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


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.

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