Steve has gone through what I thought was a big regression lately. I think removing Pippin’s cage spooked him – perhaps making him think he’d be moving out yet again. Last week I also moved a few of his perches to make it easier for me to skritch his head through the food hatch. Since that one magical night, Steve has not come out of his cage, and he has even been reluctant to come to me for his head skritches.
But then I got to really thinking about what he’d been through physically over the last years and even in the last week. When I moved his main perch, he stumbled a couple of times (that I witnessed) and he tends then to lose courage to try new things – or so I thought. I don’t think it’s so much a loss of courage as it is an increase in physical pain. I also noticed that there was blood under his wings at the creases, so his stumbles must have broken the very fragile skin in those places.
In other words, whenever I see what I think is a regression, it actually may have more to do with his discomfort than his emotional state, though the two go hand in hand. Whenever I don’t feel good or have a raw injury, I am definitely not going to do anything to make things worse by moving much until enough healing has taken place.
And so, I came to a revelation today: concentrate on facilitating his physical recovery, which will help him be more active and confident. It’s quite elementary, but I forget that his physical healing isn’t over. Birds always hide their physical pain or lack of wellness as a survival technique. If I lived with skin under my arms that tore each time I moved in a jerky way, I’d be pretty discouraged and depressed – and a more than a bit snappish!
At this point, I’m not sure what “facilitating his physical recovery” means in practical terms, but it’s made my mind a bit more open to what I might be able to do for him beyond what I’m already doing.
I think that the night Steve came out on his own and acted like a happy African Grey coincided with a period of physical wellness. He had been much more active and trying new things. He will do so again!