Sweetie came to us from Splash Mountain Indoor Water Park and Resort in Erie, Pennsylvania, by way of the North West Pennsylvanian Humane Society. He had spent the first 12 years of his life as an attraction, first in the pool area of the resort/water park and then in the lobby for about the last two years of his time there. While I have no idea what his life was like while living at Splash Mountain, I can imagine he did not have much true human interaction. What most likely filled his days was lots of noise and strangers talking to him through the bars of his enclosure (and perhaps a number of young people’s fingers poking through at him). I noticed in a picture that there was a nice new, brightly colored toy hanging in his enclosure close to where he perched. I also noticed that it had not been played with at all. From all reports, his diet was not the best for a Companion Parrot. And it was Sweetie’s showing signs of illness that sparked an outcry to find a home that was more supportive, loving, and suitable for him.
Just about 3 months ago, Sir Sweetie Pea, a male Blue & Gold Macaw, landed at The K Kritter Korral as our newest member. A couple of weeks ago, we brought him out of his quarantine area and relocated him to his permanent cage in the room with the rest of the Macaws and a few other large parrots. Not only did Sweetie seem thrilled to finally be seeing the birds behind all of the voices he had been hearing since his arrival in our home, but also I do believe he may have a crush on our female Green-Wing, Ruby Francesca Begonia, already.
Sweetie met his Avian Veterinarian the second full day he was with us. And while there were a few issues of concern revealed in his Complete Annual Exam and radiographs, there was nothing requiring treatment; and we planned a follow-up exam in 6 months.
Sweetie has gained weight since his arrival. He has sprouted feathers where we were concerned whether or not he would be able to again. We still deal with his feather destructive behaviors, but we’re getting a little bit of an understanding, and working with his Avian Vet to support regrowth where possible. While Sir Sweetie had already been converted to a good pellet based diet, and started on fresh foods during his time with the Northwest Pennsylvania Humane Society, he has expanded the variety of foods that he likes, and he is becoming more adventurous with new items. He has accepted drinking from a water bottle (in a quick 2 days!)
And Sweetie has learned to play with toys!!! Yes, I am convinced that he had no idea what toys were for previously. But he certainly knows now. AND he has even learned what it is to forage, and will meet each new challenge to forage by different methods as we increase the complexity for him!
But THE most amazing progress, I believe, we’ve made since Sweetie’s joining our flock is that he will now step up for me willingly, immediately, and … yes … I would even say enthusiastically! For whatever reason, Sweetie would avoid and even retreat from my arm when I offered it to step onto. I was very apprehensive to try to use a towel with him to be able to move him from location to location, knowing that he also showed an adverse reaction to a towel when it was presented to him previously. Initially I tried approaching him from the front, so that he could always see the towel, and always had the choice to allow it close to him or not. Surprisingly, the first time I tried to pick him up with the towel, he allowed me to bring it right up to him; until the point at which I needed to bring it around his sides in order to pick him up. Then he retreated. So, I simply draped the towel, folded in fourths, over my forearm and the bird nearly jumped right onto it!!! Such SaWeet Success! And the reinforcement for both of us is the time we spend cuddling, and my giving Sweetie the scritches he so loves. Once on my arm, he will lean in, toward my chest, and bury his head right there for as long as I deliver those wonderful scritches.
Sweetie will step onto the scale for weighing. He comes out of his cage freely to play on the play top when the opportunity is offered. And now he will return to the interior of the cage readily when it is time, rather than resisting and causing us both considerable stress.
Yes, Sweetie is settling in v-e-r-y nicely. The other birds are chatting with him, and interacting from their own cages. And he is truly a Member of The K Kritter Korral now.