Monday, December 13, 2010

Scared together

There is no uniting force quite like a good scare. We endured a terrible snow storm this past weekend. The birds were happy that I was home and they were able to stay out all day long on Saturday and Sunday. They were both minding their own business on top of their cages when a snow blower went by to clear the sidewalks. It scared both Manzi and Maui. Maui took off, circled around and landed on Manzi's cage about 6 inches from him. The only other time she touched his cage he went beserk and tried to attack her. This time, both were scared and paying attention to the snow blower that they forgot how close they were to each other. Within a minute I took Maui off Manzi's cage and put her back on her own. It was nice to see them getting better and better with each other.
Yesterday they were both running around on the ground together and didn't threaten each other. Previously, Maui was always running around on the ground while Manzi stayed above ground flying from one chair to another, occasionally stopping on the heater, refridgerator, his cage, Maui's cage, his playstand or anything else that looked like it had potential for troublemaking. Manzi is getting better at flying, but still goes down more than anything. Due to that, he is also running around on the ground. I was worried as that could create conflicts, but they don't threaten each other and give each other a 6 inch safety zone.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Finally settled in (well, kinda)

Manzi and Maui are back in the original cages. They were so excited to see the movers bring them in. Too bad they are so comfortable in my place as they are running around the ground like crazy. Manzi has many feathers clipped, but he jumps with all his might and flaps like crazy and can still make pretty good distance, although he drops at a 45 degree angle once he starts going down. The bird's cages are over linoleum, so I won't have to worry about them making a mess, except that they are so intrigued by the carpet and keep wanting to run onto it. I need a new play stand to set up so that they can go to that and stay off the carpet. Manzi wants to stay near me, so I have taken to working in the kitchen on my laptop with him sitting on the arm of the chair begging for scratches whenever my hand gets too close. Maui on the other hand is scoping out the place already trying to find a good nesting site. Currently, she thinks that the cabinet by the stove is a good option, but I am doing my best to shoo her away from there. I think I will just give her a box for a week or so, so that she leaves the cabinets alone.

I feel bad that I work 8 hours/day and leave them locked up during that time. I let them out for 45 minutes in the morning when I am getting ready (although it would only take 20 minutes if they weren't out as I chase them around, etc.) and then from 5-10pm in the evening before going to bed. Still that nothing compared to when they were in Davis and were out from 7am till 10pm.

New adventures are always filled with new challenges. I will post pictures probably later today.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Minnesota

So, last night was our final destination. We're in Minnesota. Manzi and Maui are doing great. They struggled these past few weeks, but are already much better. There cages won't be coming till this weekend and so they are still in their travel cages, but they are probably thinking this is their new life (which is kinda sad). They do get out of their cages from 5-10pm when I am home in the evening. They are already running around the apartment like madmen trying to wreck havoc. The drive was very hard on both of them and at stops they did not want to get out of their cages (or at least they would not leave the top of them). Within a day of being at the hotel, they began to wander around again and today they began wandering around the apartment. Manzi and Maui have not been showing any aggression towards each other. Both have gone on each other's cage without any problems too. Tomorrow I will start feeding them together again and see how that goes. I am very tired tonight and will post pictures and probably a video this weekend. The move has been hard on me too and I have neglected this blog. Hopefully I'll be back to regular postings soon.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Baseball

It seems that Maui knows a thing or two about baseball. She's sung this song twice now (just watch the beginning to hear the six notes in the tune):

I couldn't find the tune anywhere else in a short clip and I sold my piano so I couldn't play it. Anyway, after singing, "da da da dun da daaaaa" she says, "Goal!"
She does not sing this frequently enough for me to even try catching it on camera.

Manzi is doing very well. I still haven't clipped more than 3 feathers on each wing, and he hasn't gone back to much flying. He will fly from his cage to me and back, but that is about it. Now he sits with me most of the day while I am working on my computer. It seems the secret to having a well behaved bird is to take away their main method of transportation. As easy as it makes caring for Manzi, I hate it. He is so much more full of life when he is zipping around my place like a maniac.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Eating Slowly

Yesterday I gave both Manzi and Maui a whole almond (courtesy of Maui's previous owner). Manzi can finish an almond in about a minute. Maui on the other hand is very slow. She takes close to 10 minutes. She chews on each piece of shell she breaks off and then finally gets to the center.
So, they were both on their cage eating and by the time Manzi had finished his almond, Maui hadn't even gotten to the seed part. She was still busy chewing away on the shell. I was looking closely and it appears that she might even be consuming bits of the shell. Usually when Manzi is finished he tosses the almond aside, but he was watching Maui closely. He didn't want to be finished while she still had something to eat. So, he began chewing up the shell too, copying her. Next thing I know, they were both chewing the shells into little tiny bits. It still took Manzi only half the time it took Maui. Eventually he didn't have anything else to chew so he flew back to me, but not after first staring hopefully/jealously at Maui. Maui fluffed up at him as if to tell him, "Don't you dare!"
It reminded me of how some kids eat something really fast and then stare at those who still have their dessert in front of them slowly savoring every bite.

Both birds are back to eating together on the floor again. It has been going well. Every time Manzi looks up at Maui, she puffs up at him while backing away. Manzi then resumes eating after which Maui does the same. The bowls are 12" apart.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Health and more eggs

Good news. There were only good bacteria found in the culture of Maui, meaning that she doesn't have any kind of infection after all. Also, both her and Manzi stopped doing the choking behavior. Maui must have had some kind of injury or something in her esophagus that is now healed. A piece of food could have scratched it, making swallowing difficult or she could have had an abscess. Either way, she is looking much better and is eating just fine.

Maui laid a fifth egg. This one also had a much better shell than the first ones. It cracked though as she laid it in her cage from her food dish. She has not had a nest since I banned her from it last week. I thought that would stop her from laying eggs. I heard that they lay 4-5 eggs and then stop. Hopefully that means she is now done laying eggs. Her weight is still looking good. It is not back up to what it was before (495g) but is it higher than her low that she's been the other day. Today I am going to cook some eggs for her and Manzi. Hopefully that will replenish the nutrients she used to produce the egg. The only thing I am not going to feed her is the shell, but she has a cuttle bone which should help with the calcium.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Fourth Egg

Here's Maui's fourth egg. It was laid in her new "nest" which is a box that she claimed for herself. It is the first egg that is whole, although there is a slight crack in the egg. The shell is much stronger, but that might be due to the cuttle bone that I put in her cage. She has eaten a lot of the cuttlebone already.



Here is a picture of Maui in her nest. The box is so small that she struggles to turn around in it. In the picture she is puffed up, making her take up the entire box.


I think Maui will be a great mom. She spent most of yesterday sitting contently on the egg. In the evening I took her out. She didn't want to come out and wouldn't step up, so I just scooped her up. Luckily, she is as loving as ever to me and is not threatened by me taking her away from her egg.

On the scale, she weighed only 466g. Yesterday she was 495g. I was concerned as Maui was more interested in sitting on her egg than she was in eating. I gave her a lot of food and locked her in her cage for the rest of the evening. This morning I put a zip-tie on her nest doors so she couldn't go back in. When I let her out, she went straight past her food without eating to check on her nest. She was very upset that the doors were not opening. She tried for an hour to get in and then came looking for me. She went back to her cage and finally had a big breakfast. Her weight is now at 474g.

I feel bad for her as she is awfully concerned about her nest. I put her egg in the fridge. I cannot bring myself to eat it. I will probably toss it out in a couple of days, but after I show Maui's previous owner as he was interested in seeing its size.

I clipped up to three feathers now on each side of Manzi's wings. He can fly from one point to another, but he has lost nearly all of his maneuvering ability. He cannot fly straight up from the ground, nor can he fly straight down to the ground from on top of his cage. Manzi seems to know it too because he is just sitting on a chair next to me instead of getting into trouble. Poor guy. Hopefully he won't be too down to have just been hobbled. I would certainly be down if someone temporarily disabled my legs.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Clipping Manzi

I have decided to clip Manzi for my upcoming trip to Minnesota. It is a long drive and when I get there I will have to stay with Manzi and Maui in a motel for at least a few days. I don't want Manzi crashing into any windows or even worse, getting out during the drive and getting lost in a completely unknown area. Despite that, clipping him is extremely hard (emotionally for both of us). He loves flying around and I hate to take that away from him. He is going to be so sad and lose his sparkle by having to walk every where. It nearly makes me tear up just thinking about it.
I will clip him very slowly just clipping one feather on each side per day. So far, I have clipped two on each side. He can still fly, but he is definitely exerting quite a bit more effort than before. Since my move is a month away, hopefully not too much after the move he'll be flighted again enjoying the new place.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Visit with Veterinarian

Maui did great with the veterinarian. She really liked the veterinarian and stayed on her arm for most of the visit and even did a bit of chatting. I didn't give her breakfast but she still didn't eat at the vet's office. Luckily, the vet could see her behavior in the video I brought. She didn't think an x-ray would help and instead suggested starting off with either a culture and/or blood work. I went for the culture. She'll call me in a day or two if she finds any bacteria. If it is not an infection, then the vet thinks the next option is a florescent scope. I called my vet neighbor and he agreed with the plan. The scope is substantially more expensive and invasive as Maui will have to be put under anesthetics. Right now Maui is happily eating in her cage.

Update on behavior: Since I've been back, Maui and Manzi are not doing well together. At feeding time, Manzi has attacked Maui two times. I separated them right away both times. Manzi has been showing a lot of aggression again. Maybe because they were without me for a week and now want to fight for my attention again. Either way, I am going to separate their bowls to six feet and slowly work from there.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Maui and vet

Maui laid a third egg. I do not have a photo of this one. I didn't see it right away when I got back and only noticed it the next day. After looking at it closely, I saw it was already molding so I threw it away. The shell is still no where near the thickness of a chicken's egg's shell. I don't know how thick they usually are.

I have a vet appointment for Maui on Wednesday about the choking behavior. Hopefully I can get some x-rays and figure out what her problem is.

Today Manzi and Maui had what might have been a scuffle. It was really hard to tell. After eating, Manzi began approaching Maui. They were both puffed up with their heads down. They kept touching beaks and pushing each other backwards. Finally, Manzi suddenly launched himself on top of Maui. It was so fast that it was kinda hard to see what was happening. I scolded Manzi and went towards him immediately and after only a fraction of a second he was flying away. I checked both of them and neither had any detectable injuries. I'm not sure if Manzi was attacking her or trying to mate with her. I don't know if Maui was sure either. I talked with my behaviorist friend about it and he said that often times, young parrots are not good at courtship and will try mating aggressively at first until they learn that you have to "woo." I am really worried about having a serious injury so I don't want to just let them "work things out." I will film them tomorrow as I'm sure they will interact again. Hopefully, that will allow me to re-watch what happened so I can take a closer look at the behaviors.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Home again

I came home yesterday. Manzi was happy to see me, but awfully grouchy for having been stuck in his cage for a week. He did laps and laps around my living area. Maui was let out and she acted just like normal. They had plenty of food in their dishes, so I'm not sure how they will resume eating together on the floor. I dumped their food dishes last night so hopefully they are plenty hungry to eat together without fighting. I'll post a picture of it later.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Maui's health

Yesterday, a vet/neighbor came over to look at Maui's choking behavior. It is definitely getting worse and now she does it the entire time she eats. He gave me a few ideas of what the problem might be: scar tissue build up in her esophagus resulting from previous injury, an abscess or some other current injury. She also has slightly labored breathing when she puts her head down to get scratched, which would be connected as the esophagus is right next to the trachea. My neighbor doesn't think it is serious, but he does think I should get her x-rayed to get a diagnosis. He said in all likelihood there is nothing that can be done, but it would be better to know what I am dealing with. I am on vacation this coming week while my roommate watches the birds. Maui's weight is just fine and her lungs sound fine under a stethoscope, so it is not urgent, but I called my avian vet and will take her in as soon as I get back.

The neighbor was very impressed with how Manzi and Maui's relationship is coming along. He thinks that Maui will be the dominant one before long and Manzi seems to be handling it very well. I am still doing the feeding routine (although they won't be eating together this coming week) and now there bowls are within a foot of each other. They have also had more interactions with each other that don't result in fights. I thought Manzi would totally dominate Maui, and although she started off very timid, she is now dominant and even chases Manzi away. Luckily, Manzi is figuring this out and is even showing signs of submission towards Maui. Before long they'll have this all worked out.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Second Egg

This morning I found a second egg in Maui's cage. The shell was stronger than the first, but it was cracked at the bottom of the cage. Unlike with the first egg, her vent was looking totally normal and not all gross/bloody.
Today, I put the dishes at 18 inches (I measure from the midpoint of each dish) and they showed no aggression. When Manzi finishes first, he will go harrass Maui, if I am not paying attention. Usually as soon as he finishes I pick him up and take away his dish, while Maui runs off to her nest when she finishes.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Feeding update

I was gone on Sunday and didn't get a chance to "feed" my babies together and instead over loaded them in their dishes so they wouldn't go hungry. The result of that was that this morning they were not interested in eating. I left them a bit of food during the day, but not a full meal. This evening, they were both hungry enough to eat together, although not for long. After a couple of minutes Manzi was already finished. Hopefully by tomorrow we'll be back on schedule. Also, I finally found a limit in distance. I started them about six feet apart (shown in picture below) and kept moving them closer. Today I measured the distance and it was two feet and Manzi began to puff up. He wasn't puffed the entire time, but whenever Maui looked at him he would puff up. Due to that, I am going to leave them at this distance for an extra day to see how it goes. The idea is to decrease as much aggressive displays (and acts) as possible. If Manzi keeps threatening her, then I will increase the distance again until they both see that by being together they get food.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Feeding Scheme

A new feeding scheme has been implemented over the past four days at my place. I am putting their food dishes (identical ones) on the floor twice a day and having them eat together. At first, I put the dishes over six feet apart, but am moving them closer and closer together every day. This morning, they were only 3.5 feet apart. This is very good because when eating Maui does not puff up and threaten Manzi. Manzi is struggling dealing with her because she is nearly always puffed up at him. Manzi is much better and doesn't threaten Maui much anymore, only when I leave him out and put Maui back. Then he taunts her from the outside of her cage, knowing she is locked in and can't get him.

The first day feeding them on the floor:

After two days their food dishes are already much closer:

Last night something really funny happened. When I feed them on the floor, as soon as either bird leaves their dish, I take it away and they have to go back about their business and leave the other one alone. Anyway, Maui usually takes much longer to eat than Manzi so Manzi almost always gets his dish taken away first. Last night, I was about to take Manzi's dish away, when he changed his mind (after seeing Maui still eating) and decided he wanted to keep eating. Maui then did the same thing, she started to walk away, but then also decided to keep eating. I kept putting more pellets in their dishes. By the time they finished, both had eaten more than I've ever seen before. I could feel their crops completely full of pellets. An hour later when I put them to bed, both still had very full crops. Neither wanted the other to "get more" food so it was like they were daring the other to stop first.
As expected, they both ate very small breakfasts.

Monday, September 27, 2010

An Egg

Last night Maui laid an egg. Now I know for sure that she is a female. I was thinking of retesting both her and Manzi with a DNA test. She was tired today and napping, but besides that she seems to be in fine health. Her vent appears to be stretched out and gunky (I will only post a photo upon request; I have one, but am not sure if anyone is really interested). I do have pictures of the egg. Here it is on the bottom of her cage:

To help know the size, I placed it next to a quarter for comparison:
The shell was cracked, but it had fallen to the grate when it was laid. My roommate, who works with avian nutrition, examined it and thinks the shell is much too thin. I am not expecting Maui to raise an unfertilized egg, but in the future it will probably be necessary to supplement with calcium. Maui only lost about 10 grams after laying the egg (I weigh her about every other day). I couldn't weigh the egg as some liquid already leaked out of it. I did cut off Maui's access to her nesting site in the bottom shelf of my cabinets. Hopefully Maui will not lay any more eggs until she and Manzi are having connubial relations.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Maui playing in water dish

I saw Maui bathing in her small water dish, making such a mess. I had forgotten about the big ceramic dog water dish I had bought for Manzi that he never used. I put it in Maui's cage and in less than a minute she was waddling around inside it. Here is a video of it:



I had to leave, but when I came back she had made a mess of the dish. For some reason she thought it nice to tear the newspaper in her cage into strips and put them inside the dish too. She made newspaper soup.

Friday, September 17, 2010

A new addition

It looks like I'll be keeping Maui after all. I will wait to change the blog name until I am safely in Minnesota with both birds. I am not leaving till the end of November and if Manzi starts plucking before then or if things go terribly for some reason or another, then I probably won't be taking Maui with me, but that would be shame. She is just a doll. Manzi is also getting better every day. Maui is starting to assert herself a little more, so that might be helping.

Usually every morning as soon as Maui leaves her cage, Manzi goes inside, plays with her toys, drinks her water and finishes off any food crumbs she left in her dish. When I first open their cages, Maui usually just leaves to go check on her nest, giving Manzi the opening he needs. Anyway, yesterday Maui got a bit fed up. When I opened their cages, Manzi came over to Maui's cage, but instead of leaving, she went up on top as if to say, "Keep out!" Manzi was unsure what to do, so he went to his play stand and waited. After about 20 minutes Maui was done guarding her cage and went to check on her nest. As soon as her feet touched the floor Manzi was in her cage. It was pretty funny. Manzi is realizing more and more that he can't just push her around. That is good because he is backing off and it makes me feel more secure in letting them out together. Since the previous scuffle (posted a few days ago) there have not even been close calls. Manzi has also been reverting back to being his sweet self. He was getting pretty unhappy for a while because of Maui, but these past couple of days he is back to being loving and content.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Breeding displays

Yesterday was a bit scary. Maui was minding her own business tending to her nest. Manzi was very curious and finally decided to take a look. Next thing I knew, Maui threatened him and he attacked. Luckily, it lasted a fraction of a second before I scolded Manzi and he flew off. Neither of them were hurt, but Manzi was very distraught and I was scared. I put them both back in their cages to let them "think" about what they did. Then, for the next hour, Maui exhibited mating displays towards Manzi. Their cages are just a few inches apart (they can't reach each other though), so Maui stayed as close to Manzi as possible, while he continued to puff up trying to threaten her. I'm very surprised that Maui kept at it for an entire hour and still Manzi did not take the bait.

Today they are just fine again and are both out together. Hopefully there won't be more "scary" moments. I have been taking both Manzi and Maui out on walks using the leg leash. I still haven't made a second one. Once I do that, I will take them out together and maybe then they will be so preoccupied with outdoors that they won't think about not liking each other.

Also, I have finally got Maui to lay on her back in my hand. I will take a picture of that soon, but it is kinda hard when I am by myself.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

It's me, not the bird

So, when I saw how well behaved Maui was compared with Manzi, of course I assumed that it had nothing to do with the owner and instead was purely genetics and age :) ! Manzi isn't really badly behaved, he is just very energetic, while Maui just stood in one spot most of the day. Now things have changed dramatically. Maui is getting more and more active every day. Today, she was in and out of her cage all day long, frequently going to her nest site to put it in order.
I opened the doors to her nest site (the bottom shelf of kitchen cabinets) so I could see inside. Now the rest of the egg carton is completely shredded and Maui has gone to work on the back of the cabinet. She has somehow gotten a hold of it and is chewing through the back (which unfortunately is getting in the way of her nest site's Feng Shui). Luckily the cabinet did not come with the apartment and I plan on tossing it when I leave.

Also, as I was quietly working, Maui was making quite a bit of noise. I looked over and she managed to get most of the water from her dish out onto the floor surrounding her cage in a weak attempt at taking a bath. The only part of her that ended up wet were her feet. I have heard of Greys doing this, but Manzi gets regular baths and has never tried to take any in his water dish. Anyway so it isn't genetics and something I am doing is making these birds highly energetic. Actually, I switched Maui to a healthier diet of pellets and fresh food so that might have something to do with it.

On a more positive note, they seem to be dealing with each other more effectively. I now leave them both out all day. They don't interact, but they do a good job of avoiding each other. I also did a training session and put them each on a chair 6" apart. Manzi did not threaten her even once and stayed very focused on me the entire time. After that, I put Manzi back and worked on target training Maui. She already figured it out, but is much slower at moving than Manzi so it takes her a lot longer to get over to the target.

I forgot to mention, Maui has now taken three flights all by herself. She is getting very confident at flying and will readily fly to her cage from my hand across the room. The flights she took by herself were only about 1-2 feet, but that is still a huge improvement over nothing. She is obviously realizing that she can fly and is now learning control.

Lastly, I will not be going to France and instead will go to Minnesota in late November. I'm not sure how I will bring Manzi out there (maybe we'll fly), but I'll decide soon enough.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Some videos

Maui does some pretty strange behaviors. Yesterday was a new one. After giving her some parsley, she acted as if she were choking. She did this for about an hour. It really worried me, so I felt her neck and couldn't feel any lump, even though it looked like she had a lump on the left side of her neck. Also, this morning she is just fine.


Also, she does a nervous tick. She will do this for hours at a time! She definitely did it more when I first got her and she was very nervous. She does it more in the evening and/or when something makes her nervous. She looks as though she is scratching her head/neck, but upon closer inspection she is not actually touching her foot to her head.


Also here is a video of typical mating displays.


By the way, two days ago I had a vet and behaviorist come look at her because she was wheezing for an extended period. He said that she looks very healthy and maybe it was the stress of moving. She doesn't wheeze anymore and she may have just been copying a wheezing noise like Manzi did a while back.

Lastly, here is a video of the two:


Here is a funny story:
I asked the behaviorist about something Manzi always does when I am working on my laptop on the desk. I put Manzi on a chair next to me while I work on my laptop. After a minute or so, Manzi gets bored and will jump to the table and bite items, wanting attention. I put him back and remove the item. Even if I remove everything, he will still jump to the table and then try biting my computer. The advice was that I should put him in a small cage next to me every time he jumps to the table and then after a few minutes, let him out and put him back on the chair and reward him for staying there, so he learns that he can either be in the cage, on the chair or elsewhere, but not on the table.

So as soon as he left I put the method to work. I stuck Manzi on the chair next to me. Sure enough, within a few seconds Manzi was on the table. I put him in the small cage and he was pretty upset about it. After three minutes I let him out and put him back on the chair. Within just a few seconds he was back on the table. I right away put him back in the small cage. He was furious this time biting crazily at it. I let him out a couple of minutes later. I praised him pretty quickly after being on the chair for a few seconds because I didn't think he'd last long. Within 30 seconds he was back on the table. I put him in the cage again and he was madder than ever. After letting him back on the chair, he decided this was no fun and flew back to his cage to play with his toys there.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Out for a walk

Yesterday, I took Maui for a walk. She was so distracted with digging a nest that she didn't even notice me clip the leash to her bracelet. We were out for an hour and she loved it, chatting the entire time. My wrist didn't love it though. Manzi, although always trying to go on my shoulder, will hang on to my fingers and hand. Maui kept crawling part way up my wrist, where she no longer had a good grip. Because of that, she was slipping quite a bit, which led to my wrist getting all kinds of scratches. Despite that, it was a great experience and Maui really enjoyed it.

Manzi also had a nice day yesterday. He was much better behaved than he has been for the last week. He didn't try to fly or bite at Maui even once. Hopefully this means their settling in, but as a scientist I am hesitant to say one day is a total change in direction.

Right now, I am back at Maui's real home to check in on the other birds left here. Maui is taring up some newspaper I gave her, the cockatiels keep trying to land on my head and Sydney, the cockatoo, has been pretty quite just hanging out ontop of her cage. Hopefully I can get some work done here.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Pictures

Today, Maui went to the ground, walked up to me and clearly said, "Water." I'm not sure why, as she had a lot of water in her cage. Then she walked around my apartment for an hour exploring. I had the brilliant idea to put newspaper on top of the grate to make cleaning her cage easier. It works well with Manzi. There is a problem with the idea. Maui finds great amusement in shredding the newspaper to lots of little pieces. I have heard of parrots doing that, but Manzi never has been very interested. Sometimes he did tare up the newspaper, but only the first couple of times. Anyway, I keep putting newspaper on the grate of Maui's cage because she does spend a good deal of time playing with it and she seems to enjoy that. Plus, I have plenty of paper for her to shred.

Anyway, here are some pictures of Manzi and Maui:

Here they are both eating their treats on a perch/chair. Anytime Maui even turns her head towards Manzi, he puffs up at her. Still, he is eating an almond so they both eat as quickly as possible. Manzi is on the right and Maui on the left. You can see his right wing and top of back beginning to puff up at her.


Although it isn't as obvious from the front, their wings and back are greatly different in color. Maui is much lighter than Manzi and he looks so dark compared with her.

Here is their set up. Maui has a white cage while Manzi's is dark gray.
Here is Maui on top of her cage eating a slice of pluot (plum and something else that now escapes my mind). Maui will eat anything and seems to eat so much more than Manzi, although she is less active and weighs just 10 grams more than him.

Monday, August 30, 2010

They're both flying

Just not together nor at anywhere the same level! Today Maui got spooked at took off flying. She did a full lap around my living/kitchen area, but couldn't make a second 180 degree turn, nor was she able to stop, so my sliding glass door helped her. She wasn't going very fast when she crashed into it, but I still checked her over for injuries. She was just fine. Manzi flying full speed would probably hurt himself, but Maui looks more like a helicopter barely staying in the air. She is getting better at flying by leaps and bounds though. I have been making her fly from my hand to any destination (such as back to her cage, to the ground, etc.) whenever she wants to move. Maui was so nervous at first and had a few mishaps, but now she is pretty confident at flying back to her cage from my hand (I only hold my hand 2 feet away) and will even start flapping before I get her very close. She has been flapping more and more every day. She made her first 180 degree turn on Saturday, but has since made a few more. Maui is always acting as if she will fly and seems to really try, but she needs her confidence built up. I was worried that her crash today would stop her, but she flew readily enough later in the day.

I took Manzi out flying on Sunday. He didn't do so well. He flew several laps around the park, but was making his panic noises that he makes when birds are chasing him. I didn't see anything chasing him though. Eventually, he flew out of sight and didn't circle back. I got on my bike, but found him just on the other side of my apartment building. Right when he saw me, he tried flying down to me, but was so high up in the tree that he just went right past me. He then took off even much farther going way out of sight and I almost began to worry. Luckily, after 30 seconds he circled back, with a hummingbird hot on his tail. After a few spins, he landed on the roof nearby. After resting for a few minutes he flew down. He was very hot. I took him back to the park, but he didn't want to fly anymore. I put him in his favorite tree and he played there for about 20 minutes before he flew back to me (I was sitting nearby on a park bench). He didn't fly anymore after that, so I took him in. I was surprised how fast hummingbirds can fly. I have seen them harass Manzi before when he is hanging out in a tree, but never chasing him while flying.

Lastly, Manzi and Maui are still not friends. I have been feeding them treats on the same perch. They eat their treats and then I separate them before any trouble starts. Manzi is still not very happy about Maui's presence. On the other hand, she is totally relaxed and has wandered around the apartment a couple of times today. She doesn't get into trouble, nor feel the need to destroy anything she comes into contact with, like Manzi. I wonder if there is a calm gene? j/k

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Maui better, Manzi worse

So, Manzi is not very happy with the new arrangement. At first he seemed to like Maui. Then he wasn't so fond and now he is treating it close to all out war. When I take Maui out of her cage, Manzi goes inside and eats her left over food and then plays with her toys. He gets so jealous of her when I scratch her head or hold her. Today, when she was nicely eating, Manzi went over to harass her. I shut her cage so he couldn't go inside. Instead, for the next 20 minutes he was climbing around the outside, but moving her toys (as they are attached to the cage bars) and also trying to grab her. Maui was attempting to eat in peace, but she was paranoid about what Manzi was doing. Sometimes she would reach out to him and he would bite at her beak, but luckily they can't hurt each others beaks. Finally, after twenty minutes of being harassed, Maui had a light bulb moment. It was funny because I could see the thought process in her head. She saw Manzi climbing around and then looked at his feet (as his beak would just bite at her). She watched his feet for a minute and then she bit at him. Manzi squealed and quickly jumped off her cage. He didn't sustain any real injuries, but it really surprised him. Since then, he has left Maui alone. Maybe now he realizes he isn't the only one who can do damage. Later tonight Manzi has been very energetic wanting attention. I gave it to him for a couple of hours and then put him up for the night.

On another note, Maui is really relaxing here. She is now coming out of her cage all on her own. I can take her out at any time and she never tries to bite me. She is also loving getting scratches. She sat on my lap for 40 minutes enjoying getting her head scratched. She is a sweet heart. I am glad that she is becoming more and more confident and feels comfortable walking around on the ground and leaving her cage. She is even playing with her toys. I am working at improving her flight skills. Right now they are close to zero, so anything at this point would be an improvement. She can fly upwards and do a slight, uncontrolled turn and she is quite good at hitting stationery objects at low speeds to minimize impact. I have her fly the last foot back to her cage and to the ground. Maui is so nervous about flying, but she is always holding her wings out as if she wants to fly, but doesn't have the courage to do so. Hopefully she will gain confidence in that area. She also needs to develop some muscle mass. This weekend I will begin trying to teach her a trick. I'm not sure what I should teach her first. Maybe I'll start with target training.

Lastly, both Greys are now copying each other. It is funny because when I first got Maui, I couldn't tell their whistles apart, but it was easy to tell their words apart. Now, that is getting more difficult as both of them can say words in the same tone as the other.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Maui

She had a rough night last night. She panicked when I turned off the lights. I ended up leaving the hall light on and today I talked with her owner and found out that he keeps a nightlight on for the birds. I will leave the hallway light on again tonight and tomorrow will get a nightlight.

Today I took her in the shower with me and she loved the water. I didn't completely soak her, but she did get quite a bit of splashes. She didn't come out of her cage on her own, so to get her in the shower I had to reach into her cage and hope she didn't bite me. She was being a sweet heart and talked the entire time.

Later, I gave both her and Manzi walnuts. Manzi cracked his right away, but Maui couldn't get hers open. Right away she went to her water and dropped it in hoping that it would soften it up. She waited 10 seconds or so and tried cracking it again. She did this about 5 times before I finally took it back and cracked the shell. I didn't completely crush the shell, just made some cracks on the outside. Anyway, Maui took it back from me and immediately dropped it back into her water. This time when she took it out, she was able to open it (due to the cracks made by me). The funny thing is, she probably thinks all her water soaking is what finally worked!

Maui still hasn't come out of the cage on her own, even though I leave the door open all day. Once I heard her climbing around. I looked over and she was halfway out of the door, but as soon as she saw me, she immediately went back inside. She is very shy, but she loves getting her head scratched. Hopefully she'll relax more and more every day. Manzi was showing some jealousy today, but after taking him for a walk by himself this afternoon he was much better and not so naughty.

Just a side note: Both of Maui's eyes are a bit strange. Her right eye has a black fleck near the bottom and her left eye has an unusually shaped pupil. I haven't seen many African Greys, so I have no idea how common this is or if it affects her vision. Maui clearly is not blind and uses both of her eyes. Anyway, here are some photos of her eyes.

Her left eye:

Her right eye:

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Maui's here

She is adorable! I will post a video as soon as I get her a bit more relaxed. When Maui came today, she was terrified of being in a new place and hearing hawks calling outside. It took her a while to relax and about an hour before she started making noises. Within a few hours, she began talking away. She has quite the repertoire and can imitate both a female and a male person. Her and Manzi spent all afternoon chatting back and forth with each other. Maui didn't come out of her cage, but she did eat some food and put her head down to let me scratch it. She hasn't threatened me at all and has been very sweet. She let Manzi also scratch her head for a bit. He didn't do a very good job, but he'll learn.

I just covered Manzi, but since his cage is right next to Maui's, she got very scared of the cover being tossed over his cage. I need to find something to cover her cage too which will hopefully make her feel more comfortable. I hope we all get some sleep tonight and that no one wakes up too early in the morning.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Three Week Slumber Party

Maui will be staying with Manzi and me for three weeks starting this Sunday while her owner is away. I already made a spot for her near Manzi's cage.

Right now Manzi is trying to seduce my deodorant and keeps trying to put his head down in front of it encouraging the deodorant to scratch him. His attempts are not working on it as it seems more content to remain the inanimate object of Manzi's affection. Maybe Maui will be more receptive?

I will post a video clip when I get the two together (referring to Manzi and Maui, not Manzi and the deodorant).

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Flying again

I took Manzi out flying yesterday. He did really well. The wind was around 14 mph, but it didn't phase him. Manzi is still working on regaining his flight skills. He has also continued missing some of his landings. I haven't been able to take him out regularly though like last year.

He had a grand time.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Manzi and Maui

So Manzi saw his new girlfriend again today. At first they just said hi through the cage. Manzi is trying to touch Maui and while she is puffed up at him in a semi threatening manner, she is lowering her head begging for a scratch (which I give her right after this picture is taken).
For the following pictures, Manzi is on the right and Maui on the left, bu in the first picture Maui is on the right inside her cage. Manzi is quite a bit darker than Maui for unknown reasons.

Next, they were allowed to touch away from the cage.

Manzi was trying so hard to get to the perch with Maui, but as soon as I put him on the perch, he stayed at the very far edge away from Maui and she did the same.

Maui was being a sweetheart and kept asking for Manzi to scratch her while he was being quite upfront just walking up to her reaching at her with his beak. Here, he is looking at her feet and she is trying to stay back wondering what he is doing.

After a while, they both began to preen and relax. As you can see, Manzi is on one foot getting comfortable.

All in all, I would say it was a huge success today. I was hoping that they would put up with each other, but they really like each other already. When I went to take Manzi from the perch, he kept putting his head down trying to avoid getting picked up because he wanted to stay on the perch with Maui. Also, Maui was quite chatty and it seems they were both trying to impress each other.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Flying Today

Today I took Manzi out flying. He flew for about 30 minutes. He is getting better and better each time. It was a bit windy, but he did fine. He still is struggling to stop when going very fast, but he just circles around again, or he lands in a low tree and then flies down to me.

When Manzi was flying (towards the end), a small hawk passed by. It was about the same size of Manzi and flew very low to the ground. All of the birds were giving warning calls and it just passed on by. I'm not sure what type of hawk or falcon it was, but it paid Manzi no attention. I didn't want to take any chances though so I called Manzi down and we called it quits for the day.

Friday, July 23, 2010

A huge success

Manzi did so well on his car seat today. At first, I put him on and started backing out. He flew to my shoulder right away. I then let him stay on my hand for five minutes while I held it over the car seat. After that, I put him back on the seat and he stayed there the remainder of the drive. Manzi was a bit leery of visiting other parrots. It was his first time ever seeing another African Grey. At first, the Grey, Maui, puffed up at Manzi and tried to threaten him. He was scared, but after a while stopped paying attention to her. After 40 minutes, Maui began to put her head down indicating she wanted Manzi to scratch her. He did reach out towards her, but I was afraid of either of them getting hurt, so I held him back. Anyway, it seems that she liked Manzi and me both after a while. I think they will get along just fine.

Quick funny story: While I was outside with Manzi and Hercules, my neighbor stopped by to talk. She is moving away and gave me her new phone number. I put it in my phone and then called her to save the number. As soon as I put the phone up to my ear, Manzi stated, "Hello." It made my neighbor and me laugh as I wasn't really calling anyone. He just thinks that every time the phone goes to my ear, I need to say, "Hello."

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Out of Town

I have been at a conference in Denver for the past week (it was a last minute decision). I will get home on Monday. A guy is taking care of Manzi (not the one who will take care of him while I am in France) and it is going very well. Manzi is now learning that there are nice guys around. Manzi is being let out for a hour every day and is not fly at the guy or harassing him at all. In fact, the guy finds Manzi humorous and loves seeing his antics. They are getting along great. This coming week I will probably take Manzi to the person who will watch him while I am in France. There are other parrots there, so I would like to see how they get along. To date, Manzi has seen one other macaw and a parakeet. He was scared to death of the Macaw, but after a few visits he stopped being afraid. He was scared at first of the parakeet, followed by curiosity, followed by annoyance. He has never seen another african grey, so this will be the first time.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Home Found

It has been over a week since I posted how worried I was about finding Manzi a nice home while I am away in France. My luck has taken a great turn for the better since then. I just happened to be talking to my neighbor about it when he phoned his friend who also has parrots. On Sunday the friend came over and he is a perfect match for the job. He was able to hold Manzi and after having Manzi for five minutes, when I asked for Manzi to step up, Manzi refused because he wanted to stay with the guy. I took Manzi anyway, but I was very happy to see that Manzi was comfortable with him. Usually, Manzi will step to someone and then hold his foot out for me to pick him back up. In addition, this guy is the nicest person ever. He has a power washer too which will make cleaning Manzi's cage easy and he has a van to transport the cage. The situation seems ideal.

This Wednesday I will bring Manzi to his house just to look around and to introduce him to the other parrots. The guy has a female african grey, so I am thinking Manzi might be liking her. I will get to use the car seat finally and for the first time, Manzi will see another African Grey. He's never seen one since I've owned him, so hopefully he will know that it is his own species.

By the way, I will use the "man's" name as soon as I get approval. I forgot to ask last time I spoke with him.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Car Seat

Here is Manzi's new car seat. I have to bribe him with an almond to get him to stay on it. He is not afraid of it and within five minutes of me making it, he was standing on it. I haven't tried it out with him in the car. It buckles nicely into the seat and I would put newspapers or a towel under him and that way he doesn't have to be locked up in his small travel cage for long car rides. People have expressed concern over Manzi flying around inside the car. Often, I would let him out of his travel cage and he would hang out on top, but would go to the bathroom off the side, which is very inconvenient. I am not worried about him flying around and if he does, I can easily attach his leg leash so he has to stay on the perch. Even if a cage is large and a perch is small, he would prefer to be out on a perch any day over being in a cage.
About someone to watch Manzi: Yesterday I got a great lead from my neighbor. I will check it out later this week and see if it is a match.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Completely off topic

The other day I was having a conversation with two friends, both of whom had two young children. One friend had to have her mom watch her kids for a week. This led to a discussion of the convenience of having parents around to watch their grandchildren, but also of the fact that the grandchildren always need to be re-trained upon returning home.
Why do grandparents do that to their children's children? Revenge? Wanting to be a favorite? A question asked was, "When do they go from thinking 'the child needs to eat his dinner before getting ice cream' to 'let's give him ice cream and dinner at the same time and let him decide what he prefers?'" I found this extraordinarily funny. It is true that before we become grandparents, we can have some common sense about children. I wonder why all grandparents behave in the same way. It makes me think that I might not escape the loss of reasoning. Maybe instead it is all a conspiracy theory to make their children pay for the suffering they caused.
Another child I know used to throw bad temper tantrums. The child's grandmother would watch her for a week at a time. Once, when the child, mother and grandmother were all together, the child threw a temper tantrum. To this, the grandmother exclaimed, "She never behaves that way with me!" There was certainly a reason for this. The grandmother gave the child everything she could possibly want, so there was never a reason to throw a tantrum. It seemed like for every week that she watched the child, another week was needed to re-train the child.

Morale of this story: Think of how much problems your children give you. Write them down and remember them. Then when they have children of their own, conveniently throw out any logic reasoning and your grandchildren will adore you.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Manzi flying

I did end up taking Manzi outside again, but didn't have someone to film. Manzi finally began doing tricks in the air again. He used to do tricks all the time, such as dives, quick turns, etc. But since I've been taking him out this year, he has done none of that and instead is just flying in large circles making clumsy landings. His flight skills are coming back rapidly and he is going to be an expert acrobatic soon.

I haven't taken Manzi out since Monday afternoon and am not sure when I can take him out again. I have been getting more and more sick. Hopefully I feel better soon so we can enjoy the outdoors.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Leaving again

As of right now, I plan on leaving to France for six months starting at the end of August. I am very worried about Manzi. Four people have told me they will watch Manzi as a "last resort." Well, one of the four actually said, "last, last resort." He is quite the handful as he can be loud, demanding, moody, messy and once in your care, you can never leave anywhere for more than a couple of days unless you find someone to take care of him while you're gone. On a positive note, usually within a couple weeks of me being gone, he transfers all of his love for me to the new caretaker (in the case of a couple, he has transferred his love to the wife and his anger to the husband). Manzi can be loud, but he is not nearly as loud as many other parrots and at night, once he is covered he is quite until he is uncovered in the morning.

Anyway, I am not sure what to do. All of the people who will watch him as a last resort, are not willing to take Manzi out of his cage due to their fear of him. I doubt Manzi would do well being locked up for six months. I was hoping to find someone so excited about watching Manzi that they think I am doing them the favor by choosing them. I am willing to pay. The problem with paying is that if they really don't like Manzi, only an exorbitant amount of money would be worth the trouble. And if they really do like Manzi, then the money is really of little importance.

If any has recommendations or offers, please comment.

Next item on the list:
Manzi is doing great flying outdoors. He is still very rusty with his flight skills, but he is getting better very quickly. I will take Manzi outdoors again today. Maybe I can even make a short video.

Hercules is doing great. After being back only a week, his weight has jumped up. I have been taking him out to the park to get some exercise and he is loving it.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Hercules found

Hercules was found!!!

My neighbor called and said he saw Hercules walking in the grass about a few hundred feet from where I had last seen him. Now he is safely back in his yard enclosure (10' by 6'). I will still take him out every day, but I am going to try a new method. Besides trying not to take my eyes off him, someone suggested taping a helium balloon to his back while he is out to make it easy to spot him.

It is just in time as I was about to print out another 100 color flyers to post later on today.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Lost Hercules (tortoise)

Last Tuesday I lost Hercules. I like to take him to the huge grassy area in our apartments when it gets warm to let him run around. While outside for an hour, I decided to bring Manzi out too and let him fly around. Manzi did great and was staying quite close to me the entire time. But after Manzi being out for 5 minutes, I had forgotten to check on Hercules and by that time, I couldn't find him. A few neighbors were out with me and they helped me search the nearby bushes for two hours. Later that afternoon some friends came over and helped me look for another two hours. He can move quite quickly and steadily, which allows him to cover a large area in not too much time.

So far, I have posted 165 flyers. A big problem is that on three sides the apartments are surrounded by fields of trees and scrubs. If he gets into those fields, he will be impossible to find. I have also called the SPCA, the police department, local vets and animal rescues. I have posted ads on Craigslist and on a couple of "lost pet" websites. I hope I find him. I am very worried that he will get run over by a car.

Also, since there are so many people in our apartment area, I am thinking that maybe somebody already found him and picked him up. If so, I just need to find that person. I put so many signs up around the apartments that it will be impossible for someone to not see a sign.

A neighbor suggested a scent dog. That would be great because they would be able to follow his trail, but unfortunately I could not find any that were available. I called the sheriff to ask them and they suppressed a laugh. Having a scent dog would be very nice right now.

My neighbors and friends are great since they've spent so much time helping me search for him and putting up flyers with me. Hopefully it works in helping Hercules get back home.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Free Flying Again!!!!

And he's off!!!

Today was Manzi's 2010 debut. He was so excited to fly outside again. He did a few recalls and then took off in big circles stretching his wings. Manzi's first few landings were pretty bad due to landing on weak branches or just missing completely. He didn't fly as fast as normal nor did he do very many acrobatics, but he did play in the trees. Also, Manzi did about 5 recalls before I finally took him in. We're going to go again tomorrow. Hopefully we'll see the same success.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Cookies and Manzi

I realized that making cookies and African Grey Parrots do not mix. Today, I spent a good deal of the morning rolling balls of cookie dough. Due to Manzi's inability to control himself, he spent a good deal of the morning locked up in his cage. This time he didn't get a greasy hand print like last time, but he did make off with an uncooked ball of cookie dough. Luckily, I got it back before it could completely ruin his appetite. (For those who are concerned, I did not bake that cookie and it ended up in the trash)

I found a nice park in Woodland to fly Manzi and since today is a holiday it would have been the perfect time. Unfortunately, it has been cloudy all day with a chance of sporadic showers. If Manzi does get stuck outside, I don't want there to be a chance of rain. Hopefully we can have better luck tomorrow.

His indoor flight training has been going great. I am still recalling Manzi with both arms down (using a vocal command) and when he gets close, I raise an arm for him to land. He is very confident in this and with his T-stand so hopefully that will work to his benefit when we go outside.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Red tail or Swainson

Yesterday morning there were two different types of hawks in my living room. Both a Red Tail hawk and a Swainson's hawk. There wasn't actually the real thing, just an excellent imitation of their calls. Manzi picked up both of their calls just recently. The Red Tail's have been around lately calling out a lot this past week. Then, two days ago a pair of Swainson's were flying high above our apartments for 10 minutes or so calling out the entire time. Instead of just learning one call, Manzi decided to learn both at roughly the same time. I don't know if imitating the hawk call will be challenging for other hawks keeping them away, or if it is more akin to him learning, "Here kitty, kitty, kitty."

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Juggled African Grey

I have been working with Manzi for the past week to get him to let me toss him while on his back. We are getting pretty good at this. I am not the most coordinated tosser in the world so I need some practice and Manzi sometimes moves and wiggles a bit making it more difficult, but it is really fun.



As requested, here is the training process to get to this point:
1. Get him to lie on his back on my hand (this was done a long time ago)
a) Have him perch on one hand while you cover his back with the other hand.
b) Slightly tip him backwards and immediately reward him
c) Tip him more and more each time and over a few days he was fine being tipped all the way backwards.
d) Un-do his feet from you finger after tipping him back so he is no longer holding on and just laying in your hand on his back.
2. Put him on his back in your hand and slightly move your hand up and down, then flip him back over and reward him.
3. Increase the speed of the up down movement (wait until the second training session) until he is actually gaining air. Manzi kinda flipped out the first time he gained air, but after a couple of times he realized he wasn't getting hurt and he was getting a treat.
4. Move him from one hand to the other, without tossing him. This is so he is comfortable with you changing hands while he is lying on his back.
5. Begin to toss him from one hand to the other, increasing the height of the tosses over 4-5 training sessions.

Since I am using both hands, I couldn't really use a clicker. I think a clicker would be really helpful in this, so if you have someone around who is willing to help, have them handle the clicker for you. In this scenario, you want to begin clicking very early (right after putting him on his back or right after moving him up and down once) at the beginning of this process. That way, since it is so new, you're not going to be asking for much and they get rewarded and are excited to do the training. After a couple of sessions, begin taking longer and longer to click, that way they will let you toss them a few times back and forth before trying to flip back over and look for the reward.



Friday, May 14, 2010

Wheezing

I have been hearing Manzi wheezing a few times over the past two days. A parrot will act normal until they are very sick, at which time it is often too late to treat them with much success. My experience in working with animal health gives me a small amount of confidence that I have a slight advantage in detecting subtle differences, but I am still vigilant.
Anyway, after hearing Manzi wheeze, I would hold him close to my ear and every once in a while he would still make the wheezing noise. I wasn't sure whether he was imitating a wheezing noise, or his breathing was actually causing the wheezing noise. Not wanting to take any chances, I brought him to a neighbor with a stethoscope.

Luckily, living in the student housing at the largest agricultural university in the U.S. means there's an awful lot of veterinarians, many of them fellow graduate students who are more than happy to answer my questions and take a look at Manzi.

At first I was holding Manzi's head while the neighbor was listening with his stethoscope, but Manzi got fed up with that. So the neighbor suggested that I put the stethoscope on Manzi's back while he listened. That worked quite well and Manzi was just fine with that. Although afterward, the stethoscope was in the neighbor's hand nearby Manzi. Manzi looked at it for a couple minutes while we were talking and then he launched himself at it in an attempt to beat it up for it being forced on his chest and back against his will.

Conclusion: Manzi has a healthy heart beat and no unusual lung sound. If I continue to hear it or it gets worse, then I can bring him back anytime, but it is probably Manzi just imitating a noise.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

I hear someone home!

My neighbor told me a funny event. She came over to talk to me while I was away. She heard someone talking inside so she thought it was great to have caught me while I am at home. Anyway, she said after she knocked, the talking immediately stopped. After a minute or so, she began to hear whistling and then talking again. It was about this time that she realized it was Manzi. I didn't realize that he makes me look like I have bad manners in that he makes it seem as if someone is home, just not wanting to answer the door.

Today I went for a walk with Manzi. I have been having a nail trimming war with him. He sharpens his nails just as fast as I can trim them down. He figured out that if he wedges them between the bars of his cage and his beak, he can get them razor sharp. He started doing that about a month ago and since I have had a constant layer of scabs covering my wrists. Before I trimmed his nails every two months or so, but now after trimming them, they are sharp within a week. Today he even gave me an inch long scratch that broke the skin. I have two nail trimming perches, but those seem to do nothing. I'm not sure how to handle this. Hopefully he gets tired of spending so much time sharpening his nails.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Ear Canal

Last time I showered Manzi, I took some pictures so people can see what an African Grey's ear canal looks like.

Right
Left

Also, it was "Whole Earth Festival" here in Davis. That is where hippies from all over the Western US get together and celebrate on Campus. They all just sleep out on the grass, sing, dance, sell creative stuff that they've come up with and talk. Many of them have animals. I brought Manzi around this year. At first he was afraid of everything, but within 20 minutes he was making noises and occasionally saying a word or two. I also let other people hold Manzi. He was really good about stepping up to the first 10 strangers, but then he had enough and no longer wanted me to put him of their arms. At that point, it had been over an hour and was sprinkling. Manzi was also not too happy about the sprinkles. He felt the sky was attacking him and each time a drop of water fell on him he would shake his head and look up to see where it came from. That was the first time I can recall bringing him out in the rain.

Anyway, I am working on a new trick with Manzi. I did two 3 minute training sessions and will do two more today and hopefully get it recorded and posted sometime this week, if not tonight.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Long denied, but not forgotten

I have been neglecting Manzi's journey on the road to fame by not posting in far too long. Currently, we are doing frequent flight indoors, but have still not flown outdoors. My nightmares of Manzi getting taken away by a hawk or eagle has me continue to make excuses of why I haven't brought him outside. Manzi is getting more and more agitated as we go on walks with beautiful weather and him being stuck on my hand by a leg leash.

Here is a funny story: Manzi always wants to be on my shoulder when I am in the kitchen. I allow him to be there for a while, but he never fails to get overly curious and began reaching to items that I have in my hand. This is especially prevalent while washing dishes. I finally got tired of him hanging from the front of my shirt trying to reach dishes, so I put a lot of soap on a dish and let him bite it. He right away grabbed it in his beak, but half a second later dropped it and shock his head as he tasted the soap. He did not learn his lesson. Within a minute he was grabbing for dishes again. I repeated the soap trick. After several times, he stopped grabbing for dishes; But, the next time I was washing dishes he did the same thing. I soaped up the dishes and gave them to him several times per day over the next week. This morning when I was washing dishes, he flew to my shoulder, but he did not try to grab the dishes. I even held up a tempting wooden spoon and he just shook his head (something he does when he doesn't want whatever it is that I am offering him). I was amazed that he finally learned that he is going to get a mouth of soap if he grabs at the dishes I am washing. Now I can happily wash dishes with him on my shoulder and not hanging down the front of my shirt grabbing at everything.

Does anyone sabotage their children's efforts in a similar way?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Manzi the terror

I should count how many times I refer to Manzi as such. This morning he has been terrorizing my house. He is back to going after the bathroom trash can, with a vengeance. Luckily, I found his stuffed animal and that occupied him for a good 30 minutes, but now he is back to the trash can as I am typing this.

This morning after I was finishing a long walk, I saw a peregrine falcon almost take out a crow. Luckily for the crow, it dogged the bullet and then recruited some friends to harrass the falcon until it finally flew away. It leaves me concerned.

Also, Manzi has been extremely regurgitational. Multiple times last night and then first thing in the morning. If you already get grossed out by animal grossness, stop reading here.

When regurgitating, he usually just brings food up into his beak and then re-eats it. Every so often he will actually spit it out. He spit the food out last night, then went about his ways. A couple of minutes later he noticed the chunks of food on the ground (I had yet to clean it up) and proceeded to eat it as if he found a real treat. I myself found it disgusting. I am glad I'm not a bird, especially a female one who has to act happy to receive such a gift.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Doll

Manzi got a new doll/stuffed animal recently. It has given him hours of entertainment as he is working very hard on destroying it. He has pulled the freckles off the cheeks and has dislocated the hands/paws. Since I am getting rid of a lot of belongings, Manzi is competing with Goodwill to claim my old items. If he looks really interested, and not just interested in it because he can't have it, then I will let him destroy it. Unfortunately, it often happens that just when it is no longer donatable to Goodwill, he will be completely uninterested and never want to touch the item again, even though there is still a lot of destroying left in it.

I still haven't taken Manzi to the gym. Maybe that will happen next week, or maybe not. I haven't seen many hawks by the park where Manzi used to fly, so now I need to take the leap and fly him outside again. It is still a scary proposition for me though. Manzi is overly eager. I have been taking him on walks outside again every day and he is getting more and more frustrated that he is not allowed to fly around. I wonder how well he'll fly after not being outside in so long.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Manzi and my brush

Manzi just loves my brush. Due to that, I usually brush my hair when I see he is occupied and not paying attention. Otherwise, he flies to my shoulder and tries to get the brush to scratch him instead of having it wasted on my hair.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Shower Curtain

Manzi follows me around the house all day and won't let me out of his sight. Today, while getting ready I was in the bathroom. Manzi usually hangs out on the rug or plays with the inside of toilet paper rolls. (I have something in every room for him to play with instead of getting into trouble although he often still gets into trouble) Anyway, today Manzi went for the door handle. He tried landing on it and slipped off and made it to the top of the shower curtain rod. He has rarely been up there before. He was interested in the shower curtain hooks and saw that with one swift motion he can unhook them. Within 10 seconds he had half the shower curtain hooks off with the curtain hanging down. By this point I stopped him, much to his disappointment. Sometimes I try and figure out what is going through Manzi's head. Often I come to the conclusion that he is thinking, "What can I do to cause the most amount of trouble and make Adele work hard to repair, replace or clean?"

On another note, I have been selling lots of belongings on Ebay in preparation for my big move this summer. Due to that, I have items strewn about the house in boxes ready to be shipped as soon as I have a buyer. Manzi can barely contain his curiosity. About once per an hour he goes to the ground and starts walking around. I keep a good eye on him. As he begins to eye an item, he will step closer and closer to it while continuing to glance in my direction as if asking me, "Can I please chew and destroy this?" The answer is nearly always, "No." Manzi will get close enough to touch it and then I tell him, "No," after which he will, with much disappointment, fly back to his play stand or cage.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sickness Delay

I got back from L.A. on Monday night. Manzi greeted me with regurgitated food. (He really knows how to woo a woman) Anyway, I am still sick (going on three weeks) but will hopefully be better soon. I took Manzi on a walk outside today, but didn't venture too far. I will wait to fly him in the gym until my health is improved. Today I did do indoor recalls with Manzi. This time, the first flight from me, Manzi at first headed to his cage, but changed course mid flight and landed on his perch. This was from all the way across the room. All subsequent flights were between me and the perch. I am very happy about how fast Manzi is catching on.

While outside, Manzi is so eager to fly. He holds his wings out nearly the whole time ready to take off. I did let him climb on some branches of a tree. Once I put him on he was very happy and didn't want to come off. Today Manzi has been a sweetheart. It is nice that when I am sick or down for any reason, Manzi can sense that and is much more affectionate and cuddly.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Recalls using Perch

Today we did recall training again. Last time Manzi returned to the perch from four feet away. Today Manzi returned from ten feet away. Another thing I am doing is not holding out my arm when I call him. I heard that if you hold out your arm, they might be paying attention to that cue and not the voice command. Then, if they are high up in a tree and can't see your arm, they might not recall. Anyway, when I don't hold up my arm Manzi showed some hesitation at first, but now he sees that I put my hand up as soon as he gets close to me. He did fly back to his cage twice instead of the perch, but I immediately picked up up from his cage and he then flew to his perch. He is realizing that when he flies to his perch, he gets to eat the treat. Also, Manzi's motivation is very high. He is not doing any refusals and he is coming immediately when I call him. I am excited about doing outdoor flying again.

Next week we're going to fly in a gym (we found one) so that should be fun. I am leaving town for the weekend, but I will post updates again next week on the progress.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Big Show Off

Today a good friend of mine, Ixchelle, came over with her four children to eat lunch and see Manzi. I warned them that Manzi might not talk for them, but in less than 10 seconds he began chatting away. He started off with a repeating "hello" a couple of times. Then he went right into laughing, saying "okay" and "I love you." It was really cute. Manzi is often very quiet with strangers, but he just loved the attention from Ixchelle and her children. He also did all of his tricks and even did his tricks on the command of some of the children. Needless to say, he was a big hit.

Update on flight training: I set up the perch and have begun indoor recall. While Manzi is accustomed to coming to me, taking the treat and then returning to his cage to eat it, he is not used to returning to the perch. He flew back to the perch when I was about four feet away, but further than that he would return to his cage to eat the treat. I am going to continue doing the recall and sending him back to the perch at a distance where I know he will make it. I am also using the words "perch" and "cage" for their respective locations.

Cuddles: Today was extraordinary in how cuddly Manzi was. He usually doesn't want scratches midday as he gets bored and would rather get into trouble. Today though, he flew to me as I was working on the computer and he napped on my arm with his beak tucked under his wing. After a while, he decided that my hands (which were busy typing on the computer) would better serve him by scratching his head. Since it was unusual, I indulged in a love fest and spent 45 minutes scratching his head. While scratching his head, he is constantly turning and moving so my fingers get just the right spot, much like a dog or cat. Manzi did get bored eventually and went back to getting into trouble. When he gets cuddly like that he is such a little darling! Completely irresistible!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Manzi attacking blue lid

Here is a new video of Manzi. After making it, I thought it would be funny to post in the following form.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pgnQjm62_H4

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Plagued by a Cat

Unfortunately, others in my apartment complex amuse themselves with feeding the feral cats. Due to this, there has been a large increase in the number of wild kittens running a muck. The kittens from the past litter are nearly full grown. One of them, I'll call him Smokey, is intent on harassing Hercules, my sulcatta tortoise. When it warms, Hercules gets full run of the garden on my patio. I am worried that Smokey might hurt poor Hercules so I chase him away any time I see him enter the patio. Today, Manzi was preening on his cage top when he let out a warning shriek and took off way too fast. He couldn't stop, but the cupboards in the kitchen helped him to do so. After a thump, he flew back up to his cage breathing very hard. Usually when this happens, I will see a tractor or some large vehicle outside the window. In this case, it was just Smokey. I chased Smokey away and Hercules, who was outside at the time, came back out of his shell.

Manzi is just fine. He is not hurt at all, he just had a scare. Right now he is back to running around on the floor wrecking havoc.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Blood and Terror

First, I want to apologize for the delay in updates. Things have been hectic in my life so I haven't done as much training with Manzi.

Here is the blood story: Manzi's nails began to scratch me and that means it's time to clip them. I clipped them as usual and he was just fine with it. After about 30 minutes, he began to fly all around while I was working. He was flying and running around for a few minutes when he landed on me. I noticed that there was blood on his foot. I must have clipped his nail very close to the quick and then Manzi chewed it the rest of the way. I looked up and noticed that he spread blood all over my living area. There were little bloody footprints everywhere. It looked like a mini blood bath and I am glad no policeman randomly showed up or he might not believe my story. I looked at Manzi's nail but couldn't do anything about it and within a minute or so it stopped bleeding anyway. I was a bit concerned about the amount of blood, but Manzi seemed no worse for the wear. It took me nearly 30 minutes to clean up the blood and then sanitize my place. What a bloody mess!!! (get the pun?)

Terror: Lately Manzi has found silverware to be his mortal enemy. I'm not sure why. I think that he wants some of my food and even though I usually give him some, it is not enough so then in frustration he goes after the culprit. Over the past couple weeks I have had spoons and forks tackled, knocked to the floor and then flung around. Manzi flies out of no where at the silverware. He got my finger on accident a couple of times. When I am eating cereal it causes a big mess. Needless to say, now Manzi is locked in his cage for the duration of meals. He is still allowed to hang out with me while I cook, but once the food is ready to serve, he goes in his cage and then it is safe to take out the silverware.

Freeflight: There are still many hawks in the area, but their numbers are diminishing. I am going to resume indoor recalls either today or tomorrow and hopefully within a few weeks we can do outdoor flying again.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Manzi and Drifter

My friend came over with her dog, Drifter. Her dog is a large, 80lb, champion duck hunting, English Laborador Retriever. If you notice in the pictures, he is being held by his collar. This helps prevent teeth marks in Manzi. Luckily, Drifter is one of the best behaved dogs I've seen. I would not trust other dogs to be in this close of proximity to Manzi. Manzi thought he could take on Drifter. He was biting Drifter's fur while on his back and then got distracted with a the brake on my friend's wheel chair.
I like Drifter's look that seems to say, "Do I have to put up with this?"

Also, Manzi has stopped waking me up with the alarm beeps and then the barks, but as soon as he hears me get up, he proceeds with his routine (alarm, whistle calling dogs and then barking). This goes on until I uncover him every morning.

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