too much. I don’t trust it. I’d feel better if he tried to climb up on the cage and I had a good yell at him. That’s strange, I know but this passive acceptance of a new bird isn’t like him.