Back in January we adopted Jazz, our 8 year old M2. When we got her she was basically oven ready, scared and hissing at everything and everyone, except me. For some reason she chose me, I was amazed when she climbed up on my shoulder to investigate me for the first time. It was compassion that brought me to her in the first place, and it was the intelligence and emotions in her big liquid eyes and expressions that prompted me to rescue her. I believed that she had once been very loved, and desperately needed someone to understand and love her for what she is, a cockatoo. I know that I was taking a huge risk, by the gamble was my inconvenience vs her life.
I never had any intentions of having a M2 in my life, I was waiting for my CAG to be born. They are after all "the hardest bird to keep" and I wanted no part of anything that intensive, I wanted a companion bird to replace our beloved Amazon that passed away last year.
Well the progress has been beyond my wildest expectations. As soon as I got her home she jumped into my arms and cuddled me.
Things have been going nonstop since then.
I just want to see how others view this change of behaviour. I want her to be as happy as possible.
Before: Scared, shaking, avoided human contact, growled and hissing at everyone, in a ramshackle cage with a metal garbage can bolted to the side as a "nest". Fed a mostly seed diet and no toys to play with, only one post to chew. Her nails and beak were overgrown and she was oven ready.
Now: Confident, seeming happy, struts and calls to us, the cat, Sophie, goes into full display and has a blast calling to other birds or just for fun. She can be as loud as she wants and she enjoys it. Complete grooming at the avian vet, DNA certified, growing feathers at a tremendous rate. Has more toys than "toys are us" destroys at least one per day. Enjoys her 7 layer salad, pellets, seeds, and whatever happens to on my plate or hand. I can spoon feed her, I can even feed her with chop sticks and she loves Korean food which we eat 5 days a week here. She is with me most of the day either at home or at the office. She even mows the lawn with me, (we have an oldfashion push mower the kind with no motor, she seems to enjoy the sound and excitement) she eats with me at the dinner table even with 6 house guests here.
Now here is my question, I can basically handle her any way I want now, I can handle her wings, feet, beak, even her eyes. She enjoys cuddling up on me, even when I am laying down. She seems to lay down on me, and tuck her head in and almost falls asleep when I am preening her. I give her full body massages, and even massage her legs and feet. I am hoping that the stimulation will improve her feather recovery rate, it seems to help. Also it seems to deepen her bond with me, and she seems to have complete trust with me.
Should I get her one of those hide-hut snuggle things for her to sleep in? I did not think that M2s would enjoy laying down to sleep but she loves to sleep on me like that, are these a good idea for them?
She enjoys preening my beard and eyelashes, and loves the face to face interation, does this mean that she has completely bonded with me and is happy? She calls to me in the morning, and I spend a minimum 40 minutes morning cuddle, then breakfast and shower with her. Then off to work or work at home, then afternoon cuddles, walks, yell at the seagulls time, dinner and then evening cuddle time before bed. I do this everyday with her and only the time, not the program varies.
She will cuddle and close her eyes and just lay with me as long as I want to cuddle and preen her, is this a really content cockatoo?
She is now talking, a lot. She came up with "I love you" yesterday.LOL it was great to hear that, she can also call the cat, whistle 10,000 different sounds and a few complete songs. Are M2's known to have more than just a few words?
I thing that I am on the right track with her, she certainly seems happy. She is healthy and looking better everyday now. I just want to be sure that she is happy, what are the real signs of a content M2?
We will be getting 'Roo in about two weeks now, he is a male U2 about 6 years old. He was not abused and is in perfect feather, but the owner feels that she does not have the time to dedicate to him, she has another U2 and a macaw. I want to make sure that I am spending enough time with Jazz so that I know what to do with 'Roo, they are so different from an amazon I want to make sure that I doing a good job for her.
Please let me know your thoughts on this, I appreciate your input.
Peter (with Jazz her as usual)