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Cori update: 1 week (and one setback)

MaggieBee

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Hi! It's me again with your weekly update on the world's prettiest budgie! I can't believe it's been a week... I suppose time flies when you spend most of it with a little feathered friend.

Ok, let's start with the setback:

4a4a1e84-ff44-49e9-8960-8d4f77b65f82.jpg

The little green devil learned to how to open his cage – and shaved a solid decade off of my life expectancy because he did it while I was cleaning and all the windows were open.

By some miracle (especially since I'm very uncoordinated and cripplingly nearsighted) I managed to grab him right before he reached the terrace window, but I caught him by the tail and, by the time I had my hand safely around him, his tail feathers had come out.

Cori doesn't seem to be terribly upset by the incident, but he keeps giving what my birdkeeper friend calls 'conure tail wags', which would be extremely cute if it didn't mean he's in discomfort.

Judging by the slight peeling on his beak, pin feathers, constant preening and scratching and the number of intact feathers I keep finding around his cage, I'm fairly certain he's beginning to molt, so they were bound to come out sooner or later – they were already looking a little worn – but I'm really concerned I might have damaged his follicles by pulling them out before time.

I'm also concerned this will have ruined all the work I've put in this week towards gaining his trust. It's the third time I've had to grab him (one being when Lyra brought him to me and the second to move him from the shoebox to his cage) and I'm afraid he's going to be scared of me now. I know it's just a week's worth of bonding – it's not like he was about to start stepping onto my finger – but he we made a lot of progress in that week. Ultimately, it's not about the lost efforts, it's just that it's sad to have him scared of me, like having a friend treating you like a stranger, you know? maybe it's silly.

On the upside, he bit me much more gently this time, so I'm guessing he doesn't consider me as much of a threat now.

Regarding taming: Should I give him a little space first, or continue with our bonding routine as usual? Mostly I've been spending most of my time with him, either in silence (he IS on my work desk after all) or reading aloud, singing or just talking to him. As of this morning, he hardly reacts to my hand when I bring him his food or when I put my hands on the bars, and he lets me get about two inches away from him as long as it's through the cage. I'm letting him settle down while I write this so no idea if any of that will change.

Regarding his diet: the introduction of sprouts has wielded good results. I was planning to start introducing eggs in a month or two once he got used to a more varied diet, but now I'm thinking I might need to start earlier to help with feather growth.

Regarding enrichment: I bought him a toy. He did NOT appreciate the toy. I took the toy out. He seems (seemed?) perfectly happy just chatting with me or listening to his playlist of fun noises, but I can't help feeling he should have something to play with... I also put half his daily portion of seeds and sprouts on a bowl on the opposite side of the cage as an easy foraging exercise. He just screeched at me once he was done with the food on the feeder and realised that was it.

Also, I took his cage to the terrace with me the other day because it's been really cloudy in the mornings and there's a limited time frame where he can get direct sunlight through the open window, so I wanted to get him some sun time. He did not appreciate that either, though he started chirping back at the birds after a while. I might need to get him a full-spectrum lamp; Portugal's a very sunny country, but the forecast for the specific place I live in tends to be "who the heck knows with a chance of clouds".

@Monica, @tka, @Ulis_Beast and @Dorcas George – I offered to tag you guys for purposes of cuteness, but now I'm going to need your input again...

-----
Addendum: I guess this answers the question of whether he escaped or was released. No word from the vet or the lost & found page, but now I'm feeling a little bad his original owner didn't just let him go.
There's always a chance it was one of those people who see smaller pets as replaceable decoration pieces rather than living beings. Whoever it was, they clearly couldn't be bothered to do their homework, considering he'll only accept seeds.

(Needless to say, all his cage doors are now secured by clips as seen in the picture.)
 

Dorcas George

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:wow: That’s scary! (Fellow very nearsighted person here!) And obviously we are talking windows without screens—rare in USA)? Well, I’m no expert like many here are, but I’m thinking I’d go back to doing what you have been for a few days and see how it goes. Wait on the toy and try again later. I think he’ll forgive you and I hope it’s only a minor delay in trust building! Good job on the diet. Packer is molting now and looks grumpy and frumpy and miserable. Lots of feathers sticking up on his little head and I wish he let me give him a gentle skritch. But anyhow, so far neither Packer nor Frost show any interest whatsoever in eggs.
 
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Mybluebird

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One thing you might try with the toy is hang it on the outside of the cage for 3-4 days until he gets used to seeing it and then put it in his cage. I did that for my skittish budgie and it worked. He didn't play with it right away. It took about a week and every time I put my hand in the cage I would tap and play with the toy. I got that suggestion from the good people here and it worked for my guy.
 

Monica

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Awe, poor guy! Glad you caught him before he flew out! And maybe that's why he was roaming about outside before? He's too smart for his own good!

Birds do have a "fight or flight" response.... and if put in that situation, they can drop tail and flight feathers in order to escape - even if they aren't "caught" - but if they think they are, they'll still drop those feathers! So don't worry too much about the tail feathers! :)

Definitely go back to working with him slowly. There may indeed be a setback, but it might not be all that bad! If you can find millet on a sprig (aka spray) and feed that to him through the cage bars, it may help.

It doesn't hurt to start introducing foods sooner rather than later! Eggs are okay once or twice a week but too much isn't good for them.

If you can find millet, you can take little branches of it and stick it on/in new toys to peak his interest in them!


Sunlight - even indirect (not through a window), would still be better than a light. They don't really provide the necessary vitamin D that actual sunlight does.



Any chance you could get screens for your windows? Just to make it a little safer for him if you were to let him out?
 

Ulis_Beast

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"who the heck knows with a chance of clouds".
I nearly chocked on an olive !!! :coffeescreen:
...

You have been given some sound advice here already :yes:
My knowledge on budgies is really limited (I've had 5 in my entire life, none in the last 10 years)...
I can only express personal opinions here.

From all that I've read I think he really was someones pet, or rather a decoration. I think he's super smart and torn between the need to find a flock/mate and the only life he knows; captivity..

Keep trying with the toys. If he's really scared of it, i'd keep it at a distance where he doesen't feel threatend and gradually move it closer. Maybe he'll just decide it's interesting one day. Like @Mybluebird said, play with it and pretend you're having the time of your life:D

You grabbing him is totally justified in this case and in this rather early stage of bonding is a setback.. But who knows? Maybe it was done to him constantly in his previous home and he's kinda used to it... I'm certain that with patience you'll hand-tame him in notime.

Is the tail wagging side to side or up and down?
A video would be really helpful here.
(The one weird tail bobbing I saw in my budgies was when Pika had a crop infection :()...So if you can try to get it on film and share... you know just in case. But I wouldn't be overly concernd.

Same goes for the tail feathers, like Monica said.
Any chance you could get screens for your windows? Just to make it a little safer for him if you were to let him out?
And this has the added bonus of keeping the nasty zzzzzzzzzzzzzs out!
 

tka

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Don't worry - this is a set back, but you can keep building up positive interactions and in time, that will outweigh the more negative ones.

Something that you might find useful is the idea of a parrot "trust account": https://www.yumpu.com/en/document/view/11429831/parrot-trust-account-world-parrot-trust

You can read more about it in the article, but basically, every time we interact with our parrot(s) in a positive way, we make a deposit in the trust account. This can mean that we do something fun with them, give a treat, give headscratches to a bird who asks for them, and generally have clear and open communication and a lot of respect for the parrot's autonomy. Parrots thrive on having choices, and being able to exercise their choice.

When we do something negative, we make a withdrawal from the trust account. This might be anything from towelling the parrot to give medication, leaving the parrot with a sitter while we're away, chasing or grabbing the parrot, picking up the parrot to remove them from a dangerous situation or similar.

If we've had our parrot for years and we've steadily accumalated points in the trust account, we can sometimes get away with doing something that the parrot doesn't like. The parrot knows that overall, we are good to be around so an infraction doesn't seriously harm the account balance. For example, I had to towel my parrot for a nail trim at the vet's recently: she wasn't happy, but she forgave me that evening. However, if you've not had time to build up the trust account, a negative interaction can seriously deplete the account.

You know that you've had to make some withdrawals from the trust account, but you're also steadily feeding into it. See what he wants to do, and be guided by him. You can keep talking and singing to him, and if he doesn't move away from your hand, you can continue to offer him food from your hand. If he moves or leans away, he's asking you to back off. Listening to him and being guided by his behaviour will help establish trust between you: he'll learn that you will do as he asks.

Toys can be scary to a bird, especially if he's unused to them. Try having them out of the cage for him to look at and playing with them yourself to show whim that they're fun and not dangerous. Once he's curious enough to investigate them himself, you can hang them in the cage.
 

MaggieBee

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:wow: That’s scary! (Fellow very nearsighted person here!) And obviously we are talking windows without screens—rare in USA)? Well, I’m no expert like many here are, but I’m thinking I’d go back to doing what you have been for a few days and see how it goes. Wait on the toy and try again later. I think he’ll forgive you and I hope it’s only a minor delay in trust building! Good job on the diet. Packer is molting now and looks grumpy and frumpy and miserable. Lots of feathers sticking up on his little head and I wish he let me give him a gentle skritch. But anyhow, so far neither Packer nor Frost show any interest whatsoever in eggs.
HI! Yeah, I don't have screens... they're not very common here in Portugal, and my windows are laminated steel so it's tricky to tack anything onto them :/

He doesn't seem to have held much of a grudge! We still have our chats and he still lets me get close :D He's a little more wary if I put my hand in the cage, but otherwise his trust doesn't seem to be terribly damaged.

He's either in the very early or very late stages of moulting – his plumage is nice and sleek and aside from the scratching (mostly on the neck and head, where I can see a few pin feathers) doesn't seem particularly bothered.

I'll try that with the toy, thank you :pinksmile:
 

MaggieBee

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One thing you might try with the toy is hang it on the outside of the cage for 3-4 days until he gets used to seeing it and then put it in his cage. I did that for my skittish budgie and it worked. He didn't play with it right away. It took about a week and every time I put my hand in the cage I would tap and play with the toy. I got that suggestion from the good people here and it worked for my guy.
I'll try that, thank you! :geek:
 

MaggieBee

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Awe, poor guy! Glad you caught him before he flew out! And maybe that's why he was roaming about outside before? He's too smart for his own good!

Birds do have a "fight or flight" response.... and if put in that situation, they can drop tail and flight feathers in order to escape - even if they aren't "caught" - but if they think they are, they'll still drop those feathers! So don't worry too much about the tail feathers! :)

Definitely go back to working with him slowly. There may indeed be a setback, but it might not be all that bad! If you can find millet on a sprig (aka spray) and feed that to him through the cage bars, it may help.

It doesn't hurt to start introducing foods sooner rather than later! Eggs are okay once or twice a week but too much isn't good for them.

If you can find millet, you can take little branches of it and stick it on/in new toys to peak his interest in them!


Sunlight - even indirect (not through a window), would still be better than a light. They don't really provide the necessary vitamin D that actual sunlight does.



Any chance you could get screens for your windows? Just to make it a little safer for him if you were to let him out?
He's definitely too smart... I only seem to get those, Lyra's a freakishly smart escape artist as well. My other dog, Scotch, is dumb as rocks, bless his soul, but he's more my mother's dog. All she has to deal with is his getting scared of his reflection in the linoleum and flinging his 70 pounds of muscle into the nearest breakable object!

I can't find millet anywhere :( might need to order it online and pray it doesn't get held in customs.

He's apparently back to normal! Still a little skittish if I put my hand in the cage, but he's still chatty and seems to still enjoy our afternoons, so hopefully we're still on track!

Roger on the lamp. Fortunately, it's sunny in the morning again. Screens are sadly not an option, my windows don't really lend themselves to modification. I'll just have to be very careful not to let him out and once I start getting him out double-checking everything's closed.

Thank you for your feedback :bluhug:
 

MaggieBee

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I nearly chocked on an olive !!! :coffeescreen:
...

You have been given some sound advice here already :yes:
My knowledge on budgies is really limited (I've had 5 in my entire life, none in the last 10 years)...
I can only express personal opinions here.

From all that I've read I think he really was someones pet, or rather a decoration. I think he's super smart and torn between the need to find a flock/mate and the only life he knows; captivity..

Keep trying with the toys. If he's really scared of it, i'd keep it at a distance where he doesen't feel threatend and gradually move it closer. Maybe he'll just decide it's interesting one day. Like @Mybluebird said, play with it and pretend you're having the time of your life:D

You grabbing him is totally justified in this case and in this rather early stage of bonding is a setback.. But who knows? Maybe it was done to him constantly in his previous home and he's kinda used to it... I'm certain that with patience you'll hand-tame him in notime.

Is the tail wagging side to side or up and down?
A video would be really helpful here.
(The one weird tail bobbing I saw in my budgies was when Pika had a crop infection :()...So if you can try to get it on film and share... you know just in case. But I wouldn't be overly concernd.

Same goes for the tail feathers, like Monica said.


And this has the added bonus of keeping the nasty zzzzzzzzzzzzzs out!
It's side to side, like when they shake themselves after a preen but just the tail. He's stopped doing that in a couple of hours, and upon checking older videos I realised he's always done that occasionally.

All in all, no harm done, I think!
 

MaggieBee

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Don't worry - this is a set back, but you can keep building up positive interactions and in time, that will outweigh the more negative ones.

Something that you might find useful is the idea of a parrot "trust account": https://www.yumpu.com/en/document/view/11429831/parrot-trust-account-world-parrot-trust

You can read more about it in the article, but basically, every time we interact with our parrot(s) in a positive way, we make a deposit in the trust account. This can mean that we do something fun with them, give a treat, give headscratches to a bird who asks for them, and generally have clear and open communication and a lot of respect for the parrot's autonomy. Parrots thrive on having choices, and being able to exercise their choice.

When we do something negative, we make a withdrawal from the trust account. This might be anything from towelling the parrot to give medication, leaving the parrot with a sitter while we're away, chasing or grabbing the parrot, picking up the parrot to remove them from a dangerous situation or similar.

If we've had our parrot for years and we've steadily accumalated points in the trust account, we can sometimes get away with doing something that the parrot doesn't like. The parrot knows that overall, we are good to be around so an infraction doesn't seriously harm the account balance. For example, I had to towel my parrot for a nail trim at the vet's recently: she wasn't happy, but she forgave me that evening. However, if you've not had time to build up the trust account, a negative interaction can seriously deplete the account.

You know that you've had to make some withdrawals from the trust account, but you're also steadily feeding into it. See what he wants to do, and be guided by him. You can keep talking and singing to him, and if he doesn't move away from your hand, you can continue to offer him food from your hand. If he moves or leans away, he's asking you to back off. Listening to him and being guided by his behaviour will help establish trust between you: he'll learn that you will do as he asks.

Toys can be scary to a bird, especially if he's unused to them. Try having them out of the cage for him to look at and playing with them yourself to show whim that they're fun and not dangerous. Once he's curious enough to investigate them himself, you can hang them in the cage.
That's a really interesting concept! How do you quantify deposits and withdrawals, though? How many head scritches make up for force-feeding a parrot medication?

His trust doesn't seem to have been too damaged, thankfully! I must have been making good deposits :D he's a little more leery of my hand in the cage, but other than that not much seems to have changed.

This morning he hopped onto the side of his cage to move closer during our chat!!! Look:

This.... isn't my best angle. I apologise for the filthy glass.
 

Ulis_Beast

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It's side to side, like when they shake themselves after a preen but just the tail. He's stopped doing that in a couple of hours, and upon checking older videos I realised he's always done that occasionally.

All in all, no harm done, I think!
They do that, just to set the tail feather juuuust rigt :)
 

Ulis_Beast

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That's a really interesting concept! How do you quantify deposits and withdrawals, though? How many head scritches make up for force-feeding a parrot medication?

His trust doesn't seem to have been too damaged, thankfully! I must have been making good deposits :D he's a little more leery of my hand in the cage, but other than that not much seems to have changed.

This morning he hopped onto the side of his cage to move closer during our chat!!! Look:

This.... isn't my best angle. I apologise for the filthy glass.
Who cares about angles and filthy glasses or poop for that matter.. The love is there!:heart:
I really hope his original owner never turns up!
 

kitsunebandit

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Wow, what an experience and a scary one at that! Thank goodness you got him back safely :eek:

Hopefully it shouldn't be too much of a set back for you and you can carry on establishing a relationship with him. Maybe see how he's going and then potentially start looking at it from there? If it doesn't appear to have caused any damage then just do what you were already doing but if he seems a bit shook from the incident then perhaps go back to where you were originally at when you started. It may not be that encouraging but if you've already made progress then it can certainly be done again

I wouldn't be waiting to carry on working with him, in regards to your question :)

You can introduce new foods whenever. In my experience, budgies looooove eggs and are usually willing to give them a go. If not try a soft egg food or dry one that has been moistened as they appear to find those quite palatable!

With toys you can persist with trying it in the cage or as suggested you can place it outside of the cage or at least in his view so he can get used to it before moving it in. Also showing him that it's not scary by handling it while doing your own thing (like not making eye contact etc.) can be a good technique

He may have felt kind of exposed being outside in his cage for the first time. Be vigilant for any wild raptors. He may have spotted them before yourself and that can be distressing

Good luck!
 

Mybluebird

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Another thought for you - are the window frames magnetic? If you put a magnet on them will it stick? If yes you can get the fabric netting and use a series of magnets to hold it over the windows. That way you can have the windows open and your new clever pal flying around without worry that he'll get out.
 

Sodapop&Co.

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That's a really interesting concept! How do you quantify deposits and withdrawals, though? How many head scritches make up for force-feeding a parrot medication?

His trust doesn't seem to have been too damaged, thankfully! I must have been making good deposits :D he's a little more leery of my hand in the cage, but other than that not much seems to have changed.

This morning he hopped onto the side of his cage to move closer during our chat!!! Look:

This.... isn't my best angle. I apologise for the filthy glass.
Awwww he loves you!!! Very sweet <3
 

Monica

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What a cute video! :D

That's a really interesting concept! How do you quantify deposits and withdrawals, though? How many head scritches make up for force-feeding a parrot medication?


In regards to this... it's hard to say when you "have" to do something negative, but birds can be trained to do things they don't like! I have up to 4 birds that will take medication without restraint - in fact, they're usually chasing after the syringes! But it does depend on how the meds taste on how easy it is for them to take it! One actually needs restraint, but then usually takes the meds. The rest are likely to spit them out, even when restrained!

I would say the main way is whether or not you are making forward or backward progress in earning a bird's trust! :)
 
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