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rainbeetle

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Hello everyone, I'm new, and I need some help from you experienced bird people! :heart2:

I recently got a 7-8 weeks old hand fed female lovebird from a breeder, she's my first bird so I'm beginner. I'm currently finishing up her weaning (she eats seeds and pellets by herself all day long, I am just giving her one single feeding of formula in the evening). While she was being hand fed by the breeder, she was much quieter and calmer than her siblings (the breeder treats his birds as if they were children and he loved her a whole lot, we are in contact and I update him with pictures everyday).
When I got her home last week, she was indeed super quiet (and fearful of us). After a few days, she became more accustomed to my partner and I, and started screaming for attention all day long. She only stops when I'm right by her cage talking to her, or when she is eating or sleeping. She even screams if I'm in the same room. I think her screams are contact calls, but I'm not sure. Another issue is that she tends to be nippy and sometimes bites quite hard. Her breeder could handle her with zero issues, it feels like she transformed when she came home with us. She will give you tiny warning screeches if you try to cuddle her.
She has a big cage, full of perches and toys (which she gives little attention, not as much as I was hoping... maybe she is too young?) and I keep her with me outside of her cage for a few hours in the afternoon. She is not clipped, she flies quite well. She is stationed in the living room where my partner and I stay during the day (work from home).
At the moment, I'm ignoring her when she screams, and give her attention only when she is quiet. We are also trying to correct the biting by telling her "No!" when she bites. Is this correct? Any advice? :sad4:
I know female lovebirds can be quite a handful. I genuinely didn't wanna change the baby when it turned out it was female, because I wanted to give her a chance of a good life regardless of her sex... :sglb: Thanks in advance for your help!
 

conureluv

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@Zara might be able to help!
 

Gigibirds

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We are also trying to correct the biting by telling her "No!" when she bites. Is this correct? Any advice?
No, that is not correct. Yelling just excites the bird, and the best thing to do is actually to just turn your back on them for a minute. Also try to learn her behaviour, so you can see when she's about to bite and can avoid it. The fewer bites the better!

I know female lovebirds can be quite a handful.
Eh, they're not too bad. They do get moodier than males (especially if they lay an egg), but in general they can be just as sweet and loving as any male lovie. Don't worry that she's a girl!

Congrats on your new baby! She looks beautiful! (in your pfp):cngrt5:
 

rainbeetle

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No, that is not correct. Yelling just excites the bird, and the best thing to do is actually to just turn your back on them for a minute. Also try to learn her behaviour, so you can see when she's about to bite and can avoid it. The fewer bites the better!


Eh, they're not too bad. They do get moodier than males (especially if they lay an egg), but in general they can be just as sweet and loving as any male lovie. Don't worry that she's a girl!

Congrats on your new baby! She looks beautiful! (in your pfp):cngrt5:

Thank you for your advice!!! Yes that is her in the picture! :)
The biggest issue here is the non-stop screaming though. It is seriously unliveable. This bird doesn't know how to entertain herself with toys so everything she does in the cage when she's not eating or sleeping is scream her lungs out.
 

Zara

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Welcome to the Avenue 1.welcome signs.gif

I think you could try taking things a little slower. You say she makes little screeches if you try to cuddle her, so maybe don´t cuddle her until she is comfortable with that. Some will be that way with the breeder (because they are ¨mum¨) and later are not like that. Just as juvenile birds will fly away from their parents and won´t snuggle into another bird until they find their mate (a role you do not want).

she tends to be nippy and sometimes bites quite hard
Can you go into some more details? I´m wondering if this is beaking or biting. At this age, young lovebirds will be grabbing everything in reach with their beaks, exploring the world. Sometimes their beaks can be quite sharp or pointy and might hurt (depending on everyones own pain threshold).
A real bite will be acompanied with the feathers raised down their nape and mantle. Sometimes you will see an open beak as a warning. Other times that soft clicking noise almost like a hiss, a very airy-like sound as a warning. Fluffed body to make themselves look larger. Given the bird was hand raised and is not afraid of you, it sounds more likely they are exploring with their beak, or testing boundaries more than biting in an attacking way.
I have found a common thing at this age (8weeks +/-) is, I´ll have the bird/s out and the youngster will see me moving the mouse on my computer and clicking the button, and they will jump on my hand and bite my fingers. Maybe this is similar to what you are experiencing? Maybe you are using your phone and they are nipping? Or are perched on your shoulder and nip your ear?
If you give some more details, we can give more specific tips, but recognising and removing these situations is the best way to deal with it. For eg. The bird hangs out on your shoulder, but after 20 minutes will bite your ear. Solution; OR allow 10-15 mins on the shoulder then remove and direct attention elsewhere before the nipping starts, OR no shoulder time (the latter is good when the nipping happens at undetermined times on the shoulder).
My mouse problem, I would see the bird notice the mouse and before they got close, remove my hand from the desk, OR not use the mouse while the young birds are around. Then direct their attention elsewhere. It´s important to do this now while they are young so they learn. None of my adults do these things anymore. It´s been years since I got bitten by anyone (and that was a bird who came to me as an adult).
A good tip when approaching your bird is to come from below, not above. If you´re offering a hand to jump onto, put it lower than your bird for your bird to hop down onto. I find this goes down better with the girls. Boys will hop up or down no bother, but girls, even when hormonal and trying to ¨kill me¨ will hop down to my hand nicely, but if I put my hand higher they will attack it. That might come handy later on in her life ;)

It could benefit you to have a special area for your bird, a stand, a tree, a playpark, a tray on a table, it could be anything, but a space for your bird where there are some toys and things to do and explore. I have a small table top stand right next to me and they can forage in the tray of the stand, or climb on it, play with the toys hanging on it etc I spend time with the youngsters showing them toys and how to play with them. For eg. I will roll the ball around the table top to play football, I will start gently picking at mahogany pods, start ripping at the shreddable paper/leaf type toys, showing them how to do it, and lovebirds love to copy and join in. This will help them learn how to play with toys. Big toys can be intimidating, so I start with toy pieces that are smaller. Once they know and enjoy playing with the toy parts, they will recognise them in the larger toys you put in their cage.

I hope this is helpful to you. If you´re unsure about something, please ask and I´ll try explain it better.
 

Zara

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The biggest issue here is the non-stop screaming though. It is seriously unliveable. This bird doesn't know how to entertain herself with toys so everything she does in the cage when she's not eating or sleeping is scream her lungs out.
Do you have a photograph of her cage and setup?
How much sleep does she get? Do you cover her cage for bedtime?
When is she being so noisy? Does this occur in the morning or evening? Is she quieter after being out of the cage?

edit; do you have a video of the sound? I´m wondering if this could be ¨singing¨?
 

SummerWing

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My tiel actually does the same. Maybe it is just sensory overload? Because once I put my tiel in a quiet room he didn't scream anymore.
 

rainbeetle

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My tiel actually does the same. Maybe it is just sensory overload? Because once I put my tiel in a quiet room he didn't scream anymore.
I genuinely don't think it is sensory overload, we are pretty quiet in the house, but never too much! I have tried to keep the music on and off, tried to stay silent, tried ambient noise, everything. I'm certain she does this for attention and boredom, since she doesn't play by herself...
 

SummerWing

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Have you tried shredding toys? Or bits of tissue paper? My budgie goes cuckoo for things like these, and as long as she doesn't start showing hormonal or nesting behaviours, it's a great way to keep birbs occupied!
An additional thing you can use is a play gym. Birbs find it more stimulating to be out of the cage, so maybe you can try to buy or DIY a play gym and let her be out of the cage whilst you're going about your daily business?
 

rainbeetle

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Do you have a photograph of her cage and setup?
How much sleep does she get? Do you cover her cage for bedtime?
When is she being so noisy? Does this occur in the morning or evening? Is she quieter after being out of the cage?

edit; do you have a video of the sound? I´m wondering if this could be ¨singing¨?
So this is her setup, sadly we had to place her in our garden because working is absolutely impossible with her inside... so take into account that usually, her cage is placed in the living room against a wall, close to where my partner and I work (see the link of the screams). She never has direct sunlight on her.
These are the screams: VID_20210630_121758_2.mp4 ... I had attempted to calm her down by covering her cage as my breeder suggested, as you can see it didn't work. These screams are CONSTANT throughout the day, which makes them absolutely unbearable for anyone who is in the apartment.
We cover her cage for 12 hours per night! She is noisy literally all the time, whenever she is not eating or sleeping. She never shuts up, unless we give her attention. She wants to *always* come out of the cage, but that's simply not possible...she tends to be quieter when she's outside of the cage, but if she flies high on furniture, she will start with similar screeches. I have a beautiful stand/playground made of natural wood on my desk, right next to my work station, but she doesn't stay there much sadly.
I just know that the situation is sadly unliveable as of now, and if this doesn't get better, we will have to return her to the breeder...my partner works from home every day of the week and he's gonna have a nervous breakdown if we don't find a solution. I hope it won't come to that but it's been a week now and it's worsening everyday despite our attempts to ignore her. Thank you for your suggestions, I appreciate the time you put in your answer a lot.
 

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rainbeetle

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Have you tried shredding toys? Or bits of tissue paper? My budgie goes cuckoo for things like these, and as long as she doesn't start showing hormonal or nesting behaviours, it's a great way to keep birbs occupied!
An additional thing you can use is a play gym. Birbs find it more stimulating to be out of the cage, so maybe you can try to buy or DIY a play gym and let her be out of the cage whilst you're going about your daily business?
I haven't tried with shredding toys! I will give them a try. I have indeed tried a play gym (I bought her a big one made of natural wood, super cool) but she isn't as interested as I was hoping. She just doesn't stay there, which makes it more complicated to keep her out during the day...
 

Zara

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Covering the cage during the day won´t help. Save covering the cage for bedtime only.

Remember this bird was with other siblings until recently, and could be calling out for a friend. Though by that, I am not saying to bring home another bird because it could help, but it could double the problem as you may end up with two birds calling back and forth. This is a whole other can of worms.

There are times when we are working, or discussing something and the birds choose this moment to go ham. They just wanna be a part of our conversation, but to us as humans it can be frustrating. It´s not easy to work from home with a parrot, and it can be stressful.

I find that the things that helped the most to combat noise for us were, not giving attention when noisy, having out of cage time earler in the day, and foraging.
The trick with foraging is to have different activites available all the time, switch it up.
Start with something simple. A foraging tray for eg. Get a tray or plastic plate, put some beads, shredded paper and then sprinkle a half teaspoon of seed over, maybe pick some clusters of millet from the sprig, include any other treats and toys - you can add as many things as you like.
I have foraging cups in my birds cages all the time, but don´t always fill them. I put different things in them on different days, missing some days completely.
Then take that stand of yours, add cups all over it, maybe 6 or more, the more the better. Start by putting a treat in half of the cups. Maybe a sunflower seed, or a small piece of almond, a small pinch of seed, anything of your choice. Let your bird search the cups to find which have treats in. Once she gets good at this activity, up your game, get some paper (the soft stuff like putting in gift bags) and place the paper on top of the cup. See how she does. Once she´s mastered moving the paper, get an elastic band, and this time put the paper over, then fix with a band - this time she has to break that paper to get her treats, and maybe she´ll get in, and no treat (remember only half have treats). If you see she has a fave toy item, maybe beads or cork, maybe something else, you can include those as the ¨rewards¨.
I like to use a ¨marble plate¨ for foraging when I don´t have too much prep time. I get a plastic plate (the kids picnic ones from IKEA), then put a level of marbles, then sprinkle a spoonful of seed and pellets over. My birds will pick at this for ages finding all the seeds! Don´t pack the marbles on the plate so they can still move.

As for the toys, I see you have a toy full of pieces of plaited leaf or something there, open the toy (if it´s wire, bend it open, if it´s string, untie it) take one piece off, then close the toy again. With that one piece, do as I said in my last post, play with it with your bird out of her cage, show her how it shreds, see if she will join in.
I see the other toy has wood and cardboard, see if you can find a piece of cardboard around your house, if not, do the same to that toy, take one piece off and then introduce it.

Here is the forum for Foraging, maybe you can find some activities you can make;

More help with toys;

Further reading;


At the end of the day, when all is said and done, no matter what you do, there will be times when your bird will be noisy and that comes with living with a parrot. If you were having second thoughts about living with a companion bird, now is the time to have a good conversation with your partner, see what is best for your lifestyle and make a decision now while the bird is still young.

@Monica @fluffypoptarts
 

rainbeetle

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Welcome to the Avenue View attachment 387538

I think you could try taking things a little slower. You say she makes little screeches if you try to cuddle her, so maybe don´t cuddle her until she is comfortable with that. Some will be that way with the breeder (because they are ¨mum¨) and later are not like that. Just as juvenile birds will fly away from their parents and won´t snuggle into another bird until they find their mate (a role you do not want).


Can you go into some more details? I´m wondering if this is beaking or biting. At this age, young lovebirds will be grabbing everything in reach with their beaks, exploring the world. Sometimes their beaks can be quite sharp or pointy and might hurt (depending on everyones own pain threshold).
A real bite will be acompanied with the feathers raised down their nape and mantle. Sometimes you will see an open beak as a warning. Other times that soft clicking noise almost like a hiss, a very airy-like sound as a warning. Fluffed body to make themselves look larger. Given the bird was hand raised and is not afraid of you, it sounds more likely they are exploring with their beak, or testing boundaries more than biting in an attacking way.
I have found a common thing at this age (8weeks +/-) is, I´ll have the bird/s out and the youngster will see me moving the mouse on my computer and clicking the button, and they will jump on my hand and bite my fingers. Maybe this is similar to what you are experiencing? Maybe you are using your phone and they are nipping? Or are perched on your shoulder and nip your ear?
If you give some more details, we can give more specific tips, but recognising and removing these situations is the best way to deal with it. For eg. The bird hangs out on your shoulder, but after 20 minutes will bite your ear. Solution; OR allow 10-15 mins on the shoulder then remove and direct attention elsewhere before the nipping starts, OR no shoulder time (the latter is good when the nipping happens at undetermined times on the shoulder).
My mouse problem, I would see the bird notice the mouse and before they got close, remove my hand from the desk, OR not use the mouse while the young birds are around. Then direct their attention elsewhere. It´s important to do this now while they are young so they learn. None of my adults do these things anymore. It´s been years since I got bitten by anyone (and that was a bird who came to me as an adult).
A good tip when approaching your bird is to come from below, not above. If you´re offering a hand to jump onto, put it lower than your bird for your bird to hop down onto. I find this goes down better with the girls. Boys will hop up or down no bother, but girls, even when hormonal and trying to ¨kill me¨ will hop down to my hand nicely, but if I put my hand higher they will attack it. That might come handy later on in her life ;)

It could benefit you to have a special area for your bird, a stand, a tree, a playpark, a tray on a table, it could be anything, but a space for your bird where there are some toys and things to do and explore. I have a small table top stand right next to me and they can forage in the tray of the stand, or climb on it, play with the toys hanging on it etc I spend time with the youngsters showing them toys and how to play with them. For eg. I will roll the ball around the table top to play football, I will start gently picking at mahogany pods, start ripping at the shreddable paper/leaf type toys, showing them how to do it, and lovebirds love to copy and join in. This will help them learn how to play with toys. Big toys can be intimidating, so I start with toy pieces that are smaller. Once they know and enjoy playing with the toy parts, they will recognise them in the larger toys you put in their cage.

I hope this is helpful to you. If you´re unsure about something, please ask and I´ll try explain it better.
Thank you so much for
Covering the cage during the day won´t help. Save covering the cage for bedtime only.

Remember this bird was with other siblings until recently, and could be calling out for a friend. Though by that, I am not saying to bring home another bird because it could help, but it could double the problem as you may end up with two birds calling back and forth. This is a whole other can of worms.

There are times when we are working, or discussing something and the birds choose this moment to go ham. They just wanna be a part of our conversation, but to us as humans it can be frustrating. It´s not easy to work from home with a parrot, and it can be stressful.

I find that the things that helped the most to combat noise for us were, not giving attention when noisy, having out of cage time earler in the day, and foraging.
The trick with foraging is to have different activites available all the time, switch it up.
Start with something simple. A foraging tray for eg. Get a tray or plastic plate, put some beads, shredded paper and then sprinkle a half teaspoon of seed over, maybe pick some clusters of millet from the sprig, include any other treats and toys - you can add as many things as you like.
I have foraging cups in my birds cages all the time, but don´t always fill them. I put different things in them on different days, missing some days completely.
Then take that stand of yours, add cups all over it, maybe 6 or more, the more the better. Start by putting a treat in half of the cups. Maybe a sunflower seed, or a small piece of almond, a small pinch of seed, anything of your choice. Let your bird search the cups to find which have treats in. Once she gets good at this activity, up your game, get some paper (the soft stuff like putting in gift bags) and place the paper on top of the cup. See how she does. Once she´s mastered moving the paper, get an elastic band, and this time put the paper over, then fix with a band - this time she has to break that paper to get her treats, and maybe she´ll get in, and no treat (remember only half have treats). If you see she has a fave toy item, maybe beads or cork, maybe something else, you can include those as the ¨rewards¨.
I like to use a ¨marble plate¨ for foraging when I don´t have too much prep time. I get a plastic plate (the kids picnic ones from IKEA), then put a level of marbles, then sprinkle a spoonful of seed and pellets over. My birds will pick at this for ages finding all the seeds! Don´t pack the marbles on the plate so they can still move.

As for the toys, I see you have a toy full of pieces of plaited leaf or something there, open the toy (if it´s wire, bend it open, if it´s string, untie it) take one piece off, then close the toy again. With that one piece, do as I said in my last post, play with it with your bird out of her cage, show her how it shreds, see if she will join in.
I see the other toy has wood and cardboard, see if you can find a piece of cardboard around your house, if not, do the same to that toy, take one piece off and then introduce it.

Here is the forum for Foraging, maybe you can find some activities you can make;

More help with toys;

Further reading;


At the end of the day, when all is said and done, no matter what you do, there will be times when your bird will be noisy and that comes with living with a parrot. If you were having second thoughts about living with a companion bird, now is the time to have a good conversation with your partner, see what is best for your lifestyle and make a decision now while the bird is still young.

@Monica @fluffypoptarts
Thank you for all your suggestions!!! I will follow your tips and go buy some foraging material and craft something for her. I am actually wondering if what sets her off is my partner videocalling. He started working from home due to Covid-19 and he has videocalls all day with colleagues. I wonder if hearing him speak is setting her off, maybe she wants to join the conversation? This is definitely something we didn't think of before getting her.
 

Zara

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I am actually wondering if what sets her off is my partner videocalling. He started working from home due to Covid-19 and he has videocalls all day with colleagues. I wonder if hearing him speak is setting her off, maybe she wants to join the conversation?
That sounds likely.
Do you have another room he can video call from?
Edit; something else I want to add, for you that noise is loud, for someone on the other end of the phone or videocall it is 10 times worse. If you want to know, call your partner while you are out and have a listen. When I go to the UK, I call my partner to talk, and the birds drive me insane to the point I hang up. So finding a way to separate the noise of your bird from the phonecalls (like separate rooms) is a good idea because it is not a nice experience for the people on the other end of the phone.
Remember, pushing the cage outside is not a bad thing for a bird. Some sunshine, fresh air, can call all they like. Just be sure the cage is in a secure place near the house, and that the bird has shade and water.

I will say, when people call me, I always use my earphones now. I rarely hold a phone to my head, I like using loudspeaker, but when I´m in the living room, I use the earphones because the birds are very vocal when they hear the other person on the phone. It is not for me, because when I have earphones in, they are not noisy.
Last week a friend came round after bedtime, and he was talking etc, the birds were silent he´s only been here 2 or 3 times in their lives, there was some muttering when he first came in talking, but they settled down. His girlfriend called and he put her on louspeaker and the birds started calling out top note.
My theory is there´s something about the voice coming out of the phone or computer, device whatever. That it seems to set my birds off, I don´t know why.
 
Last edited:

rainbeetle

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That sounds likely.
Do you have another room he can video call from?
Edit; something else I want to add, for you that noise is loud, for someone on the other end of the phone or videocall it is 10 times worse. If you want to know, call your partner while you are out and have a listen. When I go to the UK, I call my partner to talk, and the birds drive me insane to the point I hang up. So finding a way to separate the noise of your bird from the phonecalls (like separate rooms) is a good idea because it is not a nice experience for the people on the other end of the phone.
Remember, pushing the cage outside is not a bad thing for a bird. Some sunshine, fresh air, can call all they like. Just be sure the cage is in a secure place near the house, and that the bird has shade and water.

I will say, when people call me, I always use my earphones now. I rarely hold a phone to my head, I like using loudspeaker, but when I´m in the living room, I use the earphones because the birds are very vocal when they hear the other person on the phone. It is not for me, because when I have earphones in, they are not noisy.
Last week a friend came round after bedtime, and he was talking etc, the birds were silent he´s only been here 2 or 3 times in their lives, there was some muttering when he first came in talking, but they settled down. His girlfriend called and he put her on louspeaker and the birds started calling out top note.
My theory is there´s something about the voice coming out of the phone or computer, device whatever. That it seems to set my birds off, I don´t know why.
Here's the problem...there's not another room he can call from, because the bedroom is too small to have a desk, and our kitchen and living room are one big space. Unfortunately we (currently, not permanently) live in a small flat. And because of the nature of his job, he's on videocall all day, it's not just a call or two. He also uses earphones, no loud speaker, but as you mentioned, people he's on call with can barely hear him.
She seemed to like it outside today, I think she loves the view, and we check on her from our window (we live on ground floor, so she's -right there- for us to see). It is totally doable in the summer but definitely not during winter, as it gets rainy and cold here. An idea would be to place her in the bedroom, but, I'm not convinced.
Gotta say that this situation caught me off guard, didn't realize her calls would be as ear piercing as they are, I think if we lived in a bigger place it wouldn't be as problematic as it is right now! Essentially we are missing one room that would function as a studio.
 

Monica

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Could you possibly find some bird safe branches away from traffic/city life and try adding some to her cage? Start with one small branch, leaves and all, and see how she takes to it. If she's okay with it, you can increase the amount of branches.



Alternatively, definitely look more into foraging opportunities!
 

Pat H

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@Zara --- FYI--- Your info input.... is definitely one for the books... You gave info I didn't even think of! GREAT! THX...
 

rainbeetle

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@Zara --- FYI--- Your info input.... is definitely one for the books... You gave info I didn't even think of! GREAT! THX...
I love this forum... so many informed opinions, no judgement, and a will to help others...thanks to all of you!
 

rainbeetle

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Could you possibly find some bird safe branches away from traffic/city life and try adding some to her cage? Start with one small branch, leaves and all, and see how she takes to it. If she's okay with it, you can increase the amount of branches.



Alternatively, definitely look more into foraging opportunities!
This is a great idea! I have a place in mind where I can find some safe bamboo branches... brilliant, thank you!
 
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