Thursday, December 31, 2009

Barking Mad

I am at my sister's house again. She has a shih-tzu/poodle cross. This morning, while I was still in bed, I could hear the dog barking at Manzi. After a while, my sister got upset with her dog and brought him downstairs. Soon enough, the barking upstairs continued. At first I thought her dog, Peanut, had gone back upstairs, but then I heard him howling downstairs while the barking was going on upstairs. It seems that Manzi now has perfect mastery over barking like a little dog. Manzi has been barking all day long. I hope he forgets how to do it soon enough after we get back. There are worse noises, but I can see his barking getting annoying. I have heard of many other parrot-hound households telling stories of their African Greys barking, but since I don't have a dog I never thought I'd have a barking parrot.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Traveling

We are on vacation. Manzi usually hates his travel cage. On the first leg of our journey (a three-hour drive) Manzi began to bend the bars of his travel cage. I moved a toy in front of them to divert his attention. I am going to have to get a new travel cage in the future as he has damaged his current one quite badly. Anyway, after arrival at my sister's house, Manzi immediately began imitating the sound of their house alarm beeps. It beeps every time a door opens. It was funny because my nephew, Benjamin, keep asking, "Who's here?" as he heard the door "open." My sister kept having to answer that it was just Manzi again. There was a party on the day we arrived. Manzi was so loud, but the party was louder so it wasn't a problem. There were many inquiries about him and he seemed to be a pretty big hit.

I stayed with my sister a couple days. By the time we left he was saying her name.

Now we are in L.A. Manzi did much better on the last 3.5-hour drive and just sat contentedly. I let him out of his travel cage for much of the day as he always wants to be right with me. He is being a good sport and letting others hold him. He even laid on his back in my brother's hands!

I would like to devise a better travel system for Manzi in the car. He doesn't like being in his travel cage. I think a perch of some sort would be better. One that buckles into the seat belt and then just stick newspapers underneath him. It might take some getting used to, in order for him to learn not to leave the perch. Any volunteers to build me that perch?

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

New Plan and Manzi's Prank

On Tuesday Manzi and I got another roommate. It is a very nice lady who will be staying with us for a month. She likes animals and Manzi hasn't shown any aggression towards her. Instead he is intensely curious and would love to go watch her and say hi. Anyway, she told me that she'll knock during the day because she doesn't want to barge in and startle me or Manzi. Yesterday, I was taking a nap when I heard someone knock on the door. It woke me up but I figured that it was the lady and she'll come in if I don't answer. After a couple minutes, the knocking continued and I was wondering why she didn't just come in. I scrambled to get up and go answer the door. No one was there. Then Manzi began his laughing and did the "knocking" noise once more. That is the first time I have been tricked by him making a knocking noise.

With regards to flying, I have come up with a new plan. I need to go to the desert and work with Manzi there, where there is less problems with raptors and with terrain. I'm really not sure where the closest desert is from here, but the valley is pretty desertic so maybe somewhere around there would be great. I heard that even though Manzi can always find me in the park, it is because he learned to follow my voice and not to navigate the terrain. That is why he quickly got lost in the new park. There were many people there so my voice got drowned out. In a flat terrain, he will be able to fly around, and then I can find places with added difficulties and slowly build from there.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

No Fear

Finally, Manzi has lost all fear of the stand. Today he has flown to it several times of his own accord. Later today I will do recall training to reinforce flying between me and stand. I have been using the word "cage" to signal Manzi to fly to his cage. Now I will use "stand" and he'll figure it out soon enough.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Perch Success

Today Manzi actually flew to the perch. I was only three feet away, but that is huge progress. When I had him fly to the perch from further than three feet he instead went to his cage. So, I sent him from three feet and he continued to make the landings. I will slowly increase that distance.

I am not sure if I posted the exact process used to get here. First, I let Manzi get used to the perch being in the room. After a while, I held his feet and brought him up to it. He knew I was holding his feet so he wouldn't try and fly away. Then, I released one foot and had him put it on the perch. As soon as it touched the perch, I clicked (with the clicker) and rewarded him. Once he heard the click, he would take his foot off the perch and turn to me for the reward. I kept doing this and within a few days required both feet to be on the perch for the reward.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Perch

Yesterday I did recall training with Manzi using the perch. I would put him on his cage, call him to me, reward him and then set him on the perch to eat his reward. It worked very well. He was comfortable enough to stand on one foot while using the other to eat his treat. After doing this a few times, I had him fly to his perch (he was about 6 inches so it was more of a jump). He landed on it, but then immediately chickened out and took off. So, I went back to having him step up to the perch. Today, I did the same thing, and after he went on the perch, he walked around a bit on it biting at different parts. That is a huge improvement. Before he would not move if he was on the perch. Hopefully he will begin flying from me to the perch in no time. Maybe my week estimation was not too bad after all.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Broken Glass

Last night Manzi added another broken glass to the list. I think it is his fourth. I had just gotten home from Thanksgiving holiday. Manzi was doing laps around the apartment because he had so much energy built up. I accidentally left a glass on the counter. It wasn't near the edge, but that set is so fragile and all he did was tip it over and it shattered.

I am going to work more with the perch this coming week. Manzi is still afraid of it, but he will stand on it if I give him a treat. Hopefully, by the end of this week he'll be do A-B flights between me and the perch. Realistically, he'll be standing on it longer than a couple of seconds!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Medicine and the retrieve

I don't know what it is about medicine bottles, but Manzi's got a thing for them. I had a root canal and am on antibiotics. Manzi keeps taking the medicine bottle in his foot and holding it above his head for it to scratch him. He waits a few seconds and when it doesn't respond, he re-examines it and then tries again.

Training the retrieve has come to a halt. Manzi figured out that he needs to put the penny in the metal dish to get his reward. He even figured out how to reach/move towards the dish when it wasn't directly below him. The problem is that he isn't really taking steps towards the dish. Maybe one step, but otherwise he just chucks the penny in the direction of the dish. When it is about 5 inches away he has great accuracy, but any further and he misses all the time. As soon as I give him the penny he immediately chucks it towards the dish. I'm going to keep trying at a distance that I know he will make it in the dish and then go away very slowly.

Flight training update:
Yesterday I was thinking that maybe it is getting safe, but then I saw a juvenily hawk chase after a bird (unsuccessfully) within few hundred yards from where I used to fly Manzi. I also saw another hawk catch some kind of rodent, but that was more than a mile from home.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Huge Field a no go

Today I went to a huge field where there weren't any trees for 1+ miles. The only problem was the road along the field had telephone poles and on every other pole was a raptor. A few were flying around too. It was mid-day and maybe the raptors were snoozing, but I didn't feel like taking any chances. Maybe I need to drive out to the desert. I don't think there's much out there. Anyone know of one nearby?

The retrieve

It was too windy to fly Manzi yesterday, but I have been working on teaching him to retrieve. This is commonly done by having them drop an object into a metal dish so it makes an audible noise. Then, they will figure out that they have to drop it in the dish to get the treat and you can start moving the dish further away from them so they have to walk/fly with the object.

Today Manzi figured out that he needs to drop the penny in the dish to get the treat. I was really excited. I began to put the dish further away so Manzi had to walk to drop it in and he got it, especially since this was only the third training session. I will work with him later today again.

It is not windy so I might fly him too. There is a place that is 1 mile from any trees or roads so I am going to try that. It will require walking though.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Juvenile Hawk

It was either a red shoulder or red tail juvenile that went after Manzi today. It was 3-4 times his size and got within an arm's distance of him. Manzi was very scared and wouldn't come down to me right away. After a while he was fine though.

I heard that in the fall, the juvenile raptors are weaned and get desperate for prey. On the other hand, all of the spring babies of other birds are more agile and already figured out how to avoid the raptors. It is a pretty bad season for Manzi. There are many desperate birds looking for a meal and Manzi might be their ticket.

Maybe I will ground him for a few weeks. That might just make him a weak flier and an easy target when he is back flying. I'm not sure what to do. There is no way I can find an area without raptors. They're all over the place here. Maybe a large gym or auditorium?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Costume

This past weekend I put the superhero costume on Manzi. I need to make some adjustments to the fit, but Manzi did okay with it. He wasn't happy, but he took treats from me. If he really hates something he won't even eat his favorite treats. Next time Aimee and Glen come up for the weekend we are going to make a super hero video of Manzi.

Today I am going to take Manzi out flying again. I ran out of grapes so we'll see how it goes with walnuts and almonds.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Manzi's outdoor flights

We made huge progress over the weekend. My friends from college came and stayed with me and the husband has a lot of experience directing videos. He brought his camera and took some shots of Manzi flying around. I did the editing (so as not to insult Glen). Manzi did wonderful. He didn't get into any trouble and was very good on his recalls. The movie is a bit long as it is broken into sections, but sit back and enjoy.


Please rate the video if you can. I need to get high ratings if he is to ever be famous.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Peregrine Falcon!!

Manzi was out flying today when he had a big scare. A peregrine falcon came after him. This isn't a picture of the actual falcon (note the jesses), just one that looked the same. My neighbor was out and saw it from a different angle, so here is the story pieced together. The falcon came and landed in a tree nearby. Manzi was flying right past the tree when the falcon took off after him. Manzi did a large circle and then a very tight circle and dive (he added a deep scream to the dive). The falcon grabbed one of his wings, but just got the feathers. Manzi then did an emergency landing into a tree and the falcon landed in a nearby tree. I was very surprised because I didn't even see the falcon to begin with. I went and called Manzi down and he came but was definitely a bit shook up. Since the falcon didn't leave the area I took Manzi inside and now he is happily eating, but still full of energy.

The peregrine falcon was about double the size of Manzi and had a much larger wingspan. I got quite scared. I thought that falcons will go after Manzi by diving, not by ambushing him from a tree and chasing him.

Friday, October 30, 2009

New Park

Yesterday I took Manzi to a new park. It is a huge park. It borders a very busy farm road, but at one end I am more than 1/4 mile from the road. I decided to let Manzi fly. He is not used to so much open space. He did flights more than 10 times longer than outside my place. He was getting tired though and was flying lower and lower. After about 45 minutes of flying (and hanging out in trees) he took off towards the busy road (cars go up to 70 mph on it). He flew out of my sight, but other have better sight than me. When I went after him, he immediately began contact calling. He was easy to spot, but on a tree right next to the road. I called him down and he tried about seven times to get down to me. It must have been a combination of the wind and the new place, cause he kept missing his landings. I heard him do his panic call so I know that he was frightened. The sun set and then I began to worry he might spend the night there (and potentially get hit by a car). I decided to get him more worried by walking away. Luckily, that worked and he flew after me. After doing a few circles he was finally able to land on me and was happy to get treats. I'm not sure what to do from here. I could go even further from the road (another couple hundred yards). I don't know why Manzi took off towards the road. It was a new park, there were lots of soccer teams playing and there was a bit of wind.

Today I am going to get a t-stand to do A-B flights. Hopefully that will help him with landings. He is still having a lot of trouble stopping and thus lands in trees and then flies down to me from a closer distance.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Roomba

I have a roomba now, which I love. Manzi also is very interested in it. He has already figured out how to turn it on. He chases it and sometimes will hop on. Once he is on the roomba he often gets scared and bails out.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Brooklyn and Rey

Yesterday I finally met up with another person who aims toward free flight. He has a 4.5 month old Green Wing Macaw, Brooklyn, who is beginning with free flights. Currently, Brooklyn is in a harness while outside, but he did great. He flies to Rey, his owner, and then back to his perch. He flew towards me once, but I held out my arm and he then flew away. Brooklyn is three times the size of Manzi! Manzi was scared to death of Brooklyn and wanted to stay as far away from him as possible. Due to that, Manzi did horrible and stayed pretty high in the trees for most of the time only coming down a few times. By the end, Manzi was not panicking as badly, but it will be a while until they are friends.

A really good thing happened. It has been a while since another bird has gone after Manzi. The last few times it has happened, Manzi panicked and took off as fast as he could. Well, yesterday a black bird dived down to Manzi and chased him. Manzi flew very fast, made some loud noises and as soon as he lost the bird, he flew right back around and landed in a nearby tree. It made me feel pretty confident that even though a bird chases Manzi, he can keep his head on his shoulders and not just take off.
video

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Costume

I just finished the costume for Manzi this morning. I don't want to force it on him and it just so happened that an old water bottle volunteered to do the modeling. Over the next couple weeks I will give Manzi treats a few times a day for getting close to the costume. Hopefully within a short period of time he'll be fine with it being on him and the games will begin!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

No Fast Stopping

Manzi has been flying incredible these past two times. Today we were out for 1.5 hours and Manzi didn't get into any trouble and he did 20 flights which is way more than he's ever done before. It seems that one thing he still doesn't do is fast stops without turning. If he is in a tree and I am too far away when I call (100+ feet) he will fly towards me and then since he's going too fast, he'll pass right by and do some turns to finally land in a nearby tree. Once he is close in a nearby tree, he immediately flies down to me. Finally, when I went far away, he made the flight, but he didn't pick up much speed to begin with. He never stopped after flying fast. I don't know if he will ever learn that. Manzi did do a fantastic dive which impressed everyone watching (he was flying straight and then turned nearly upside-down as he dove sharply to one side). Also, his indoor behavior today was so much better than it has been over the past few days. Maybe we are both back into the routine of being around each other and hopefully it stays this way.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Successful Flying

Yesterday Manzi did great outside. I chopped up two grapes into eight pieces each and Manzi went crazy for them. He is still having trouble stopping from high speeds, so when I went too far away and called him, he was going so fast so he dodged me at the last second and did many large circles. He went further away than ever before, but he circled right back around and landed in a nearby tree. I left him for a few minutes and then called him and he came right down to me. I was very happy with his recall yesterday. I didn't have time to take him out tonight, but we'll try again tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Flights

I ended up taking Manzi out on Sunday. He did pretty well, but it was windy and he missed many of his landings. We're going out again today so hopefully all goes well.

Manzi doesn't spend more than 10-15 minutes eating breakfast in the morning and in the wild they spend much more time than that. So, I tried making breakfast more difficult by wrapping pellets up in newspaper. It took me a few minutes to make many little balls of bunched up newspaper (each holding a few pellets). I was disappointed when Manzi finished his breakfast in 20 minutes. It only took a few minutes longer. I need to make it much harder. Maybe instead of putting a few pellets in each piece of newspaper I should put just one pellet per newspaper. Also, I can spread them around the bottom of the cage so he has to go digging for it and maybe even put balls of newspaper with nothing in it to make him work harder. I'll try that for this evening's dinner.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Patriotic

Out of all the things that my friends could have taught Manzi, they choose the National Anthem. He can only sing the first few words, but he can whistle most of the song. All morning long I had my own patriotic pet reminding me of how great of a nation we have!

I arrived back yesterday and Manzi was so happy. He even gifted me some of his partially digested food. I was not impressed with the gift, but I guess it is the thought that counts.

I didn't want to take him flying yesterday as he had been fed too many treats. Today is windy and it look like it might rain. If the weather improves we'll go flying, but otherwise it will be postponed till another day.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Update on Manzi

This is directly from the family taking care of Manzi:

Adele!! I Love Manzi , he cracks me up. Im trying to teach him songs and so far we are progressing. He's so smart. You'll see when you get back .. oh and you are not going to like what he learned from Tyler. O.O hehehehe..


I am very happy to hear the update. Luckily, since I'm still in the country I can call anytime to get updates. Manzi seems to be doing very well in a house that has so many kids and different things going on. He doesn't have a chance to get bored.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Manzi with Neighbor

My brother went down south, so I had to leave Manzi with a neighbor while I am in New York. The neighbor has three young children, so Manzi has plenty of company. I found a volunteer with a truck and we moved Manzi's large cage. He is now near a T.V. and window. I called my neighbor and she said Manzi is already copying the yelling of her children. I heard Manzi making all kinds of noises in the background which is a sign of contentment (he will only be completely quiet or scream if he is upset). I was quite nervous to leave him for three weeks, but so far Manzi is doing just fine. He will be more than ready to go out flying when I get back (unless he has broken feathers flapping around inside his cage).

Monday, September 21, 2009

Manzi outside

The past two times Manzi has been flying outside have been a success. Manzi is now coming to me on cue to get grapes. He hasn't gotten into any more trouble either. I think it really helped to remember that after he comes to me, to send him back out so he knows that he does not have to go inside if he comes to me. When it starts getting dark, Manzi usually comes back to me and doesn't want to go back out flying. At this point, I bring him in. I give him the option of flying again and let him decide that he doesn't want to go back out. This way, he has a very fast recall at any given point. I still haven't been able to get a good video just because it is so hard to follow Manzi and it is also hard to see him while he is flying since he's so small. I have gained a greater respect for those who film eagles and other birds while in flight.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Manzi and Samuel

Manzi is currently being cared for by Samuel while I am in France for the week. Samuel said they were doing good, but today I got this update (it was hard not to find this funny; Samuel is great):

Alright well we were friends right up until he punched the crap out of my head!! It hurt a lot. And what’s worse he didn’t even bite me it was all his beak blunt force attacking me. I was laying on the couch watching TV in Samuel time (that’s right I’m not just lazy) when all of the sudden I hear Manzi flapping his wings and he is right next to me so I throw my hands in the air but he was too quick. He nailed me in the head. What made it worse was I had my phone in my hands so I accidentally threw my phone straight up, and everybody knows what goes up must come down. So that nailed me in the head too. He made a daring second dive at my head and got me he flew to his cage after that joust. Man I was ready to kill him but instead I put a grape in his cage to get him back in and shut the door behind him.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Whistle Recall

Manzi has been spiraling downhill with recalls. He has been wandering around on patios, chewing on neighbor's belongings and not coming back to me on command. I gave him a manditory furlough from flying for the past two days. I left him indoors, much to his dismay, and just did indoor recalls. I also reinforced the whistle recall. I did that by giving him a very high value treat when he came to me after I blew the whistle. He did he recalls perfectly indoors with no hesitation.

Today, we went back outdoors and Manzi did much better. He did five recalls while he was out and flew to me every time I blew the whistle without missing once. It started getting too windy and Manzi was having a bit of trouble flying with the wind being so choppy. He still did all his recalls and is now inside being well behaved after all the exercise he got today. I have been using pieces of grapes as the reward. That is currently his favorite.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Improvement with social differences

We have started a new phase. To jump up Manzi's comfort level with Samuel, we brought Samuel into Manzi's comfort zone with rewards. With other men, Manzi begins to fidget at about 8-10 feet. With Samuel, it was about 5 feet. In just one training sessions this dropped to nothing. By the third training session, Manzi was doing almost all of his tricks for Samuel. It is good in many way: It shows Manzi that Samuel will not hurt him, it shows Manzi that he can work for Samuel and will be rewarded for doing so, also it gives Manzi a comfortable place as follower and shows him that he doesn't have to be dominant to be taken care of and even rewarded, and that it is alright for Samuel to be dominant over him (his dominion can be trusted). We will continue with the trick training. It has been extremely helpful to have the play stand back inside. Manzi is already falling backwards when I point my finger at him (to play dead).

Manzi is still having aggressive bouts with the door. I'm trying to distract him, but have not been able to solve or even improve this situation. Hopefully we'll get it figured out soon enough.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Balcony again

My brother talked me into letting Manzi out this morning after breakfast. Manzi was getting into so much trouble inside so maybe flying would help him release some energy. Manzi was a bit hesistant to fly around at first (maybe because he never goes out in the morning). After a few minutes he was off and dissappeared. I found him nearby in a tree and let him be. After not returning for 30 minutes, I called him down from the tree. Instead of coming he did a lot of flying around. He would get with a foot or so and then take off enjoying himself. All was well until he thought it might be fun to land on a balcony again. This time, there was nothing for him to chew except the railing (which I didn't worry about). He wouldn't come down and was very interested in the noises coming from inside the house. A couple was fighting (quite loudly). I didn't want to knock and their door and interrupt them to get Manzi down, so I just called my sis and talked with her to tempt Manzi down (making him jealous I am doing something other than paying attention to him). It worked and after 5 minutes Manzi came down to me. After getting a grape he was ready to take off again. I let him play in a tree for a few minutes, but then I took him inside since I didn't want him be stuck out in the heat of the day. If so, he would get too hot and wait to fly down until it cooled down. It is a major set back in training because I am reinforcing that if he comes down to me, I will put him away. I wasn't sure what else to do since I have engagements to attend today. I shouldn't have let him out to begin with so early. I think for the time being I will stick to evening flying sessions.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Long Update

Quite a few things have happened since the last update. I was scared about a week ago. Manzi was outside flying around in the park while I was having a barbecue with my neighbors. I stopped hearing Manzi, but I figured he just went further away and would be back. After 20 minutes I decided to go looking for him. I couldn't find him in the usual spots. I went to the far side of the apartment complex (where he has never been) and found him up in a tree with a man watching him. I called Manzi and he came right down to me. The man told me he found Manzi in the park (where I was with him) so he took him to his place and tried to put him in a cage. Then Manzi bit him and flew up into the tree. Since Manzi hadn't been over there before he wasn't sure how to get back and was just waiting for me to get him. I couldn't believe that the man wouldn't have asked me or other people around if Manzi belonged to one of us. I didn't see him take Manzi either. It scared me because I never thought Manzi would just go to someone else, let alone a man (as he usually dislikes men). In addition, the person was just going to keep Manzi in a cage. If I couldn't find Manzi, I would have assumed that a hawk got him and wouldn't have thought to see if a neighbor took him. Now I know better. That situation made me realize I need to watch Manzi a lot better. I trust Manzi, but I don't trust other people.

After that situation I decided to work on having Manzi fly around and recall without giving him quite so much freedom. The first day he didn't want to recall so quickly after being let out, but he did come back and after getting a grape and being let fly again he did recalls much quicker. Yesterday I did the same thing and Manzi did quite a few recalls being awarded with a grape each time. He is doing quite well and I feel much more comfortable with his flying. I recall him about every 5-10 minutes and he comes, gets his grape and then goes back to playing.

The situation with Samuel is greatly improving. Samuel can now pick up Manzi if he gives him a treat first. Manzi also hasn't bitten Samuel any more times since the first bite on his arm.

Lastly, we finally brought the play stand back inside and Manzi can already do his "play dead" trick. I cue him by pointing my finger at him (like a gun) and he falls backwards. He isn't doing the turn around trick, but he hasn't done it on his play stand before so we just need to work on that.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

More Free Flights and Manzi the Super Hero!

Today Manzi got into a bit of trouble. He was flying around outside when he decided to land on a neighbor's patio. They had chewable looking patio furniture and Manzi could not withstand the temptation. He ignored my recall and went for the furniture. Luckily I got to him in time to stop any damage. I didn't want to take him in quite yet so I let him fly around some more while I conversed with some neighbors. After a few minutes, Manzi landed on my shoulder ready to go inside.

Also, I found out that Manzi's name has African origins. My neighbor, from Uganda, has a nephew named Manzi which translates to "hero." I wouldn't say Manzi is a superhero, but he is definitely my hero. I took some videos that I'll edit and post later.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Out of sight

Today, Manzi did a few flights outside, but landed out of view. I stayed where I was chatting with a neighbor for about 30 minutes and Manzi didn't return. I could hear him so I knew he wasn't really far away (he was about 150 yards away). I wanted Manzi to return all on his own. I finally went looking for him and Manzi flew down to me from the top of a big oak tree. He flew at an angle steeper than 45 degrees and was able to dodge the branches along the way. I was very impressed with the flight. Then I sent him out on a few more flights to practice recall. He flew back and forth between a tree and me, but one of the flights he dodged the tree and did a big loop returning to me. It is nice to see Manzi having fun flying and it seems that every day he is learning a new maneuver. He did his recalls excellent and didn't miss or hesitate on a single one. I'm not sure if I should have gone looking for Manzi, or have given him more time to find me. I am worried that he'll assume that I will go and get him every time he flies off and he won't learn that he has to come back to me on his own. This time he was in an unfamiliar direction. Tomorrow I probably won't have time to take him outside and we are going to L.A. for this coming week. I probably won't let Manzi fly around there because he'll be in unfamiliar territory.

More flying

Yesterday I took Manzi out again at 5pm. It was warm, but I didn't think it was too hot. Despite that, Manzi did a few flights and then hung out with me with his mouth open and panting. I stayed reading in the park for quite a while. By the time 6:30 came around it had cooled off so Manzi began to fly around. He did longer flights and was out of view for 10 seconds at a time, but he always circled back around. Some neighbors were watching. They were impressed because they remember that just a while back Manzi spent the night in a tree and I had used up my voice trying to get him down. Those days are in the past. I am going to stick with this for a while, letting him fly around while I read. We are still working on a good recall outdoors. Manzi is good if he is on a clear branch with easy access to me. Once his recall improves and he builds up more muscle I will take him to other areas to continue working on his flight skills. He only is in flight for at most 20-30 seconds at a time. He is not as out-of-breath as he used to be, but he still has a ways to go before he is flying around for 10-20 minutes at a time.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Aerial Acrobatics

Today Manzi did some acrobatics. He did very fast flying with quick banks then would drop down to me. He is getting better and better at flying maneuvers every day. He also went back up to the roof of a building today and pulled stuff out of the gutter. He didn't listen to my recall at first, but after 30 minutes he listened to my recalls. I think he realized that I would keep letting him play in the trees after he came to me so he kept coming back to get treats and then continue playing. Today was great progress.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Pink feather

Manzi grew in a pink/white feather with his last molt. It is kinda hard to see (let alone take a picture of) so I am trying to move his other feathers out of the way with one hand while I'm taking his picture with the other hand.

An update on flight training: I have been taking Manzi out while I read in the evenings. Yesterday, he decided to walk around on the roof of the apartment. He was also able to fly from the roof almost straight down to the ground to go after some abandoned kid's toys. He also did a very fast flight dodging trees. He went out of sight a couple of times and then landed in a tree out of sight. I decided to wait a couple of minutes rather than chase after him and sure enough within just one minute he flew back to the tree right above where I read.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Continued Success

I have been taking Manzi out the past couple of days for flight training. Yesterday, he flew into a tree so I sat nearby reading a book. He came to me and back to the tree a few times, but not right when I called. He didn't panic though and he enjoyed flying around in the trees.

Today was much better. He flew to me almost immediately from the trees, although I didn't give him the cue. I sent him back to the tree and then I gave him the cue and he came back to me. He did about five flights when I gave him the cue. Finally, on the last one he landed on a branch that broke. He did a few big circles and landed 50 feet up a tree. It took him about 15 minutes before he flew down, but he did fly down without much problem. Manzi is getting more and more confident outside.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Pots and Pans

Manzi has been getting into trouble these past two days. He keeps on going to the kitchen, opening the cupboard by the sink and pulling out the pots and pans. The cupboard is just a few inches from the floor. Manzi easily pries open the door, and then not so easily pushes the heavier pans out to watch them fall the few inches to the floor. Then he goes back in for the next pan. He can even push my large glass cake pan out of the cupboard. I feel like I have a two year old. I need to get some child locks on the cupboard. I get sick of putting pots and pans back all day long.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Out for a walk

Today, I began my road to knee recovery. I want to be able to run again after hurting my knee in February. I am starting by walking every day. I took Manzi with me. It was getting quite warm. We went two miles. About 3/4 through the walk Manzi was so hot that he was panting. Even so, he still kept trying to fly to trees nearby because he wanted to play. I need to make my walks earlier before it gets too hot.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Flying around today

Today, I took Manzi out for some flight training. He hasn't been allowed to play in the trees for a few days so instead of flying to me, he went straight for the nearest tree. After two hours he tried to fly to me and missed. It was right outside my apartment, so I just went out to check on him every 20-30 minutes. The rest of the time I left my window open so I could hear him while I was working. After a while he flew down to me to get some treats. He was happy to do a few extra recalls from his favorite tree too. Now he is happily eating inside. I'm not sure if this is a good approach or if I should find a big field without trees to let him practice flying. Today I talked with Chris Biros, the free flight expert, and he gave me some very good ideas. Well, hopefully Manzi won't be such a terror the rest of the night. He has been pretty bad these past few days, probably because he is in a bad mood since he's not been allowed to play in his tree.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Another overnight scare

Manzi spent the night in the trees again on July 3rd. He was outside playing in his tree when a branch broke. He flew in a circle right when a juvenile hawk was flying over him and decided to check him out. Manzi took off. That day Manzi tried about 12 times to fly back to me, but due to his poor flight skills he kept missing. It wasn't until the next morning that after trying another 5 times he finally made the landing on my arm.

After talking to quite a bit of people, it seems that Manzi needs to improve his flight skills. He wanted to come back to me, he just didn't know how. So, yesterday we did short outdoor flights (10 feet). I am going to stick with this distance for a while and slowly build up instead of pushing him so fast like last time. This morning we did indoor recall and he did excellent. Hopefully, we can keep this up!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Pig Ear

I was at the feed store the other day and saw pig ears. I bought one for Manzi. The first day he didn't know what to do with it. By the 2nd day he was chewing on it and has been ever since. He is certainly no dog so it is going to take him a while to get through the whole thing (hopefully before it starts drawing bugs). He was a bit perturbed by me taking pictures while he was enjoying his pig ear. Manzi is just too cute.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Beginning to fly again

Manzi is not doing indoor flight recall very well. One problem is that he still doesn't accept treats while inside. He will sometimes fly to me, but only because he wants to see what I am doing. When I offer him a treat he throws it aside.

When I took Manzi outside, he played in his tree like normal. But, instead of asking him to just climb back down to get treats, I made him do a little hop to me. At first, he was very hesitant, but by the end he did a few hops to me from the tree and then back again. I am going to keep working at this. I also put him on the ground a couple of times and asked him to fly to me. He was very driven for his treats while outside. He wasn't at first, but now he sees that he can keep playing on the tree so he is very happy to come down, grab a treat and then keep playing.

I don't know why he is willing to take the treats outside, but not inside.

Monday, June 29, 2009

The attack of the killer squirrel

The last post about squirrels had both Manzi and the squirrel being curiously interested in each other. I generalized and thought all squirrels would be the same. Yesterday, two squirrels were quarreling and one ran over to the tree in which Manzi was playing. As soon as it saw Manzi, it bolted over to him about ready to pounce on him. Manzi, thinking he is tough stuff, ran towards the squirrel ready to take him on. I quickly ran over and chased the squirrel off. They were within a foot of each other!

The irritated squirrel went to a branch above Manzi and tried to jump down on him. I got some sticks and threw them towards her (don't worry, with my aim nothing is in danger of actually getting hit by me) and finally scared her away (the squirrel was in fact a female). Then I sat down on a nearby bench to continue watching Manzi. The irritated squirrel climbed up a tree and sat right above me and began eating on the tree dropping seeds and other stuff on me. I relented and moved to another spot. She was quite the feisty squirrel!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The greatest compliment

Just a bit of background: An african grey will regurgitate food as a gift or show of affection. Manzi is very taken by feet and if not stopped he will sometimes regurgitate (throw up) on feet to try and seduce them. He also did this to a new pair of shoes that he found particularly attractive.
Anyway, it has been over a year since he has ever thrown up on me because I discourage it (it is not as appealing to me as it is to him). On Thursday morning before I left to Fresno, I had Manzi in my lap, scratching his head, while I was on the computer. I wasn't paying attention to him and next thing I knew, I had some kind of liquid on my hand. I looked down and saw that he threw up on my hand and leg (chunks of pellets from breakfast). It was pretty disgusting and I was not complimented by it.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Stuffy nose

I have had a stuffy nose since Saturday. So now, every time I pick up a tissue Manzi starts blowing his nose (well, making the sound of me blowing my nose). He always does it just a half second before I actually blow my nose.

Flight training has not been implemented in quite a few days. I got to get things back together soon. Manzi did lose another two flight feathers yesterday, but I think that was just due to his regular molt. He has two new ones growing in right now too.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tic tac toe

Here is a video of him playing with the toy trying to get the treats out of the middle.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Healed Beak and Nice Behavior

Today is the first day that fluid finally stopped coming out of Manzi's beak. There is no more visible swelling either.

I have been sick the past couple of days. Today Manzi has been on his best behavior. He has been nicely staying on his cage playing with his toys all day long. My brother, Albert, gave me a 3-d tic tac toe game (here is a picture of it: http://www.siammandalay.com/game/solution/Tic_Tac_Toe/3D_tic_tac_toe.htm
It is a 3x3 grid of dowels with x's and o's that can be stacked 3 high. I finally put it in Manzi's cage today and he loved it. He spent a lot of time taking off the x's and o's (made of little blocks of wood). I restacked them a couple of times for him and the last time I hid some almonds in them. That took him about 45 minutes to get the almonds out. I spent most of the day on the couch reading and it was nice to not have to put Manzi back in his cage even once for bad behavior.

Because of him being so great, I took him outside and let him climb around in the tree for about 45 minutes. He finally figured out how to climb to the top of a branch that he hangs out on. Before he would often try, but twigs sticking out would poke him and make him climb back down. Today he sorted out that problem by chewing off every twig in his way. After 45 minutes I called him down and he happily came to me. It has been a good day.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Big show off

Yesterday we had missionaries over for dinner. After we were chatting for a while, Manzi decided he needed attention. He was making all sorts of noises, but when I took him out of his cage, he really began to show off. Manzi started flopping upside down while hanging onto my fingers. He looked like he turned to jelly. This made everyone laugh so he did it over and over again. Finally I put him back on his cage and then he began attacking his toys and ringing his bell over and over again. He also was running all over his cage. He is such a show off. He just loves the attention and really puts on a show.

About flight training, indoor recall is not going great so I am going to hold off for a while. Manzi no longer likes peanut butter so hopefully I can find something else he does like.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Hopefully Tomorrow

Today Manzi did his initial flights with an instant response. But after four, he decided he no longer felt like doing flights and quit all at once. I let him play in the tree off the leash too and he did very well. He had so much fun making all kinds of noises and destroying as much of the tree as possible. After 20 minutes he was not ready to get down.

Tomorrow, I'll let him play in the tree and do a few flights with him. I won't push him at all so he stays interested.

His beak is doing much better. The swelling is almost gone and no more blood is coming out, just a very small amount of clear fluid.

Check back tomorrow evening to see how the flights went!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Bloody beak

Today I noticed Manzi's beak was slightly swollen right below his left nostrel where it meets his skin. I left it alone until this afternoon. I decided to touch it and when I lightly pressed it, blood squirted out (along the border of his skin and beak). It was quite a shock to me, but Manzi seemed like he could care less. He didn't flinch or anything. I am going to keep an eye on it. Sometimes I wish he wasn't so rough and always beating himself up along with his toys.

He wasn't too interested in his flight training today. He did a few flights and was so slow so I decided to try again tomorrow. If he does a couple good days in a row, we'll go back outside.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Back to Training

These past couple of days we have been doing indoor training. Today Manzi did exceptionally well. I no longer have to show him the treat and I am using the whistle for recall. He didn't hesitate very much for his flights and he also figured out how to turn in a circle on the ground too! Believe it or not for him it is quite different than turning around on a perch which takes only two steps and two foot turns.

I am going out of town on Thursday, but will be back next Monday. We will then do another couple of days of indoor training and then resume outdoor training.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Manzi's big adventure

Manzi had quite the adventure while my sister, Lynette, was here. On Thursday we took him out to do flight training as usual. He missed the long flight and circled around (this is also usual). But while circling, a scrub jay decided to give chase. Off Manzi went and out of sight with a scrub jay close behind. Of course he was completely silent for the first half hour so we had no idea where he was, just a general area. Finally, he began to make noises every 5 minutes which led to his discovery about 30 feet up in a tree. I called him down, but he due to his inability to fly downwards and land, he decided to stay there. Cesar started to climb the tree which led to Manzi flying but passing over my hand going way too fast to land. Then Manzi landed much higher up in a conifer (60 feet up). After calling him for 2 hours and after having two different hawks come within 15 feet of their potential meal (Manzi), we decided to scare him out of the tree with a tennis ball. It worked, but he only flew near my hand again going full speed and completely unable to land. He kept this up for the next 4 trees (flying down, missing my hand and then doing an emergency landing in another tree). The last time, we didn't see where he went and lost him. To be stealthy, Manzi decided not to make a single noise for the next four hours leaving him completely undetected. Finally, we did a final scan of the area as the sun was setting and began to hear him answer my sister's whistle (I was not blessed with the talent of whistling). When we found him he was overjoyed and made all the noises he could remember.
Unfortunately, he was not so overjoyed as to fly down to me from the perch 100 feet high in a eucalyptus tree right next to a hawk's nest. After it was too dark to see him, we called it a night and set our alarm for 5:20am to get back to him before sunrise.
The next morning he was on the exact same branch and quite happy to see us. The local birds were not happy to see him though and he was bothered by scrub jays, crows and even a hummingbird (I didn't know they can fly that high up, nor would I have thought they'd bug an african grey for 5 minutes straight). Quite perterbed, Manzi finally flew down towards me, of course missing me, but landing only 30 feet up in a tree. After another three trees, a crow dove at him and came within a couple of inches. This motivated him to climb down the tree being within ten feet of me and then finally flying the last bit.
He was AWOL for 20 hours total. I wasn't too stressed because I knew he would eventually fly down to me (as long as the raptors didn't get to him first). Once at home, we discovered Manzi lost 10% of his body weight and he drank water for 5 minutes straight. He took quite a few naps that Friday, but by Saterday his weight was back to normal and he resumed his role as "Manzi the Terror."
I am doing indoor recall training for the next few days and then will resume outdoor training. We definitely need to work on how to fly down from trees. We'll start small and build up. Hopefully there won't be many more escape attempts!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

My sis is in town

Lynette is in town. Here is a picture of her with Manzi. I wouldn't call them best friends, but Manzi does let her hold him and sometimes scratch him. Although she just now told me he bit her foot while I was in another room. It was probably because he wanted her head phones and for some reason Lynette didn't want to let Manzi chew them into a million little bits.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

New Trick

This isn't the most impressive trick, but it still took 4 days (3 min/day) for him to learn this trick.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Manzi took a beating

This morning when I uncovered Manzi, he didn't say anything and instead of stepping up to me, he took off into the kitchen as if something had scared him. When I tried to put him back on his cage he acted very afraid and flew away again. Cesar heard the commotion and then told me that Manzi woke him up at 3am. He said that he heard a lot of noise and thought there was an animal on our patio. He went out to look and didn't see anything. He went back to bed and a minute later heard the same thing. He realized it was coming from Manzi's cage and looked and saw Manzi climbing up his cage as if he fell off his perch. After seeing Manzi alright he went back to bed, but heard Manzi flapping around and falling off his perch a couple more times before the noise stopped.
I inspected Manzi and saw he was very beat up looking. He more cuts on his face than ever before (one was still kinda bloody). He also was missing a lot of feathers: three red tail feathers, two flight feathers on one side and a pile of other feathers. Cesar said it looked like he just came out of the octagon (from UFC). He also didn't eat his breakfast and instead was preening his feathers, which he never does right after waking up. I know some people say their Grey's have night frights, but Manzi's never had those before. Nothing like this has ever happened. I didn't see anything in his cage, but we had to go somewhere this morning and Manzi looked very scared to be going back into his cage. So, I took everything out of his cage; He usually has lots of boxes, bottles and other scraps on the floor that he chews/shreds. I was thinking that maybe there was a spider or some other insect or maybe even a rodent got into his cage last night. I don't know what scared him so much. I have never been so worried about Manzi's health before.

Now that it is the evening, Manzi is back to his old self. He was struggling to fly though because of the missing feathers. This might be a set back for flight training.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

New Video Manzi flying

Today Manzi did wonderfully. I put him in the tree and he flew to me pretty quickly once he found a good launch position. He tried to fly back to the tree, but the branch broke. He didn't panic (or at least not enough to scream) and just circled around and came back to me. He did a few more flights, then I let him play. After about 15 minutes of playing, he acted as if he wanted to come back to me. I called him and he came right away. I stayed out with him for another five minutes, but he didn't want to play anymore so I took him in. It was getting a bit hot for him (and me). I need to go earlier in the morning. Anyways, here is a video of the initial flights and the branch breaking. Use the high quality (HQ) option. It is much better.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Manzi playing in tree

The past two days that I have taken Manzi outside, he has spent a good deal of time playing in his favorite tree. Yesterday he wouldn't come out of the tree until I showed him a walnut. Today he did very well and made several flights between me and the tree.

We are also working on another trick: turn around. Manzi hasn't figured it out yet, but we have only been working on it for two days. Maybe today will be the day.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Outside again

Yesterday Manzi was still hesitant to do flight training, but he warmed up to it after a bit. I regained some confidence so today we did short recalls outside and he did great. He only hesitated when a young boy approached him. After doing about 10 flights I set him in a favorite tree and let him hang out there for a bit (he climbs and chews on the tree). Then I called him down and he came right away. I am very happy about this and Manzi didn't seemed stressed at all as he was after getting stuck in the tree.

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