Steve has passed his third week with us and he’s doing better. Each day there seems to be just a slightly less panicky response to opening his cage door.
This shot is very fuzzy, but it shows his favorite day perch, on the lip of his food crock, where he can keep an eye on things and chew his toys. He’s not yet foraging in his cage for pellets, but at least the pellets are wrapped. When I see he is a little less nervous about my hands in his cage, I’ll start hiding his pellets.
One thing he overcomes his nervousness for is nut treats: pistachios or cashews, being his favorites. Oh, and grapes! He loves grapes – his version of heaven. If you find the “kabob” on the extreme left of the top photo, you will see gaps where he has eaten first the grapes I skewered.
Steve also continues to do clicker training and I’ve been able to successfully open his cage door for that. I first clicker train with Sam, and that primes Steve for his turn – he’s always very eager to do his training.
Here you see him reaching out for that bit of cashew!
Last week, he regressed a little and began picking his chest feathers, but I’m happy to report that he seems to have gotten over that little period of hyper-nervousness and he seems to focus most of his nervous energy onto this toys, which he is chewing on constantly when he’s not eating or dozing.
After trial and error, I’ve discovered that Steve is OK with the windows so long as they are covered in sheer curtains so he can’t see out of them clearly. His greatest phobia seems to still be centered on this terror of the outside where he spent 5 days when he escaped with his first owner. That’s why he doesn’t like his cage door open.
One weekday morning last week, I opened Steve’s door to replace his water. Since it is so dark in the mornings, he got scared and fluttered to the floor. He did not panic once on the floor and nervously came to my arm to be replaced in his cage. He went to the back of his cage and I nearly laughed. It looked exactly like he was thinking really hard about what had just happened and was trying to process it. I’m sure he was!
Last Saturday afternoon, with the warm October sun streaming in through the sheer curtains, I had a great nap on the couch, and Steve and the rest of the flock all went to sleep, beaks gently grinding away. So I thought that was also a great victory, that he could relax sufficiently with me present.
We measure progress by very small markers, and we are grateful for each one.
I did get a chance to see under one of Steve’s wings this morning. The crease of the wing is reddish but smaller than I recall from 3 weeks ago. I was very encouraged. Steve is such a sweet, gentle being, and I look forward to how much fun he’ll start having when he can release his fears.
Hoping you are all having a great weekend!