Wednesday, August 22, 2007


It's a cosmic punishment for being so smug when he first came home with us. I know that. That's what happens when you have pride. You get part of your cuticle torn away from your thumb. Poor Christian.

We're having some aggression issues with Sasha. We were foolish (so foolish!) when we first brought him home, and we have unleashed upon ourselves Nature, red in tooth and claw. Literally. I doubt that Sasha had any structure in his previous homes, if his behavior is any indication. He gets frustrated very, very quickly and his moods can change faster than a teenage girl's. All of the bird books espouse structure and consistency in the same way that books about human children do. They need rules, the books say, they need to rely upon their humans for the guidance as well as for food and shelter as, in their captive situations, they cannot provide any of these things for themselves. Don't begin patterning your bird with negative behavior when you first bring them home as it will lead to problems down the road. Carefully monitor your bird's posture and vocalizations as they will tell you what your bird is feeling and how to respond to it. Yep, yep, all true.

The charming and hilarious video below? Oh, if we could only go back and undo what has been done. He's nesting now, trying to build a home for a mate that will never come. He's mercurial and irritable and wants everything his way because we've set no boundaries. Christian can no longer pick him up from the ground or play with him in the same manner as he could even a week ago.

Birds bite because that's the only way they know how to communicate certain messages. This morning, Christian tried to step Sasha up onto a t-perch. Sasha didn't want to go, but Christian persisted, as he had always been able to do in the past. Sasha latched onto his thumb and wouldn't let go. I had to intervene with another hand-held perch and put Sasha back in his cage to allow Christian to tend to his very badly battered hand. It was torn in two places and bitten in several others. It's gotten very hard to tell which bites are new and which are old as Sasha will preen the scabs off the old bites if given half a chance.

It's a hard thing, wanting an animal to love you because you love it. We know Sasha is very attached to Christian, but fear of being bitten has changed a relationship that they both had grown to enjoy and rely upon. We now have to totally restructure how we interact with Sasha, try to establish a wholly different relationship, and that will be hard. We had gotten so complacent about being able to pick him up off of his cage and play with him that it will be a wrench to have to be more disciplined about using hand-held perches. I'm actually quite heartbroken that this poor bird that has had such an inconsistent life up until now has to endure more change because we were too lazy to pattern our interactions with him properly from the first day we brought him home.

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