“Oliver is – that’s right, yes you are. You’re the very best bird.” I may have used these exact words today with Oliver, who clearly is the best bird in the whole world. I went to Phoenix Landing today intending to tell Nicole and Ann about my desire to foster Oliver. Here are some great things he did today.
- After the two hour workshop on Parrot Behavior (“Why did my parrot do that?”) – which was really very good –
Nicole, Oliver’s caretaker and my host, said “I gotta take care of one thing, then I’ll be down. You could visit for a while with him still in his cage.” No way did I want to do anything else. In the 20 minutes that Oliver and I visited before Nicole came down, he did some cool things.
- He ignited right away at the sight of me. He clearly remembered me and was excited to see me. He paced back and forth in front of me, looked intently at me, put his beak right up against the bars – trying to get to me, it seemed. (The Phoenix Landing staff keep warning us in these seminars not to project our feelings or reactions on these birds, not to assume we know what they are thinking/feeling or why they do something – to be a good little researcher and keep coming back to the behavior. But, staying humble around we don’t really know, there still is some value in speculating – if only to remember that there are always reasons for any problematic behaviors, and usually reasons that involve something we did.
- He kept looking at me very intently.
- He did a behavior that my friend Bob said was usually a sign of them being interested in you: fluffing up their feathers. He did that a lot.
- It pretty obviously was stressful to him to not be able to get out of the cage when he wanted to come see me, but in his frustration he did a couple of interesting things. He only “screamed” (apparently a bird behavior technical term) twice – and for these reasons (I think):
- The first time – after interacting with Oliver a lot for maybe five minutes – I had moved 20 feet away from the cage to have a conversation with another guy. “Hey, what are you doing over there? Come back over here by me!” (What do I know? But I think that’s how it went down.)
- The second time, I was standing right in front of him – with my nose buried in a bird magazine article about eclectus parrots (him). “Hey dummy, what are you doing reading an article about me when you have the real thing standing right here!?” He wanted my complete attention – I think.
- He spent a lot of time on my shoulder.
- He engaged in some of the same flattering but problematic mating behaviors as at Visit 2. Problematic – to be interrupted or there can be very difficult consequences (see tomorrow’s post) – but still very definitely moving towards me.
So many people told me they wanted to hear how this visit went – and wanted photos! – so I am putting this post up sooner rather than later. There actually were some other more challenging aspects to my 4-hour visit to Phoenix Landing, but I’ll save them for tomorrow’s post.