As I’ve written about before, I am owned by two parrots. Maybelline is a Blue Front Amazon parrot who is 31 years-old. I’ve had her for the past 11 years! Recently, I took in a Congo African Grey parrot named “Murphy”. Murphy is a young parrot who did’t have a very good start in life. Labeled “mean”, he was a fear-biter because everything in his environment elicited a fear response from him… which is why he would bite! Our initial introductions left me with bleeding wounds but I felt fairly confident I could help Murphy.
Murphy has a long list of things that cause fear. But because he is still young, I hoped I could re-introduce many of those things in a more positive way to get him to accept those things. I’m still working on having Murphy “like” taking a shower but at this point, he does NOT enjoy getting wet. Misting him in his cage causes him to climb all over to get away from being sprayed. And taking him into the shower with me, well, that is not going so well either. Still, I keep trying and at least the warmth and humidity of the shower has to be good for him? He has gotten his toes “wet” and although he threatens to fly off the shower perch, he hasn’t so maybe that is a step in the right direction?
As our weather warms up, I would like to get Murphy (and Maybelline) outside. YEARS AGO, I had an outside aviary. SO MANY problems with that; it would make a great post for another day! Instead, I purchased a large cage that divides itself into two cages. Hopefully seeing Maybelline next to Murphy, he will learn to enjoy the light, sunshine, warmth of being outside too? This new cage came yesterday so yep, we are putting it together today!
Murphy will never be the cuddly baby bird I had hoped for but he does deserve a good life! He LOVES the camera (often trying to chew it!) so it has been fun taking his photo. At almost a year of age, he is now beginning to talk. He mimics many sounds and has picked up the way Maybelline rolls her “r’s”. No matter how hard I try, I still can’t roll my “r’s” back at him but maybe that communication is between Murphy and Maybelline?
Murphy is really smart seeming to understand my words to him. He visably calms down when I say “it’s okay”. He will taste food offered from my hand (I consider this a huge positive step!) and he LOVES being hand-fed baby formula! I’m fortunate that both my husband and son like interacting with Murphy too (because Maybelline HATES men!) We will sit in a circle practicing “step-up” passing him from one person to the next. While he keeps his eye on me, he will readily step up on other people too.
It is my hope that by providing constant environment enrichment, Murphy will not become a feather plucker? He seems to preen a lot which worries me but then, maybe he is just molting? I really wished he enjoyed showers; I just think this would help with his molting! In the meantime, I will continue to provide opportunites for Murphy to be a well-adjusted parrot living in a human world. That is the best I can do for Mr. Murphy!
XOXO ~ Jennifer