Remember how my Swainson Toucan, Fiji, hates being outside and is completely terrified of the outdoors? Well, guess what? She isn’t anymore! That’s right. My toucan is no longer afraid of the outdoors. She now sleeps, plays and flies outside and doesn’t cry or scream about it either. I’m sure you’re wondering how long it took me. No, not a year, not even close! It took me 24 hours! If that! Here’s how I did it… Do you recall that outdoor aviary I was talking about in my previous entry?
Photo by Dave Location: Orlando, FL Aviaries By: Cages By Design
Well, I went back home and put it together. Fiji’s cage inside is by a window so she can see outside. For the first few days I had the aviaries up, I rotated my parrots within them. Fiji watched as my two Camelot macaws climbed all around in one, then how my cockatoos were small enough to actually fly from branch to branch. Then one day I decided it was Fiji’s turn. I waited until around 5pm or so, after I knew Fiji was full and had eaten all day long already. The sun wasn’t going down quite yet but it had begun to go down earlier and earlier and I knew by 7pm, it would be dark. I took her out to the aviary after making it simply designed with three large and long branches acting as perches and plenty of water and food dishes. But I only provided water inside since she had already eaten. At first, she was very skittish and jumped every time one of the branches bounced a little which of course, made them bounce more. I stayed to calm her down some and show her around. Then, I went inside the house to watch. She immediately began crying but to my surprise, stopped after just a few minutes. Maybe 5 minutes. I was about to take her back out and bring her inside – thinking it was too big of a step for her – but then she fluffed up for bed.
She slept out in the aviary that night and hasn’t come back in the house since! She’s the most active she has been since she can jump further distances and actually fly around in it compared to her indoor cage. I think the new things about being outside excite her and keep her from becoming bored. I put blackberries out there for her in the morning for breakfast and I haven’t seen her so happy before. I’ve also noticed she isn’t territorial at all over the cage when I come around so all her aggressive behavior has subsided. I don’t want to take the risk of saying it was a cure all… but it sort of looks that way!
Article by Jamieleigh Womach. She 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 whom she shares the stage with.