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#222083 - 06/14/10 07:58 PM Re: OPHELIA [Re: EchosMom]  
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Originally Posted By: EchosMom
Greg, there is no doubt in my mind that O is going to do beautifully at BF's!!! And I betcha he finds a wonderful permanent home too...but if not he definitely will have it made at BF's as a permanent resident!


I saw the video for the Parrot Garden and it looks great...I want to go and hang out and play with the birds!

The previous owner has asked if she can come and say goodbye (again) and, although I am not sure it is the best thing for O to see her (he loves her and is upset when she leaves) I have a hard time saying no...

As for class, why is it over? I still have to deal with O all week. Have you ever heard of or experienced this schizofrenic behavior?

He did it to me several times this morning...after being closed back in the cage after breakfast he again seemed to want to attack me through the bars...I spoke nicely to him and pet his talon (carefully, without getting bit) and he eventually calms down and wants a head/neck rub and allows it...

I am clueless as to what part of his current behavior is "hormonal" and what part is because he is pissed he is getting out of the cage less. In the past I would have pushed him to step up by know but have not asked anything of him when he comes out...yet he still displays intervals of aggression toward me...

Is this just a male thing? I am told males tend to "challenge" the hierarchy in the flock more than females...is he feeding off the fact that he has forced me to change everything and just continuing to exert his authority on me?

Remember, this seemingly erratic and aggressive behavior started back in march and seemed to come and go...but this is the longest stretch I have gone without handling him and he has been in the day cage all the time for over a week...

#222084 - 06/14/10 09:02 PM Re: OPHELIA [Re: GregM]  
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Okay, class has been declared over. Greg, you will not learn in a week what you did not learn in a year. Whenever I read your posts, I hear every excuse in the book why it cannot be your care and it is all "hormonal, hierarchy related, schizophrenic, etc." on the part of O. It takes more than loving care; loving care in the absence of real knowledge will spell doom for these cockatoos. Many of us have birds with varying degrees of personalities like the adjectives you used but, guess what, you work around them and get on with life. With proper behavioral modifications, life can be acceptable for most people and most birds.

I am amazed at your level of conviction to O but dismayed at your lack of understanding. You are doing a good thing with O and I hope you will try to live in peace for the next week and then really dive in and work with Buddy! Buddy is going to need your help and change, yes, changes in you, Greg, in the near future. No one will fault you on your perseverance.

Greg, I had had my cockatoo less than a week when I discovered that I had really "messed up" this time. It was very apparent that this large bird was not a happy camper. She screamed, flew, bit and was completely wild and, in that instant, I realized that these birds do not belong on cages, or houses. I found Mytoos after a couple of years and things have worked well as far as us progressing as a flock but the guilt stayed with me. Being a very high strung and focused individual (sound familiar?), I eventually sought out a therapist and laid it all out. I spent a few thousand dollars on me, well spent I might add, and learned that I'm okay but so is every other life form out there and there is no shame in sacrifice. My life is really just one of trillions of lives out there. My life is important and unique but really no more valuable than any other life in the world. I still have my struggles but I'm not guilty anymore. I have had, and still have, some trouble viewing priorities in my life but it is manageable, for now.

I just want you to relax, Greg! Life is too short anyway and there is much to enjoy if you allow yourself to see and access it. Good luck, Pal, hang in there! smile




#222087 - 06/14/10 09:37 PM Re: OPHELIA [Re: Charlie]  
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Originally Posted By: Charlie
I am amazed at your level of conviction to O but dismayed at your lack of understanding.


You and me both...but I still wonder what makes him tick...

Originally Posted By: Charlie
Being a very high strung and focused individual (sound familiar?)


Yes, I know its me...thats what bothers me most...that I can not conform myself to make this work...I lack the patience and, maybe, am just too selfish to make the sacrifice(s) necessary to reinvent my world for O...and he deserves better...thats why I think Best Friends will be the best thing to happen to him...

God help poor Buddi... frown

#222110 - 06/15/10 02:59 AM Re: OPHELIA [Re: GregM]  
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Yep, "class" is over. As Charlie said, relax and live in peace with O this last week.

As for Buddi - you really need to "get with the program", or I fear she will suffer a similar destiny. And based on what you have said about Buddi's aggressive tendencies with your spouse - she is going to have to get with the program too.


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#222138 - 06/15/10 05:19 PM Re: OPHELIA [Re: EchosMom]  
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Originally Posted By: EchosMom
As for Buddi - you really need to "get with the program", or I fear she will suffer a similar destiny. And based on what you have said about Buddi's aggressive tendencies with your spouse - she is going to have to get with the program too.


I need the perspective of someone who has lived with sexually mature Too(s) for some time...

Does every Too go through periods, hormonal or otherwise, in which what you percieved to be thier personality completely changes?

It could be aggression or one day they don't want to be handled, or no longer seem to like the usual routine, etc...

Do they return back to "themselves" (the bird you thought you knew) afterwards?

In other words, is what I am experiencing with O completely normal for mature Toos?

Will it eventually pass and the Too that I thought I knew for the first 9 months return?

Is this same behavior (which I choose to label erratic) what I have to look forward to when Buddi becomes sexually mature?

#222141 - 06/15/10 06:05 PM Re: OPHELIA [Re: GregM]  
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Nikki will be 18 in August and Zazu will be 15 in December. Their behaviour is a little off sometimes but nothing that I would ever consider a problem. First of all, I use what I need to use to get the behaviours I want. Caregivers blame a lot of behaviours on "hormones". That just lets them off the hook so they don't have to deal with actual problem behaviours. For example, a bird that bites. Not saying they do not have hormones but it is a construct and there is nothing you can do about that. You can do something about a bird that bites, or chews furniture or screams. Those are behaviours that can be changed. The problem is a lot of people don't want to follow the steps necessary (it does require work) to get the behaviours they want from their birds and then they blame the bird.

You did not follow any of the steps, Greg. It won't work if you don't do the work.

Bev


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#222150 - 06/15/10 09:19 PM Re: OPHELIA [Re: ZazuSally]  
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Originally Posted By: ZazuSally
First of all, I use what I need to use to get the behaviours I want. Caregivers blame a lot of behaviours on "hormones". That just lets them off the hook so they don't have to deal with actual problem behaviours. Bev


Guilty as charged...

But if not hormonal, what makes a bird with whom you are spending hours with 1 day (feeding breakfast, eating seed while you exercise, taking a shower with you, etc...) and appears to be enjoying your time together, stop stepping up 1 day and then attack you the next...

I am trying to avoid constructs but it leaves me searching for an explanation...another flaw of mine...I need to understand (as well as control) everything...

I was always concerned about the effects of O's behavior on my wife and son so I attempted to control him and all situations...yet both my wife and son said O's behavior is not the problem...its the effect O's behavior has on me that is most upsetting to them...can you imagine that...

Whats wrong with me? I actually let my wife approach O last nite (I did not want her to get bit if he went postal)and he stepped right up and went on the tree...amazing...what am I doing wrong?




Last edited by GregM; 06/15/10 09:20 PM.
#222153 - 06/15/10 10:05 PM Re: OPHELIA [Re: GregM]  
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Greg,

I think you need to remember that you are dealing with wild animals who are under enormous stress from being in captivity. It appears as though you are trying to apply human logic to them, in trying to understand the "why." I completely understand that, and my husband and I frequently have discussions trying to understand why our parrots do something that seems incomprehensible to us. But we don't let ourselves get hung up on it.

As I've said many times, they are experts at picking up body language. If you are afraid of getting bit, or scared of the bird, they pick up on that and are much more likely to bite or attack. I can tell that you have been very frustrated with O, and I'm sure he's picked up on that.

And you are not wrong to be frustrated, as these are very frustrating beings. They do not belong in captivity, and some have a harder time adjusting than others. Add in past abuse/neglect by humans, and that can compound the problem (though not always). Though some people may disagree with me, I wouldn't be surprised if some captive parrots develop some kinds of mental insanity, which can make the "why" question even harder to answer.

As Bev has said many times, you can't focus on the why -- you need to focus on the actual behavior as we currently don't have a way to see in their heads!

Also, there is such a thing as chemistry between birds and people. You took O in, but he did not choose you. I have seen this happen (birds choosing their people) many times at the rescue, and it's truly amazing. You can make things work when a bird doesn't choose you (as Bev has proved) but it's a lot harder than if you start out with the bird already liking you. That's why I think the best way to acquire a parrot, if the option is available to you (and I realize that due to geography of other circumstances, it is not always possible), is to volunteer at a rescue and adopt an adult bird that chooses you. Your chances of success rise exponentially that way.

I've rambled on long enough (and actually did substantial editing/erasing!), but I really hope you can change your mindset with Buddi to not so much focus on the reasoning behind the behavior, but on the behavior itself. I know you can make it work with Buddi!

#222210 - 06/16/10 06:11 PM Re: OPHELIA [Re: Beeps]  
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Originally Posted By: Beeps
As I've said many times, they are experts at picking up body language. If you are afraid of getting bit, or scared of the bird, they pick up on that and are much more likely to bite or attack. I can tell that you have been very frustrated with O, and I'm sure he's picked up on that.


You make a lot of good points, Beeps...if that is the case, and O senses my apprehension and is therefore more likely to bite me (lets apply this to Buddi as well) how should I respond? Show him/her that I am not afraid to get bitten? I have been taken to task for suggesting that in the past...

O was out the last 2 nites as he does not hestitate to step up for my wife...he prefers woman...this morning he stepped up willingly for me and after breakfast he enthusiastically showered with me...but aftewards I needed my wife to ge him back in the cage...no aggression, he just did not want to step up and I was not going to force the issue...I am just glad he got out for a while and bathed...

You are right about not selecting me...I visited with him 4 times last spring before taking him in June and he tolerated me, at best...I guess he has had to accept me here as he had no choice...but I am certainly not his choice...he will see his previous owner on Saturday and the magic they share in thier relationship is fun to watch...so sad she can not take him back...

#222217 - 06/16/10 07:08 PM Re: OPHELIA [Re: GregM]  
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Three of my birds were rehomes and none of them picked me first. Even my first bird Sugar picked my sister Debbie. Zazu picked my sister Val, and Gypsy picked my downstairs neighbour. Nikki really didn't want me touching her either so I didn't. I worked really hard to earn their trust and it is not something I take lightly. I learned the things they value and I use those things to get the behaviours I request or want to see more of. Just because a bird picks someone else doesn't mean it is a fait accompli. My birds are proof of that.

The relationship I have with my birds was earned not taken. Why take what should be freely given. And you CAN take it for so long but then the bird fights back and that can be very painful.

Bev


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#222218 - 06/16/10 07:24 PM Re: OPHELIA [Re: GregM]  
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Originally Posted By: GregM


You make a lot of good points, Beeps...if that is the case, and O senses my apprehension and is therefore more likely to bite me (lets apply this to Buddi as well) how should I respond? Show him/her that I am not afraid to get bitten? I have been taken to task for suggesting that in the past...



Bev or Janet (or someone else) may have something to add, but here's my take on the matter.

You have to internalize that you're not afraid. (Which I know is very difficult to do). They can sense it even if you're trying to mask it! Instead of thinking about it as not being afraid to get bitten (because that implies that you've resigned yourself to being bitten), it's being confident that they're not going to bite you (but also watching body language and letting them set the pace). It's a subtle difference, but important.

I'm sorry if I'm obtuse -- some of this is so difficult for me to convey with words.

I'm not proud of it, but I am afraid of getting bit by my severe macaw, so I stick trained him to avoid getting bit. When I approach him, he sends off so many signals that he wants to bite me. I think a lot of this is because he enjoys the reaction he gets out of me (even though I try not to give any!)

I would not recommend this as a training tool, but a few years ago I had had a beer (or two) and thought Rocky was sending me signals that he wanted to be friends. I went over to him, asked him to step up on my arm, and he did. I think he was as shocked as I was! But I had no fear. I was not aggressive or forcing him to do anything, I just asked him as though I expected him to comply.

Even though I had this experience, I still cannot internalize that I'm not afraid of Rocky, so I use a stick with him. I am not afraid of any of my other parrots and can handle all of them just fine. I can also handle other severe macaws.

I used to be afraid that Rocky would attack me when he was loose around the house (as he had tried in the past). Somehow, I got over that fear, and since then, we've even allowed him to be flighted and he has never tried to attack me. When I was fearful, he tried all of the time.

They are just so good at picking up our body language.

#222223 - 06/16/10 08:12 PM Re: OPHELIA [Re: Beeps]  
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Originally Posted By: Beeps
...a few years ago I had had a beer (or two) and thought Rocky was sending me signals that he wanted to be friends. I went over to him, asked him to step up on my arm, and he did. I think he was as shocked as I was! But I had no fear. I was not aggressive or forcing him to do anything, I just asked him as though I expected him to comply.


Ahh...got it...so I should get inebriated and then I will be relaxed enough to show no fear...in fact, I might not even feel it if I am bitten...its a fool proof plan! smile

On a more serious note, O must think he owns me as I am always guarded around him and looking over my shoulder...I think he enjoys jerking his neck when I am petting his head just to test my reflexes...

And to make matters worse I just realized that Sunday is Fathers Day...I have plans to spend it with my 84 year old father and will have to cancel as he is 2 hours away and O's plane leaves at 2:55pm...maybe this is a sign...

#222224 - 06/16/10 08:12 PM Re: OPHELIA [Re: Beeps]  
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Beeps, I have gone through episodes of biting with all my birds. Before ABA and when I first got Zazu, she nailed me every chance she got for 2-3 months. I considered getting rid of her. My hands looked like hamburger meat. Gypsy and Nikki had been taught to bite to keep humans away. I had to teach them that I was different, that I wasn't going to do anything they didn't want me to do or try to make them do things they did not want to do. ABA gave me that. I will always be a little on guard with Gypsy. I can touch my other 3 birds anywhere but not Gypsy. When I preen her head, if I accidently hurt her, she will wing around to nip me and say "don't you bite". LOL This is a learned behaviour. I haven't taken a serious bite from any of my birds in a long time because I have learned what I can and cannot do with them. Biting can be eliminated using ABA. That is for sure.

Nikki was always picked up in a towel because she bit her female caregiver. I realized that she bit when she was afraid or when you were trying to put her down when she felt she had not spent enough time with you. So I changed that. She is much more confident now and I spend time with her so those two triggers have been eliminated. A bird that does not bite is always good in my books. LOL

I do agree that bird's sense our apprehension and fear but when you use ABA and do the right things and don't get bitten, confidence follows. In you and the bird.

Bev


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#222229 - 06/16/10 08:30 PM Re: OPHELIA [Re: ZazuSally]  
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Originally Posted By: ZazuSally
When I preen her head, if I accidently hurt her, she will wing around to nip me and say "don't you bite". LOL Bev


Who says that? Gypsy? Becasue she has heard it so often?

When I do that with Buddi, or am rubbing his neck, he will turn to nip and I wonder what my response should be...most times I grab his beak and just turn it up gently and say "No"...what should my reaction be to these little love bites or pinches that Buddi gives me?

For clarification, these are not aggressive attacks...a pinch here...a nip there...you know the type...but they do appear to be coming more frequently...possibly because O gets most of my energy and attention...

#222230 - 06/16/10 08:31 PM Re: OPHELIA [Re: GregM]  
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[/quote] Ahh...got it...so I should get inebriated and then I will be relaxed enough to show no fear...in fact, I might not even feel it if I am bitten...its a fool proof plan! smile [/quote]

The bites don't hurt...it's like getting a hypodermic. It's that nanosecond when you realize you've been bitten. The natural tendency to pull back starts the 'fun'.

If you can just walk away without the bird being latched on and clean up the blood and grab a blue-ice to keep the swelling/black-n-blue down it will be fine.


Man has turned Earth into a hell for animals.
Arthur Schopenhauer
#222232 - 06/16/10 08:48 PM Re: OPHELIA [Re: ZazuSally]  
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Originally Posted By: ZazuSally


I do agree that bird's sense our apprehension and fear but when you use ABA and do the right things and don't get bitten, confidence follows. In you and the bird.



As usual, you are much more succinct than I was! I completely agree with this and it's how we eliminated biting in 3 of our birds who had learned to bite in a previous home.

With Rocky, we've made huge progress (no bites in over 3 years and he no longer tries to attack me just for existing) so I don't mean to imply that I'm living in fear smile Just that I am (in my opinion, justifiably) afraid that he'll bite me if I ask him to step up since he is very blatant with his body language that that is his intention!

I mean, could he fluff any more feathers to show me how big and scary he is?

http://i179.photobucket.com/albums/w302/mcdrb/Rocky/IMG_1431.jpg

We've figured out a system that keeps everyone happy, which involves me using the stick to have him step up, and my husband providing the physical attention. He has games he'll play only with me and tells me how much he loves me, but just appears to not want a physical relationship with me. And that's OK since he has one with my husband.

And who knows what will happen in the future -- we've already made more progress than I thought we ever would, so maybe someday we'll get to that point, but I'm letting him set the pace!

#222233 - 06/16/10 09:05 PM Re: OPHELIA [Re: Beeps]  
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Beeps, progress is progess and you are right to let the bird decide since he already has a relationship with your husband. Beautiful bird though!!!! I love macaws.

Greg, Gypsy is a genius and I mean that. She is scary smart and she learned "don't you bite' from me. Preening a grey and a cockatoo are completely different. It's really hard to see where the blood is on a grey so I frequently hurt her and when I do, she tries to wing me even though I effusively tell her it was an accident. Sometimes she buys it and sometimes she doesn't. LOL Right now she has a bunch of new pin feathers and wants me to preen her head. Never fails I get carried away because I love preening my birds. The cockatoos are easy, the greys difficult because the feathers are so dark.

I don't rub my bird's head for too long. They seem to get over-sensitized to touch after a short time and don't like it. Now I realize that every bird is different and I know some birds will let you scratch them for hours. However, because Buddi is "nipping you" I would keep the scratching sessions very, very short before that nip happens. You don't want it to progress. It's a warning.


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#222270 - 06/17/10 07:48 PM Re: OPHELIA [Re: ZazuSally]  
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Originally Posted By: ZazuSally
However, because Buddi is "nipping you" I would keep the scratching sessions very, very short before that nip happens. You don't want it to progress. It's a warning.Bev


I took O to the AV this morning for a "clear to travel" letter. The AV I used previously had left and this AV had some interesting comments.

When I described the arrangement in my home and the fact that O has been aggressive just to me, he said the logical explanation for the change in behavior is probably hormonal. In fact, while O was toweled to have the exam and nails filed he showed me how his body was quivering and pulsing...he was trying to mate with the hand/towel holding him...poor thing...

So, O's aggression toward me while in or around his cage (territorial) while he is "displaying" could be due to the fact that I am not behaving as he would like me to, i.e.- I am not mating with him...so rather than hating me he may have selected me and I am not responding as he would want...I thought that was interesting...have to avoid contact in the cage...

But he also said that the genetic programing that goes into the flock hierachy could also cause him to challenge me for the alpha male positon wihtin the flock...also interesting...both would explain why its just me and not my wife or son, who see aggression and my wife continues to handle O at will...

I told you I need to understand why...it helps me deal with it... smile

Last edited by GregM; 06/17/10 07:52 PM.
#222279 - 06/17/10 08:59 PM Re: OPHELIA [Re: GregM]  
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No, you want to hear what you want to hear. I tried to explain to you why he behaves the way he does and you didn't want to hear it. I tried to teach you how to change that, you didn't do anything I asked you to do. You want to hear that it has nothing to do with you but is because he is driven by hormones. Well, why aren't my birds doing that? Oh yes, my birds don't have hormones. It's like I told you before Greg, from Dr. Phil, " You can't change what you don't acknowledge". It is easier to blame it on the bird and hormones because then you don't have to do any work to change it. And then what happens a few months from now when you realize that it is not hormones. What will you do then, Greg?

I absolutely go through some rough times with my birds at certain times but I just use ABA. A little tweak here and a little tweak there is usually all it takes but it wasn't always easy. It took time before I got comfortable with it and really understood what I was doing and why I was doing it. It was tougher in the beginning when I was first learning about ABA. I never blame anything on hormones because it is a construct or label. I can't change a label or the fact that their behaviour may be driven by internal factors. If my birds are exhibiting behaviour that needs to be modified, I come up with a plan and do exactly that. Works like a charm if you have the right currency or set up the environment for success.

When my sister and her 2 teenagers come up every year, they can handle 3 of my birds. I ask them not to touch Nikki because she has already been through too much. Maybe in time but it will be when Nikki is ready and not because they want to.

Bev

Last edited by ZazuSally; 06/17/10 09:36 PM. Reason: added something

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#222280 - 06/17/10 09:53 PM Re: OPHELIA [Re: ZazuSally]  
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Originally Posted By: ZazuSally
I tried to explain to you why he behaves the way he does and you didn't want to hear it. I tried to teach you how to change that, you didn't do anything I asked you to do. Bev


Not true, Bev...at least admit I did a half a-- job! smile

You will recall I was applying ABA methods and had some success...I have to believe that, with the timing of the season and the change in behavior, hormones contributed to the enchanced difficulty I have had recently...

I know is not an excuse...it just exposed my weakness as a caregiver...I will be the first to admit it...and I must get ready for Buddi so don't quit on me...I need a comprehensive plan of attack for handling Buddi's behavior...

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