Thursday, April 30, 2009

Flying Free

Today flight training went very smoothly. I didn't make him fly from me to something (i.e. tree, grass, etc.) and he was comfortable and not showing any hesitation or signs of stress.

video

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Flight training continued

Today, although a little windy, I decided to continue with outdoor free flight training. Manzi was getting very distracted at first, then he focused and did his flights. He wasn't flying back to the tree on command though. It was probably because the last time while going back to the tree, he missed the main branch and when he tried to land on smaller ones they collapsed leaving him hanging upside down. So, today he was very hesitant to fly back to the branch. I finally moved my hand to make him fly and he chickened out of landing on the branch and took off. That was my main fear, that he would take off and not know how to get back. I called out to him as he was flying away which caused him to do a turn around. He was pretty high up though and couldn't get down to me fast enough and landed on top of the tree (about 20 feet up). I took out the walnut, just for this situation, and called him. He didn't come right away. After a few minutes I called again and he flew right down to me. I then gave him the walnut and he was happy to let me leg clip him again. This made me feel much better because now I know that he will come back to me even if he flies away at first. I took a video of the entire session, but afterwards realized I had it on the wrong setting. I'll try with the video again next time.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Death of a Rubber Duck

This post came about by popular opinion. Manzi does in fact kill rubber ducks. Here's the damage done so far.
On flight training, the wind has picked up so we have had to limit it to indoors. It should be better in a day or so and then we will resume.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Free Flight

Manzi has been doing so well that we've been way ahead of schedule. For the past two days he has been doing free flights outside. I stopped using the harness completely. I use the leg leash to take him to the spot, then I unclip his leg and set him somewhere and call him to me. He is very driven. The first day he was slightly hesitant, but today he wasn't hesitant at all and was very confident. Afterwards, I take him to the tree where he saw the squirrel the other day. He now loves that tree and flies to it, plays around on it for a while and then comes back to me. The free flights he does is very short and about 6 feet in distance. I am starting short and will increase the distance as he continues to do well.

Today we will continue the outdoor flights.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Rubber ducks

Here is Manzi playing with his rubber ducks. He isn't fond of the water and just pulls them out and makes them squeak. Although my sister seems to think the title should be "Death of the Rubber Ducks," he has not destroyed them. He has only bitten off their beaks. This picture is from when they were new. Now they look identical with the outside of their beaks removed. Surprisingly enough, they still squeak just fine.
His flight training has been hitting a bit of a standstill since he now refuses to do it with his harness on. As soon as the wind calms down I am going to take him outside and do his first flight without the harness. That might be tomorrow. We'll see.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Raisin Bran

So today I finished a box of raisin bran and decided to let Manzi play with the box. At first he decided he wanted to shred it and build a nest. He spent about 40 minutes working on shredding and digging.

After a while he figured out he could go into the box. This entertained him for another 1/2 hour. I could hear him inside digging around and trying to chew on the inside. Every once in a while he would peek out to make sure I was still there, then he'd go back in.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Outdoors

This weekend it has been beautiful outdoors. Today, when me and Manzi went for a walk he wasn't so friendly and only said "hello" to 1/2 the people he saw. He did step up for a woman though who asked to pet him. He won't let others pet him, but he will step up for them. He doesn't mind his leg leash at all and comes to me when he sees it. Manzi is really enjoying going outside.

With flight training, we have had continual success. The past three times I have put his harness on (without the leash) and had him fly inside with it. He no longer chews on it and instead he is focused on me. He is doing so well that I think by next week he will be ready for his first free flight outside. This week I am going to fly him outside with his harness again and if that goes well then next week we'll do small flights outside without the harness.

Manzi has also continued to fly to me from around the corner where he can't see me. He is very good and that and usually has no hesitation.

Also, I finally found rubber ducks at walmart so this week I'll set up a large dish in his cage and fill it with water so he can play with the ducks. We'll see if he has any interest. He wasn't scared of them when I showed it to him which is a good sign. I just hope he doesn't shred them to a million pieces instead of playing with them in the water dish.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Flying without seeing

Today he finally flew to me without having a direct line of sight to me. I was in the hall close to my room and Manzi was on his cage. At first he wouldn't fly to me, so I peeked my head out (to show him I was there) and then leaned back and called him. When he took off he had no sight of any part of me. He did this a couple of times.

I was losing hope that he would ever fly to me without seeing me directly. I started by just hiding myself partway around the corner. Then only showing him my hand and head, then finally nothing. This took a couple weeks.

I have also been taking him outside with the leg leash. He doesn't seem to mind it and even likes going outside with it. While outside he has only tried to fly away when something scares him (only about once every three trips we take outside). I have continued doing little recalls where I put him on a tree limb and stand just a couple feet away and call him. He always flies back to me in this situation.

I need to figure out how to send him out flying and call him back. Now, I just put him somewhere outside and call him back. But I need to be able to send him out so he can fly around and then automatically come back when I call. I'll have to think about this one.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A bit greasy

Two days ago I was making cookies. Manzi, as usual, decided to sit on a nearby chair and watch. While I was rolling the dough into a ball with my hands and putting them onto the cookie sheet, Manzi was unable to hold back his desire and flew to a cookie sheet to grab a ball of dough. I was faster than him though and grabbed him before he made off with a ball of dough. The result was me holding a bird with greasy hands (from the cookie dough). I put Manzi back in his cage, but saw that my hands left grease marks across his back. Yesterday he got a good soaking in the shower, but there is still some residue oil on his feathers and chest/neck.
This second picture is funny because Manzi is a bit irritated with the camera for getting so close to him while he is chewing on his ball so he is puffing up a bit to threaten the camera (starting with the feathers on the back of his neck and back).

Friday, April 10, 2009

Construction

Living in student housing means constantly having construction go on around us. For the past week they have been digging up the drains in front of our patio and replacing them. We don't do any training until after 4pm (when the workers leave for the day). Manzi has been on high stress all week long. Today, there is a big truck for cement pouring. It seems to be putting Manzi over the edge. The big truck is churning the cement about 20 feet from the glass sliding door (which is adjacent to Manzi's cage). Manzi has spent all of his time outside his cage hiding in the kitchen. I finally shut the blinds in front of the door so Manzi can only hear it. After about 30 minutes, he finally calmed down. Today we won't get much light in our place today.

Training has been going extremely well. Manzi can already go through the doorway and then make a sharp turn into the office (which is through another doorway). He is excellent at maneuvering. He still won't come if he doesn't see at least a part of me though. I have to figure out how to get around that. If he is out flying and lands somewhere that he can't see me, he would panic.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Doorway plus hall

Now Manzi is flying through the doorway without hesitation. After doing that a few times, I decided to take a step down the hall; so Manzi has to fly through the doorway and then do an immediate turn. He is still not hesitating. My next step will be for him to fly to me when I am completely out of sight. Now he still partially sees me before take off. Another step down the hall and he won't be able to see me at all.
Manzi is amazing me. Before, he would only fly through the doorway when scared and he would usually hit his wings on the sides as flying through (the doorway is narrower than his wingspan). Now he has figured out that he can tuck his wings in as he is going through and he no longer hits his flight feathers against the doorway.
Manzi is also getting so much better with the harness. He would always grumble when I put the harness on him and was constantly chewing at it to get it off. For the past three days I have been putting the harness just around his neck and giving him an almond. The first two days he grumbled as usual, but today he didn't grumble at all and even flew to me as soon as he saw the harness. Hopefully this makes his outdoor flights much easier. It will rain the rest of the week though so we are stuck inside for now.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Squirrel and saying "hello"

Today I took Manzi out for a walk. He was a bit nervous at first, but then relaxed and began saying hello to anyone and everyone that we passed. People usually figure out that Manzi is saying, "Hello" and not me, especially since he talks in my husband's voice. After a while, I decided to put Manzi on a tree that had a young squirrel. The squirrel got very close to Manzi (within 1.5 feet) and it looked like neither of them knew what to think of the other. Finally, after a couple of minutes Manzi told the squirrel, "Hello." After not hearing an answer Manzi puffed up at the squirrel. It was so funny. After saying "hello" to others, people almost always say hello back or at least begin to laugh after realizing that a parrot talked to them. Manzi seemed disappointed that he didn't get any reaction out of the squirrel.

Update on the doorway: Today Manzi did many flights, but would get afraid and turn around right before flying through the doorway. After much encouragement though (verbal and with the help of a walnut) Manzi flew through the doorway. Once he becomes confident with that I will add in a turn so he has to fly through the doorway and then turn into the office to get to me.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Doorway Success

Today was a break through. I was eating a banana for breakfast and Manzi was going crazy trying to get to me. So, I stood on the other side of the doorway and called him. He flew just fine right through the doorway to get to me and the banana. Now that I know he can fly through the doorway with the right motivation, I should start adding bananas to his treats during his evening training sessions.

Friday, April 3, 2009

First outdoor flight with harness

It did not go well. There were lots of kids around and Manzi was very preoccupied with chewing on the harness. Then the leash broke, but Manzi just landed nearby and waited for me to get him. Anyways, before going on to outdoor flight we need a lot more practice and more planning. I have to get Manzi to enjoy the harness or even clip the leash directly to his leg bracelet. He doesn't mind the leash on his leg bracelet nearly as much, but he still doesn't like it and if he pulls to the end, he will struggle to land with one leg pulled behind him. I am not sure what to do. If anyone has ideas, please post them. For now, I will stick to indoor flight and working with getting Manzi to fly through the doorways.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Troubles with doorways:

Manzi is now up to 10-12 round trips from me to his cage and back again. Today I was trying to get him to fly to me through the doorway. He has flown through the doorway many times before, but usually when he is really scared and trying to get out of the main room. I still need to do quite a bit of work with this. If I bring him into the hallway and drop my hand he will fly through the door to his cage, but he won't come back when I call him from his cage. He will fly very close, but then turn around at the last minute. I need to think of a way to get this working.
It is so warm outside too so I am going to begin outdoor flights with the harness tomorrow.

Also, here is a fun video of him with his wiffle ball:

video

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