Steve has not had a good week, no thanks to Sam and me. Sam is going through an intense hormonal phase. I think this is owing to extra nuts (rich=abundance=time to nest) during clicker training, and probably owing to his insecurity about our new addition of Steve to the family. Consequently, Sam’s behavior is very erratic and unpredictable. I’ve had to manhandle him off me when he has tried climbing my up clothes. On one occasion, he bit my chin (fortunately, no break in skin) and several bites to hands (yes, broken). I’ve withdrawn all rich foods and he’s basically eating only pellets and a small amount of apple and cauliflower. He is not suffering!
However, Sam has unintentionally buzzed Steve when Steve was outside his cage, causing Steve to panic and tear his underwing sores. This has happened twice. I’ve taken further steps to minimize these “surprises.” And then, because he was already getting more nervous, he panicked when I adjusted one of his perches yesterday. So he’s had 3 panics in the last week. He hasn’t been outside of his cage for several days, and he’s very nervous again around my hands. I thought that this morning we had undone everything we’d accomplished in the last two months and I was feeling quite badly about my part in this.
HOWEVER, Steve is nothing if not resilient. He made me understand today that he wanted to do clicker training, so here we are. You will notice Steve is chewing his nails vigorously – a signature Grey sign of nervousness. But, dang! Isn’t he great? He overcame his nerves to do a great job, yet again. I hand him a bead, he drops it into the cup, he gets a treat. You gotta love him for his pluckiness, despite his obvious fear. A lesson to us all! Without further ado, heeeeer’s Steve!
PS By the way, those dark splotches on Steve’s chest are his new feathers coming out after he plucked his chest fairly clean. I’ve not seen him continue to pick, so I’m crossing my fingers he’ll let his feathers stay.