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Flighty GCC Advice

brinney

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Hello everyone! :hello1:

I have a question for GCC veterans. We had a lovely GCC for 18 years before he passed away in 2018. Loving the spunky and confident green cheek personality, enter Kiwi the Pineapple GCC hatched in 2018 from a reputable breeder.

Even after he adjusted to the household, Kiwi has been a very cautious, flighty bird. At 5 years old now, nothing has changed—every semi-loud sound sends him flying across the room and looking scared. We try not to make noises that will disturb him but there’s so many that it’s inevitable! (Shutting a door, ice in a cup, someone sneezing…)

Is there anything we can do to alleviate some of his fears? Exposing him to the sounds over time obviously hasn’t done anything to help. I know GCC are supposed to be confident, but I’m not sure how to help him have that if “flighty” is just his personality.

Thanks for any and all advice!
:thanks:
 

April

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I had the same problem with my second Green Cheek Zazu,I had her from 3 months until 3.3 years when I lost her unexpectedly at the vets from a routine blooddraw. And when she was a baby I exposed her to all sorts of noises and experiences and she was fine and nothing spooked her but then as she got older she'd get more erratic about noises or sudden moments even though literally nothing had changed and finally I had to make the heartbreaking decision to clip her for her safety after the latest freak out resulted in her ping ponging off the walls and into a mirror and that was the final straw so for her sake I had to clip her and for the most part when she was clipped she'd be so much calmer and less reactive to noises.
Obviously that's not ideal and it hurt my soul to do it to her but I figured better a clipped bird than one who causes painful damage to herself during uncontrollable panic attacks.

I'm not sure what can be done though other wise maybe if there are loud noises and she doesn't react give her a treat and verbal praise to show that the noises don't have to be that terrifying?
 

Pixiebeak

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I've had 2 gcc,my first for 17 years and my current GCC near 11yr

On sneeze they both react/ed nearly always

Otherwise only to a surprise loud sound when it's quiet or dark.

It might be partly your new guys personality as you've mentioned.

But follow up questions , where is the cage located? How is it positioned, against a wall or all sides open ? How high is it off the ground? Or a better way to say are main perches at your chest height or higher? Is it partial covered? What's the ambient light level?

Suggestion for reactive birds. Increase cage height. So the bird on its perches are higher than your chest when standing, preferred your face height. Height increases security and confidence in those individuals lacking that.

Cage placed in main living/activity area , to be able to observe and feel included as part of flock . But not near an entryway. And with back of cage against a wall or back only of cage covered with something that still allows light, like a light sheet or light shower curtain. Top and sides open .

If location is low light, increase the cage location light to enough to be able to read a book. A lamp left in nearby might work . Not shining s bright light down into cage . Most parrots prefer and see better in good lighting. No shadow people allowed ;)

Providing their own territory, perchs in different locations, their own perches, swings, hoops, spiral, cargo nets not just your furniture, their own furniture.

Excellent advice from a behavioralist, always greet them as soon as you get up, morning are very important from them to see who survived the night and to reafirm bonds. Always greet first thing when returning to home, and always go and say goodbye and let them know when leaving. Always stop by cage with guests when they arrive to say hi and bye as well. And when home but out of sight contact call occasionally like hey buddy I'm in the bedroom making the bed . It is very effective in raising confidence, they don't have to guess who's home or is that a boogie man when they hear a noise. It boosts confidence and inclusion unti your flock . Knowing your flock mate location and keeping track is highly important to social flock species.

Lastly increase the birds self confidence, self directed behavior and other outlets for energy.
Ways that have helped mine, elaborate climbing aerial gyms. Parrots enjoy climbing dangle, jumping kinda like parkour! I've seen that dramatically increase confidence in all areas of their lives. Decreasing hyper reactivy.
Hang things to dicj under or push through on a part of the perch highway, a cut brown paper bag in strips like a grass skirt works well is cheap. Get creative it's fun for all
And start doing foraging, start together making extremely simple and advance st truth pace . Learning to figure stuff out increases confidence.
 

Wardy

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My two can set each other off if one see's or hears something they are both off
 

brinney

Meeting neighbors
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Brittany
I've had 2 gcc,my first for 17 years and my current GCC near 11yr

On sneeze they both react/ed nearly always

Otherwise only to a surprise loud sound when it's quiet or dark.

It might be partly your new guys personality as you've mentioned.

But follow up questions , where is the cage located? How is it positioned, against a wall or all sides open ? How high is it off the ground? Or a better way to say are main perches at your chest height or higher? Is it partial covered? What's the ambient light level?

Suggestion for reactive birds. Increase cage height. So the bird on its perches are higher than your chest when standing, preferred your face height. Height increases security and confidence in those individuals lacking that.

Cage placed in main living/activity area , to be able to observe and feel included as part of flock . But not near an entryway. And with back of cage against a wall or back only of cage covered with something that still allows light, like a light sheet or light shower curtain. Top and sides open .

If location is low light, increase the cage location light to enough to be able to read a book. A lamp left in nearby might work . Not shining s bright light down into cage . Most parrots prefer and see better in good lighting. No shadow people allowed ;)

Providing their own territory, perchs in different locations, their own perches, swings, hoops, spiral, cargo nets not just your furniture, their own furniture.

Excellent advice from a behavioralist, always greet them as soon as you get up, morning are very important from them to see who survived the night and to reafirm bonds. Always greet first thing when returning to home, and always go and say goodbye and let them know when leaving. Always stop by cage with guests when they arrive to say hi and bye as well. And when home but out of sight contact call occasionally like hey buddy I'm in the bedroom making the bed . It is very effective in raising confidence, they don't have to guess who's home or is that a boogie man when they hear a noise. It boosts confidence and inclusion unti your flock . Knowing your flock mate location and keeping track is highly important to social flock species.

Lastly increase the birds self confidence, self directed behavior and other outlets for energy.
Ways that have helped mine, elaborate climbing aerial gyms. Parrots enjoy climbing dangle, jumping kinda like parkour! I've seen that dramatically increase confidence in all areas of their lives. Decreasing hyper reactivy.
Hang things to dicj under or push through on a part of the perch highway, a cut brown paper bag in strips like a grass skirt works well is cheap. Get creative it's fun for all
And start doing foraging, start together making extremely simple and advance st truth pace . Learning to figure stuff out increases confidence.
This is all great advice, thank you! His cage is located in the main living room, with the back to a curtained window for some light and the rest of the sides are open. His cage is one of the prevue ones with the perch and bowls on top, so he’s always up there about eye-level or above. However, our main living space has very high ceilings—basically two floors height, as the upstairs looks over the living room—so maybe that makes him insecure.
 

FiatLux

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This is all great advice, thank you! His cage is located in the main living room, with the back to a curtained window for some light and the rest of the sides are open. His cage is one of the prevue ones with the perch and bowls on top, so he’s always up there about eye-level or above. However, our main living space has very high ceilings—basically two floors height, as the upstairs looks over the living room—so maybe that makes him insecure.
Does he have a set place to fly to from his cage area such as a tree stand? Mine will usually fly from his tree stand to his cage and vice versa when spooked. Or if the kids are in the lifting room he will fly to them (for comfort I guess). Only in really dramatic situations will he fly to the top of a cupboard. So I’m wondering if yours had a set landing place with a feeding bowl and treats if he would just know to settle there rather than fly around and potentially get hurt?
 

brinney

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Does he have a set place to fly to from his cage area such as a tree stand? Mine will usually fly from his tree stand to his cage and vice versa when spooked. Or if the kids are in the lifting room he will fly to them (for comfort I guess). Only in really dramatic situations will he fly to the top of a cupboard. So I’m wondering if yours had a set landing place with a feeding bowl and treats if he would just know to settle there rather than fly around and potentially get hurt?
He always flies around the living room in a loop and settles back on the top of his cage perch with bowls. Only when he’s especially spooked will he fly to the humans to land on—like he feels he can’t make it back to his cage? but he doesn’t have a perch tree in the living room or separate area besides his main cage
 

Wardy

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He always flies around the living room in a loop and settles back on the top of his cage perch with bowls. Only when he’s especially spooked will he fly to the humans to land on—like he feels he can’t make it back to his cage? but he doesn’t have a perch tree in the living room or separate area besides his main cage
Mine have trees but do loops when startled, settling back on his cage is good as he feels safe there.
 

Pixiebeak

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He always flies around the living room in a loop and settles back on the top of his cage perch with bowls. Only when he’s especially spooked will he fly to the humans to land on—like he feels he can’t make it back to his cage? but he doesn’t have a perch tree in the living room or separate area besides his main cage
I think k expanding his territory by having other perch areas will help .
I use fishing line attached to ceiling hook s to hang down spiral rope perches and such from my cathedral ceiling.
I also have a mobile plsy stand. And a stand that's for holding bid swings all doctored up with cargo nets and attached stuff people have fine the smart to cost racks just keep in mind you don't want them chewing that metal . Or use spring plastic curtains rods to hang perches off of.

Having more places that are his ,to hang out away from cage , and other landing spots other than top of cage will help I'm sure !

There are pictures of my decorated std d and some if my hanging stuff in this thread
 
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MnGuy

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This is all great advice, thank you! His cage is located in the main living room, with the back to a curtained window for some light and the rest of the sides are open. His cage is one of the prevue ones with the perch and bowls on top, so he’s always up there about eye-level or above. However, our main living space has very high ceilings—basically two floors height, as the upstairs looks over the living room—so maybe that makes him insecure.
Is the curtain behind his cage usually open? Which side of the house is this on? Have you ever measured the temperatures there? It can get very hot (and stressful) sitting in front of a window all day.

I keep fish tanks, and a big rule is never to place them across from a window because sunlight can cause heat and provide too much light. If a fish can't handle it, I'd be wary about keeping a bird there.

Personally, I would move his cage against a wall (and in a corner, preferably). I keep my CAG in a King's corner cage against two walls, and 90% of the time (when she's in her cage), she chooses to sit in the farthest, darkest, most private corner of her cage even though one side of it has some exposure to an east-facing window where she can look out at the world. She even prefers this corner to a non-window perch that looks out into my living room, which is a pretty quiet place since I live alone.

I think birds hate being exposed, and that the pleasure of looking out the window is a very human thing.

If your bird doesn't chew fabric, I would even consider clipping an opaque cloth around two sides of his cage (maybe even three sides if he's that flighty). I do this to the very back corner of my CAG's cage, and this is where she loves to sit.

I don't think the two-story ceilings help, either. It might be worth putting something on top of his cage. Does it come with a tray you can place on top?
 
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