Monday, December 7, 2015

Hercules' new home

So Hercules has been loving his huge new home. He has 3000sqft of yard (currently growing clover, fescue and bermuda grass, dandelion and other weeds), and he has this 3' x 4' enclosure. The enclosure is fully insulated (ground, walls and ceiling). We have it heated for the cold nights. It took him 3 days to figure out how to go through the flaps. We pushed him through each day initially, but now he is quite confident and content in his new place. We added a removable wall (that is also insulated) so we can more easily clean out the mess he makes inside his house. The removable part is what the handles on the left side are for. It does get muddy, so we elevated it off the ground with some cinder blocks and then made a long ramp. It took the better part of 3 days to build this home, but hopefully it last many, many years. It is very solid and it took two people to carry it in four different pieces to its final location. We don't plan on moving it any time soon. It works well being positioned on the side of the house to protect from winds. He has free access to the back yard at all times. 

Despite the larger yard, he still patrols the fence regularly looking for weak spots!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Settling in

We have been through a lot of changes in the past few months. We bought a house and moved. We also had a baby. So the birds have been going through quite a bit.

Maui was great with the movers and the workers in our new house. She is much more watchful than Manzi. I've been covering Manzi some times when he gets too scared of the workers and begins to panic. Most of the work is done now though, so things are settling down. Maui often takes longer to adjust, but she is less spastic than Manzi. So Manzi will totally freak out, flapping all over the place for some new things (like the washer being moved into the new place), but then he will be the first to go over and check it out. Often, his checking out new items is quite amusing because he puffs up his feathers so much to look more intimidating. Either way, a 200lb appliance is much larger and much less intimidated than Manzi likes to think.

Maui on the other hand, she is watchful of everything without panicking, but she is perfectly content to wait for weeks or months before she deems something "safe" and no longer a threat. Sometimes, if I don't push the issue, she will never allow an item off of her "scary/threat" list. So with her, I've been taking her around the house showing her that everything is alright and that she should make herself at home. Just last night, she felt enough at home that when my husband was too close to her cage, she did threaten his feet! Still, she's been keeping to herself here.

Due to a new baby, we have had a lot of visitors. The birds are loving it. They get lots of attention and lots of treats. I think the visitors are spoiling them, but I do like for them to see visitors as a good thing. They are both doing their tricks regularly for visitors. Maui will often began saying, "Work, work, work" when she sees a visitor, 'cause she knows it leads to a treat. Manzi will wave his foot "hi", spread his wings and turn around in quick succession to get treats.

Hercules has been doing great. He loves his huge backyard. We built him a more permanent home, with insulation and a heater (it does get somewhat cold in southern california at times). It took him three days to learn to go through the hanging flaps into his house, but once he figured it out, he is always in his home before dark and doesn't come out until he sees the sunlight.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Maui in distress

Maui has been exhibiting this odd/distressed looking behavior since I first got her. It is very infrequent though, only about once per month or less. Anyway, I was finally able to capture it on video (this is really difficult because it is so short lived and so infrequent). The vet said she is fine (old, but otherwise okay). Her blood levels didn't show any surprising levels.

If anyone has any idea about the video, let me know.

An update on the birds:
Manzi and Maui are doing well. They are both enjoying a lot of me time, but my life has been busy. We have a move coming up in the next 1.5 months. The birds will get a much larger space. Our house will be over double in size. Their large cage will go in the main living area and we will finally build them the aviary that I've always wanted to build them. The new place has a concrete slab in the back where a shed is kept. I am thinking of removing that shed and building the aviary on top of that. It will make cleaning easy since I'd be able to just hose it off. Still, the house also needs a lot of work as well, so it may be several months before we get to the aviary.

It took the birds quite some time to adapt to this place and neither of them ever got comfortable with the second level. I'm hoping that they will adapt just fine to the new place. It is all one floor, which I am really happy about, so they will have an easier time exploring. We are not putting in any carpet, which will give me some peace of mind about Maui's wanderings.

We have had quite a bit of visitors and Manzi is still pretty eager to entertain. Last week he was flying to a visitor's hand taking treats from him. Maui does not go to visitors, but she will allow women to scratch her head (Manzi doesn't often allow strangers this).

We are currently surrounded on all sides by dog owners. After a full year of not imitating the dogs, our neighbors brought home a puppy. It is pretty cute, and now both birds torment the poor puppy, copying his puppy barks multiple times throughout the day. When the puppy is in the patio adjacent to the birds, the birds will began barking, causing the puppy to bark like crazy. They all continue on for several minutes until the neighbors bring the puppy inside. It is amusing (for me at least).

Friday, May 1, 2015

Hercules Digging

This past week Hercules has taken to digging. I only have an 8" planter, so he cannot get very far.

I tried getting a video, but as soon as I approached him, he'd stop kicking the dirt up. He's been growing great, really enjoying the west coast sun and warmth.

We had visitors for the past 10 days. Visitors mean the birds are not free to roam the house, so they are a lot more confined, but there is also a lot more chatter among the people, which invariably leads to a lot more chatter among the birds.

The first evening after the visitors were gone, the birds were in the house in the evening and Maui was roaming around. She took to following my husband quite closely for a couple of hours, scurrying as fast as her little legs would go as soon as he got up to go anywhere. It was pretty cute. We're still very unsure of her intentions. She doesn't act aggressive, but she doesn't ask or accept scratches from him either. She seems intent on just staying within a foot or two of him, watching him.

With Spring coming on, Maui has also been shredding her boxes at full force. I keep boxes in her cage because it keeps her entertained, but every day there are piles of shredded cardboard at the bottom of her cage. Manzi is not nearly as interested. He'll glance down at Maui, then maintain a higher perch, playing with his toys, or just preening himself.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Exercising with Manzi

I have been in a new exercise group, but had to miss it yesterday. So I asked the leader to send me the exercises to do at home. It was legs day, so it involved a lot of squats and jumps. Manzi was hanging out nearby watching me quite intently. After many quick squats, Manzi took it on as a challenge and began head bobbing himself, moving his whole body up and down. It was really cute. He kept it up with me for nearly 10 minutes, making a lot of noise along with it.

After "we" finished, he went back to quietly preening himself.

Maui and Manzi are doing really well during the day time. Manzi is still a lot more energetic and gets into a lot more trouble than Maui, but that is not unexpected! They have also adjusted to having my husband in the house in the evenings. Maui will still occasionally fly after him (maybe once every two weeks), but Manzi completely ignores him. Things have changed though. 

We have a new roommate temporarily (for a few months, ending in two weeks). The roommate loves the birds, especially Maui. Usually Maui loves women, but in the evenings, both birds have been worked up. Starting two weeks ago, Manzi has begun flying after the roommate. This gets Maui worked up. Maui used to let the new roommate scratch her while sitting peacefully. Now it is chaos time in the evenings. Because of this, their schedules have changed. Now, both birds are now spending a large portion of the day inside with me. Maui will often want to go outside, but likes to come in for a while to get scratches. Manzi is half and half. If I am too boring inside, he'll want to go outside. 

Our roommate works really late, so the birds stay inside until she gets home, then I either put them outside for another hour, or just put them to bed. It probably doesn't help that she loves to give them treats. That is what prompted Manzi to fly after her to begin with. They know that when she gets home they are going to get treats. They get so worked up about it!!

Friday, March 27, 2015


Turns out that the birds love artichoke. I was eating it a couple days ago and Manzi flew to the table to check it out. I handed him a leaf and he loved it. I gave him several more.

Maui is usually more picky than Manzi. She will eat a lot, but sometimes I struggle to get her to try things whereas Manzi will try anything. Despite that, when I gave Maui artichoke, she loved it as well.

The following day, I tried some with Hercules. He wasn't quite a keen as the birds, so I gave him only half and gave the birds each a quarter. The birds quickly went through the artichoke.

In this picture, Maui only has one leaf left and finished the heart already:

Manzi usually eats faster, but he was more thorough than Maui, so he still has a way to go with his section: 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Attack of the killer balloons

Yesterday I had a party at my place. One couple brought their 10-month old daughter. She was interested in the balloons at first, until her dad bounced a few nearby. Then she panicked and was scared to death of the balloons after that, wanting to be held the rest of the time.

I left the birds in their cage, as usual when a group of people are around. After everyone left, I brought the birds in. They were just as terrified as the little girl. It didn't help that they both began flapping frantically. Then the balloons moved with the current created by the flapping. Which made the whole situation even more terrifying. Maui, once she made it safely to my hand, kept a death grip on my poor hand. Manzi came to me, but when I went near a balloon he abandoned ship and flew towards the closet where he sleeps. I opened the door and he ran in. I've never seen him so eager to get to bed.

It seems that I have a couple of pansies for birds. My husband pointed out that their fear of balloons is not unlike mine of spiders. Maybe he has a point.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015


The New Year has been hectic. I've slacked off flight training, but even after missing a couple weeks, we had a great session today. Both Manzi and Maui did many flights. Manzi was tempermental/stubborn at first and didn't feel like doing his flights. When he doesn't want to fly, he puts his head down and bites at his perch. When that happens, an easy fix is to go to Maui. She was perfectly happy to do her flights. After two of them, Manzi was begging me to let him fly to me. He knows he doesn't get a treat if he flies without be called. So he will hold his wings out, looking at me waiting for me to call him. Then he does show Maui up by bolting straight to me.

I have been impressed by Maui's flights. She can do 5-6 of them. She is still having to make lots of conscious, mid-air corrections (like accidentally going to high, then slowing her flapping to lower down, or over/under shooting my hand by a couple inches). Manzi doesn't do that at all, but when I did ask him to fly down, he missed the landing and then wouldn't even try again. I need to work with him at that. We have stairs, which is the perfect place to practice.

Hercules is doing well. His grass patch is growing and he is loving the sunny days. Southern California is a better location for him and the birds, weather-wise, than the Twin Cities.

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