I recently had a birdie-imbalance. I was becoming aware of it, mostly through editing my videos and seeing how much Jinx, my blue throat macaw, was not enjoying or really benefiting from the interactions like Morgan, the camelot macaw, was. She was very motivated by his presence, but he was pretty much affected oppositely by hers.
It was time for some much needed one-on-one with my macaw, Jinx, for being such a patient guy through this process.
With hormone season here, Patty became nervous of Morgan's hormonal behavior. Her droppings were very wet and watery, and she was shaking a lot so Patty brought her into her RV (she is staying in our RV on our property while she finds a place of her own) into a travel carrier for over a week. She buffet fed her, since she had some weight drop since we began training (remember when flight training you will see a slow weight decline because most pet parrots are overweight and not used to the new form of exercise. Then you will notice an increase of muscle as you work on ascending and stamina.) just to be sure nothing was wrong health-wise.
Due to this, Morgan was anxious to come out and hang out outside of her travel cage. I decided to spend some down time with her not flying in case she did have some sort of health issue. You never want to fly a sick bird as it can quicken the progress of the illness.
Ways to discourage flight:
- Bathe your bird so it's too heavy and uncomfortable to fly. They are more likely to preen and dry off first which gives you time for hanging out.
- Make sure your bird is full, or has just been fed, so it isn't looking to formally train.
- Place your bird close enough to you that it doesn't feel ditched and like it needs to find you, but far enough away it won't be all over you if you don't want that.
- Give your bird something to do; foraging or foot toys.
So here is what it looked like with Morgan, as she needed a hang out session almost as much as Jinx did:
Plus I'd been asked constantly if all my interactions with Morgan were just formal training or not. So finally I was able to share footage that was non-formal training... even though every interaction is a training session!
Sometimes you need to be reminded of keeping your own personal balance within your flock at home. It's incredibly difficult for me to remember not to prioritize the client's bird over my own sometimes. Because each client bird is "temporary" so I only have "so much time" to complete my tasks which makes me want to go ALL IN. And that causes a severe imbalance with my own birds which isn't really fair to them. In the past, I've always taken on client birds when I'm in a constant show environment which makes it impossible for me to go off balance. But in this current situation it has been really easy for me to get tunnel-vision.
Keep yourself in check! For me, it's through watching video footage and recognizing behavior and things and being able to really analyze what I am watching and doing. Find your tool.