I have very exciting news! And lots of it!
I shared my videos of Storm with a few people who were much more experienced with Amazon behavior than myself. I had my ideas on what Storm was trying to tell me… but no confirmation. Well, I got my confirmation when Anna Sloan (Macaw & Cockatoo Rescue of NM) said to me, “He’s head over heels for you!”
The thing she picked up on that I didn’t was that Storm was showing he was getting mildly anxious because he really wanted to step up and I wasn’t asking him to.
But I still didn’t take him up on it. I knew there was a chance Dave could walk in the room and spook us both, resulting in a bite.
But what I did notice was how purple and pink his beak was… he ate more berries! This time, he decided he really likes raspberries and not blue berries so much. Which I am sure you will understand by looking at the photo below.
I was able to capture a picture of his colorful beak, too! Here he is, guilty as charged…
Later he actually had a seed from a raspberry on his beak which was pretty funny and cute to see. We had actually been seriously worried about changing over his diet as he didn’t seem to be eating for the first few days, aside from messing with some various foods we offered… there was no real consumption of them. He lost 30 grams in 5 days.
Now, although he is an obese bird, we didn’t want him shedding weight too fast and in unhealthy ways. So, we put his old food back in the cage as an offering. Dave put it in and because Storm doesn’t like Dave right now, he dumped the entire bowl in the cage! This made it so that Storm might be able to reach and get some of it, but the majority was below the grate never to be consumed again.
Because Storm did this to himself, I think it led him to trying the berries again. And because it was his own doing and choices made, there was no person associated with the food in a negative way. It actually ended up being a great thing that Dave was the person to put the food in the cage and that Storm refused it and spilled it in an effort to shun Dave.
And lastly… yes, I got Storm to step up nicely WITHOUT biting me! The video is below…
Now, not everything went as planned in this video. Originally, I had imagined having him step up from a perch or the side of the cage where he would reach his leg out to me. However, he was on the bottom when I went up to him and so when I opened the door, he wasn’t in the “ideal” stepping up position.
Because I had a table with a scale on it nearby, he showed interest in going there. He had been on the scale his first day here and I think it was familiar and safe to him. I let him get himself there, steadying the table for him along the way. He climbed up and weighed himself, which is when I realized he was 30 grams lighter than 5 days earlier.
After talking to him for 3 full minutes, I placed my hand in front to give him the option to step up and he did. He made me a little uneasy by moving off my hand right away and close to my bicep. So what felt like forever… was only a few seconds before I was ready to set him back down again. However, when I watched the video back later, I realized I didn’t reinforce him enough for doing such a great job stepping up on me in the first place.
So for me to immediately ask him to get back down for no good reason (chicken wasn’t enough to do it) wasn’t going to happen. Once he felt like he got some pretty ideal time with me, then he stepped off. This took about 5 minutes until he stepped off by choice of me. It really made me realize I need to make sure he feels like he is getting reinforcement for stepping up so nicely and that reinforcement to him is spending time with me. I should have made it more fun and reinforcing. Maybe offering to pet him or talking to him sweetly.
Might be kind of hard to see in the video but he regurgitated for me the whole time he was on me. The full video was 15 minutes, 19 seconds and I couldn’t post that long of a video (maximum is 10 minutes) and instead of doing it in parts, I decided to just explain it to you guys instead. It really was not that entertaining to watch. Plus, Bandit was talking the whole time and you couldn’t hear me over him, haha…
Right now I feel that I am the only thing holding my progress with Storm back. He is showing all the signs of wanting to be with me and interact, but my intimidation is getting the better of me.