I have very exciting news! And lots of it!
I shared my videos of Storm with a few people who were much more experienced with Amazon behavior than myself. I had my ideas on what Storm was trying to tell me… but no confirmation. Well, I got my confirmation when Anna Sloan (Macaw & Cockatoo Rescue of NM) said to me, “He’s head over heels for you!”
The thing she picked up on that I didn’t was that Storm was showing he was getting mildly anxious because he really wanted to step up and I wasn’t asking him to.
But I still didn’t take him up on it. I knew there was a chance Dave could walk in the room and spook us both, resulting in a bite.
But what I did notice was how purple and pink his beak was… he ate more berries! This time, he decided he really likes raspberries and not blueberries so much. Which I am sure you will understand by looking at the photo below.
I was able to capture a picture of his colorful beak, too! Here he is, guilty as charged…Later he actually had a seed from a raspberry on his beak which was pretty funny and cute to see. We had actually been seriously worried about changing over his diet as he didn’t seem to be eating for the first few days, aside from messing with some various foods we offered… there was no real consumption of them. He lost 30 grams in 5 days.
And lastly… yes, I got Storm to step up nicely WITHOUT biting me! The video is below…
Now, not everything went as planned in this video. Originally, I had imagined having him step up from a perch or the side of the cage where he would reach his leg out to me. However, he was on the bottom when I went up to him and so when I opened the door, he wasn’t in the “ideal” stepping up position.
Because I had a table with a scale on it nearby, he showed interest in going there. He had been on the scale his first day here and I think it was familiar and safe to him. I let him get himself there, steadying the table for him along the way. He climbed up and weighed himself, which is when I realized he was 30 grams lighter than 5 days earlier.
After talking to him for three full minutes, I placed my hand in front to give him the option to step up and he did. He made me a little uneasy by moving off my hand right away and close to my bicep. So what felt like forever… was only a few seconds before I was ready to set him back down again. However, when I watched the video back later, I realized I didn’t reinforce him enough for doing such a great job stepping up on me in the first place.
So for me to immediately ask him to get back down for no good reason (chicken wasn’t enough to persuade him), it wasn’t going to happen. Once he felt like he got some pretty ideal time with me, then he stepped off. It took about 5 minutes for him to step off, and by my choice. It really made me realize I need to make sure he feels like he is getting reinforcement for stepping up so nicely and that reinforcement to him is spending time with me. I should have made it more fun and reinforcing. Maybe offering to pet him or talking to him sweetly.
Might be kind of hard to see in the video but he regurgitated for me the whole time he was on me. The full video was 15 minutes, 19 seconds and I couldn’t post that long of a video (maximum is 10 minutes) and instead of doing it in parts, I decided to just explain it to you guys instead. It really was not that entertaining to watch. Plus, Bandit was talking the whole time and you couldn’t hear me over him, haha…
Right now I feel that I am the only thing holding back my progress with Storm. He is showing all the signs of wanting to be with me and interacting, but my intimidation is getting the better of me.
Jamieleigh Womach has been working with parrots and toucans since the age of 17. She isn’t homeless but is home less than she prefers to be. She travels the world with her husband, daughter, and a flock full of parrots with whom she shares the stage.