Hi I am new to the forum but have already learnt a lot from all the members here. Well following the death of my beloved severe macaw. We had been toether for 16 years. A friend who has a bird supply and boarding facility had a magnificent M2 who I saw while he was boarding. My friend informed me his owners were having to travel a lot and we're concerned they might be boarding him to much. His owners loved him and have taken great care of him for 30 years, they thought he was probably 5 to 10 years of age when they rescued him from deplorable conditions. I spoke with them for an hour by phone and they visited my house to make sure it was suitable for Skippy. I adopted Skippy 2 weeks ago. I have been retired for one year and live alone. 2 questions; he still seems somewhat freighted of me, he is stick trained but will not step up on my arm. I know bonding takes a while. He is out of his cage throughout the day except if I go out for shopping etc. Then I place him in his cage for safety. Together with his formulated large cockatoo diet I am feeding him cooked a raw veggies with a few cooked beans and brown rice. He also likes mini organic yellow and orange bell peppers although he doesn't seem to eat a lot. He has not bitten me so far seems very quiet and gentle, calls to the flock for a while morning and prior to bedtime. I know this a long post but I hope I am doing the right things for him. Is there any advice you can give me regarding adopting an older bird. We are going to our avian vet next week. Thanks.
Welcome to Mytoos and thank you for taking this gent in to your home. Sounds like you are going in the right direction with everything. Given time he will come around. He's grieving now for his lost family. Toos are very emotional.
Thank you Nancy and Cassie. This is a great forum so much good advice from fellow bird people. My Skipper is settling in a little I think we are making progress. He steps to stick but seems extremely fearful of stepping to my arm or really allowing me to touch him. He sometimes allows me to give him a little neck rub but otherwise does not want to be touched by me. He really loved his prior owners I could see that. Is it much more difficult for a bird such as this after 30 years of care from the same people for him to bond with me. I would love to take him into the warm sunshine outdoors in the morning but he is having none of that and becomes so agitated I stopped trying as it seemed to upset him I guess it just maybe a matter of time. I really want to do the best for him. Maggie.
The stick is one of the best tools if a big too uses it. It will save you many a scraped arm over the coming years. How are you trying to take him out doors? Is he loose on the stick? Have you looked up at the trees around your house He may have seen a hawk from a window. They don't forget easy. I can't open the drapes near Cassie's cage right now because a hawk decided to go hunting. If you are going to take him outside please be sure to put him in a carrier or small cage to protect him.
He does step up to a stick when he decides to. I have him in the cage he came with at night only during the day I am home and he had a playstand on the top of his cage which I do not care for as he is higher than me. He also has a playstand separate from the cage. I have a much more suitable cage for him but did not wish to switch him too soon as I wanted him to settle in first. Something I am curious about is sometimes when I approach him he lowers his head starts shaking and makes this hissing sound. Is this a fear response? He seems to me that he has not been handled very much which is the opposite of what I was told by the previous owners. He was also never given cooked or raw veggie's which he loves. He saw the vet last week he is in good shape labs ok. Do you think he will ever bond with me? If he cannot I will accept him for what he is able to give. He is a sweetie.
Best to accept him for who he is and anything that improves along the way is a benefit. For the high playstand just get a small step stool and forget about the dominance line. At 5'3" I live on a step stool daily. Cassie is always higher than I am. I don't think that toos have dominant beings in the flock. There are many things that you can do to increase your value to him. Try some clicker training for fun activities first then move on to more positive behavioral training.
Thanks for the reply that makes me feel better I have a step stool and will use it. I have read so much about this "being the dominant flock member" I have never thought much of it as I always worked on mutual trust with my macaw and never had any issues with her. In fact it seems she could read my mind.
I called his previous vet and he said he has bilateral cataracts my vet said he has bilateral cataracts I wonder if this makes him reluctant to step up as he is not sure what he is seeing. Being frequently bordered as he was makes me wonder if this was a truly frightening experience for this old bird. With wings clipped they have no ability to fly away and now my bird who has been forced to live amongst us with sight failing. Putting 2 and 2 together I think that those people who sold me this bird. I thought I adopted him but they needed $500.00 for the cage.
Think outside of the box now when interacting with him and with his cage. If his sight is failing watch him from a distance to see if he is having problems with the current set up of the cage. You can put in platforms in place of some perches, use dark brightly colored objects for contrast, keep important things(food/water dishes) in the same locations as his sight diminishes. Call to him softly before entering the room and move slower around him to prevent startling him. Did you talk to the vet about keeping his wings clipped now or does he still have enough sight to fly?
Well I am begining to be encouraged by Skippy's progress. But it is slow, when think we are making progress one day the next we step back. But at least I believe we are on an upward path. I have kept his original cage with his top playstand for him although I have a much larger cage available . Due to his vision problems I want to keep things the same. For the first time yesterday he allowed me to preen him although he still freaks out if I attempt to get him onto my lap. He is not yet ready for any type of caress. Last night he exipited stereotypical behaviour climbing to the bottom of his cage with repetitive movements of rubbing his beak on the bottom of his cage. I am aware of previous research with laboratory primates this behaviour occurs when the animals fundermental needs are not met. Same thing with birds and plucking. Observing his behavior I believe this bird was barely handled. But we are bonding trust takes a very long time and when it is broken it takes a long time to regain. He is smart and when I ask him in the morning he whistles beautiful songs. Thanks to you guys on my toos I have learnt a lot and will keep you posted
Hi. Skippy and I are progressing slowly he seems more secure when I take his foot and hold it firmly due to some balance problems I think he feels more secure. The cage rubbing is much less but he seems restless out of his cage on his perch he flaps and acts like he wants to approach me but still most times he is reluctant and moves away. Is this ambivalence in a bird. It seems he wants contact yet is afraid. Sorry if I sound like a pain but I think I try to overanalyse everything. Any thoughts on this much appreciated
I think if you volunteered you would learn a great deal more on birds and their behaviors. It would also give you the opportunity to see first hand the differences in personality from one species to the next but also from one bird to the next. You said yourself that you are over analyse and I have to agree with you. It's time to sit back and you learn to relax with Skippy and enjoy the times you have together. I'm not saying that what you are doing is a bad thing it isn't. Watching and learning behavioral cues is what helps us all live a decent life with our charges. Trying to read into a specific behavior is not a good thing. Beak rubbing for instance is not the same as stereotypical behavior that you see in cage wild animals. Birds use their beaks for many things including using it to feel textures, make noise, eat, use it as a tool, an extra appendage, a weapon, etc.. Trying to understand what they are doing may be near to impossible. What I'm trying to say to you is relax and enjoy the rest will come in good time.
Volunteers are always needed and is a wonderful thing to do for the birds! Do be prepared to practice good "quarantine" practices however as you don't want to risk bringing anything home with you. Throw clothes in the washer and shower before handling your bird after being at the rescue. It's a good idea to have a dedicated pair of shoes that you can leave outside/in the garage, etc.
Birds are angels who lift us up when our own wings forget how to fly.
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world - indeed it is the only thing that ever has!" ~~~ Margaret Meade ~~~
Thanks so much for the advise. I am neurotic with my animals Allways watching if they are sick, not eating for a day all worried they are going to die unless I get them to the vet immediately. I need to chill out. My girlfriend last night told me "stop being a helicopter mom with your bird" I am I accept it but I feel guilty for everything when I loose an animal I Allways think if I just saw the warning signs soon enough I could have prevented this. I felt especially bad after I lost my macaw Mimi. But I wish to tell you l am much more comfortable with Skipper I think he feels this. I have placed an additional cage in a covered area of my garden when I trim the bushes and do gardening he watches me I try to let him get at least an hour of uv light every day. I have sent an application to the lilly sanctuary in Orange County to volunteer thank you so much for your advice and this website that encouraged me to work with him when we were both fearful. Thanks.