You may be wondering which day Storm took his first bath, well, it was also on day 9. The same day he accepted a male figure! I was extremely happy with day 9 of Storm being here as he made SO much progress in one day, it was unbelievable. I kept waiting for someone to pinch me!
I had really wanted to try taking Storm into the shower with me, however, Dave didn’t feel it was a good idea to trust him like that yet and I didn’t want to put him in alone as a running shower head can be intimidating to a bird when they’re all by themselves unless they are really familiar with that sort of thing.
So, I decided to try misting Storm with a spray bottle. I had went out earlier in the day and misted my two macaws; Jinx and Comet. My macaws are mostly fans of taking showers through the natural Florida rainstorms but that day, they were all for the spray bottle! It was a very hot day… the other birds didn’t want it, though. And I made sure to respect that. Not all birds like being misted with a spray bottle.
I made sure Storm was in a calm, comfortable place. For him, it was on this black table I’d been using to weigh him daily so he was very used to being on it. I made sure he didn’t show any signs of being scared of the bottle just being in my hand and close to him.
Since Storm already trusted me, I knew I would be able to tell if he didn’t like the misting of the water and stop before betraying his trust. This is when I knew I had more “deposits in the bank than withdrawals”.
I pointed the water bottle about 2 feet above his head and slowly pulled in it towards me as it misted out and lightly fell over Storm’s body. He shook his head a little, wondering what just happened but didn’t appear to be startled. I did it again, reading his body language every time to make sure he wasn’t irritated, scared or bothered by it.
Since he wasn’t, I kept it going and pretty soon he fluffed up the feathers on his head. This told me he was starting to like it and I began spraying more often between reps… eventually he became vocal and got really into it.
Once I left (as I had run out of water!) I saw him climb into his water dish and bathe his chest himself! I was so proud I rushed and got my camera to get it on tape. Luckily, he showed me a little bit of it so I could share it with all of you but stopped quickly after. I got some great photos and video of his soaked body afterwards though!
Tip to take home: Your birds at home should be bathing 3-7 times per week, especially those with more dander than others (those cockatoos!) and those living in houses with smokers (such as Storm). Smoke can irritate a bird’s skin and feathers causing them to chew and eventually pluck in order to preen them clean. Over-preening is very common in households with smokers. Your bird needs to be able to bathe as often as they need whether it’s a spray bottle from you, in their own dish inside their cage, or in the shower on a shower perch… even outside in an aviary works great for these guys! Find the way your bird likes to bathe and give him the opportunity to do so as often as possible!
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 flockful of parrots with whom she shares the stage.