Lark (bloolark) wrote in petsonthecouch,
Lark
bloolark
petsonthecouch

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How to make a grey neurotic in one easy step.

I should have wrote 'how to teach a bird to bite' in one easy step too, but... :)

Occasionally, with birds, there are these times where things become so clear, when how easy it is to react in a way that's not mentally healthy to the bird is suddenly and sharply apparent.

So far, I've had three of those situations. The first two are old, and I'll only summarize them briefly. When we first got our Sun, I was a little afraid that he'd bite me, so he'd reach for me with his beak, and I'd pull away. Lo and behold, it took about three days before he did start biting me because I was moving away his perch! I caught that one pretty quickly, and it only took a few days for him to unlearn it.

One of our green cheeks always bit, and so I kept expecting her to bite me. And I'd get anxious, and she would. I discovered that if I took two deep breaths before asking her to step up, she wouldn't bite me! The magic of attitude. :)

And now the third. Last night, about three AM, I had gone to bed but my partner was still awake. I heard the cats doing kitty cat rodeo as usual, and then a peculiar sound that sounded almost like them playing with paper on the ground. It kept going on for a good thirty seconds, and then SO got up and checked it out. And I heard the familiar sound of Cin's questioning chirp. I, of course, sat up then, to find a scared baby bird being carried into the room attempting to burrow into things (and he's usually not very cuddly). It appears that the cats, during their running around, slammed into his cage, and he fell down and flapped hysterically at the bottom of his cage until he was rescued, scraping his cere in the process.

It took a healthy half an hour to calm him down, and convince him that he should go back into his cage, a lot of soft words and stroking. And then we left him there (after he was clearly visibly calmer, tail wags and closing his eyes), and I truly wanted to jump up and check on him every time he made the slightest sound (even moving or touching his beak to the bars of the cage). And so while worrying about this last night, I thought about parrot behavior.

Something scary happened to Cin last night, and he needed his flock to tell him that everything was okay. No one was excessively hysterical at him, only soothing and a bit worried until he calmed down. He was told often that he was brave, and everything was okay. And he knew that if he called, we'd come and get him.

But if I had given into my hysterical instincts and checked on him every five minutes, ignoring his body language (the tail wags) that so clearly said 'that's done, onto something else', he would have gone past fear to worried. What happened that was so scary? Why can't I be left alone? Why is my flock so upset?

Even worse, if I had gotten up this morning and expected him to be phobic and afraid, he would have picked that up too. Instead, I woke up, said hello, and gave him back the toy I removed last night, and he's completely his usual self.

Crisis averted for today!
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