Steve, I have learned, will do just about anything for head skritches. So what better time to train him (instead of the other way around) to come OUTSIDE his cage for head rubs? Besides, my neck and back were beginning to cry out from the contortions I was going through to give skritches to Steve through his food hatch.
So while I watched a DVD, I waited for him to at least come down to the door, where I had installed a wide perch for him just inside the door (I’ve since also installed a rope perch outside the food hatch). But no, he decided to be much more creative. He hung from the cage with his head and neck exposed to me. He hung there, quite happily, for a good 45 minutes! Then I introduced the blue pillow shown in the photo, and he finally got the idea he could actually get head skritches right-side up, standing on the pillow. That quickly evolved into his climbing up to my shoulder where he presented his head for even more head skritches. This guy would be content if I rubbed his head all night long! Considering that he’s been deprived of this kind of loving touch for years, I guess he’s making up for lost time. Since he hasn’t been outside his cage for weeks now, this was a huge night of progress.
Also, one night recently as I was giving him a goodnight skritch, he began regurgitating food for me. I was so surprised! But I was also glad in one sense – not that I want Steve to bond with me as his mate – that he has begun to trust me and to form a solid relationship with his human companion. This may also be the first time in his life he’s been able to do that.
Way to go, Steve!
PS The cute cotton rope toy outside Steve’s cage was generously made and sent by Michelle at The Beak Whisperer. She makes fun toys for parrot enrichment. Steve is getting used to this one before I introduce it to his cage.