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.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

He's in denial

Yesterday Manzi said something funny. He has been singing a new song that Cesar just got. I told Cesar, but he hadn't heard Manzi sing it yet. So yesterday evening Cesar began singing it in the office and then Manzi joined in from the living room. I told Cesar, "Listen! Manzi just sang the song again." To this Manzi replied, "No I didn't." Neither of us have heard Manzi say that phrase before. We were both laughing.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Back to square one

Yesterday Manzi got distracted outside and didn't want to fly anymore. I figured if I didn't give him any treats, he would be more interested the next morning (today). Today things started out great and he was making all his flights. Then, after going out to 100' Manzi missed the landing and circled around. He didn't come down to me though and after multiple circles he began flying too fast and finally landed extremely high up in a tree. After 30 minutes he finally tried to come back down, but couldn't make it all the way down and went back up after a scrub jay began pestering him and landed even higher up in a pine tree. He was in that tree for a full hour. He would try climbing down, but then kept getting poked by pine needles. After an hour, Manzi wasn't really trying to come down and he began making noises showing he was getting comfy. To give him a sense of urgency Cesar and I walked away about 150 feet and began talking at a distance. That worked and Manzi began to make a real effort to get down. After flying to me he was going so fast and bump my hand but was way to fast to actually land. He circled a couple of times again and landed very close to me in a small tree. This time I was able to climb up it and grab him. I put him on my shoulder as I was climbing down and he hung on for his dear life. This whole thing shook him up quite a bit.

I need to rethink my approach. He is still having problems flying downwards at an angle and instead of getting better, Manzi is getting more and more scared. So for now, I am going to stick with indoor flights for a few days and then do outdoor flights at small distances for at least a week without increasing the distance. That way he is still happy and gets rewarded, yet he won't have to be afraid of getting stuck in a tree for a while. When he is very comfortable with that, I'll increase the distance very slowly. I think this has been a matter of me asking too much too quickly. We'll see how this goes.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Quite the flyer

Today was very windy during Manzi's flight session. He made all the short and mid-length flights. At a distance of 60 feet though he panicked. He got going too fast and the wind blew him off to the side and he missed me again. This time he flew very far up and over the two story apartment buildings and out of sight. I called for him and I could hear him screaming in panic. He circled around and was back in view in just a few seconds. Because there are such high trees around he was flying very high (about 100 feet up) and couldn't get down to me. He circled around three times each time trying to descend to me and only making it partway down before he ran out of room and had to circle again. Finally he got within 10 feet above my head, but couldn't make it the rest of the way so he landed in a nearby tree hanging upside-down on flimsy branches. He then calmed down for a few minutes and flew down to me.
While in the tree, many children took notice of him and came around calling to him, "Come here Manzi." They were copying me calling to him. Afterwards I let some of the children hold Manzi, but he was quite shaken up. Even after getting back inside he wouldn't take the walnut which he loves and just hung out on his cage for a few minutes to calm down. Poor thing. Well, I know that he is trying to come back to me, he just needs to get better and maneuvering. He's learning very fast. Right now he is taking a nap (which is rare) on his cage. Hopefully tomorrow won't be so windy.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Flights and badness

We did flight training again today and Manzi is doing incredible. He is focused and very eager.

On the other hand, he is getting pretty bad in the house. Jen told me that instead of saying "no" I should give him something he can chew instead. So, I kept giving him a toy to chew on everytime he went after an "off limits" item. That just meant that I had to get up every couple of minutes to give him a toy and set him on his cage. I must have done that at least 20 times just during the afternoon. Today after he couldn't just watch while I made candy coated pecans I had to put him back in his cage. He didn't think it was fair for me to be mixing stuff and him not allowed to attack one of the measuring cups.

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