Progress and Questions for M

saxguy64

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Thank you for keeping us updated. I think you're handling everything exceptionally well! I truly hope the dad will get bored/annoyed enough with M that he'll try to "pawn him off" on you, thinking it's another thorn in your side. Fingers crossed! :)
 

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Great respect for how you are handling the dilemma. A shame reverse psychology needed to manage K's juvenile bio-dad. Meanwhile you are creating a welcoming environment for M's benefit.
 
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M's doing well. He's loud, messy, and turning into a chatterbox. He can TALK! I finished his play gym 2 days ago, and he just started playing on it a little bit ago today. He hasn't discovered the mirror yet, but he is using his spiral perches and the swing. Finding a large enough shatterproof mirror turned out to be harder than I thought. The gym is sized to fit inside a washer stand/tray, but the tray unfortunately made the stand too wobbly. I even made sure to make it where he had 7 inches of clearance to potty inside the tray on papers (that's how far he messes away from a perch). My plan was that the raised lip would have been great to keep quite a bit of his thrown stuff from flying across the floor, but oh well. I guess we'll just return the tray.

K is getting much better at reading him. He's not been without her since my first posts. I bought her her own broom, dustpan, and small vacuum to pick up after him. She puts him in his cage each night without too much fuss. That's a big step because he used to panic.

There are no avian vets anywhere nearer than 2.5 hours to us I've learned. There is ONE vet near that sees birds on a "limited" emergency basis.

There are safety difficulties (IMO) in transitioning M from home to car, car to dad's car, car to dad's house that we haven't smoothed out yet. M is an incredibly good flyer. He can maneuver and make complicated turns in flight. His flight ability is honestly my biggest fear for him at this point, even though I don't mind him flying in our open-floor-plan house. K's dad refuses to believe there is ANY danger in M getting loose. K is trying to convince him, because I've convinced her; but he just says he climbs trees (he is a professional tree climber) and will get M back that way if he flies off. K told me it happened last summer in their backyard and he climbed up and got M back from a tree. I know she cannot make her dad do anything, but I do not want the heartache of M flying off and the anguish of the unknown in that scenario. He refuses to realize that M could fly away completely just while he's climbing the first tree! I feel that is the biggest danger now, beyond anything else like the way he treats M or M's former depressed state when K started bringing him. Our vehicle is not big enough to hold a large dog pet taxi like M was purchased in. There are changes I've insisted on with K in transitioning M.

Prior to my involvement, M had routinely been taken places to show him off by her dad (people were permitted to "pet" him--I'm shocked he didn't bite). Now I insist K keep him against her with his wings held down by her hand while taking him to the vehicle. I handle the doors so she can keep hold of him. I pull the car as close to the house door as I can, and pull as close as I can to K's dad's vehicle. But I've also wondered if sensing my nervousness will make him want to fly, when he's had tons of opportunities before I even knew about it. Maybe I'm overthinking this. I know there are people that routinely take their birds out, but there are also people that lose them. I've scared K enough about it that she wants M's magnificent wings clipped to slow him down. I have mixed feelings on that but want him safer. K is currently too chicken to try putting a harness on him, but I'm ready to clip a tiny dog leash to his ankle ring if nothing else.

Exposing M to the transitioning danger would not be necessary if he could stay full-time. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that K's dad just decides he prefers life without M at all since he's only been around M on every other weekend and his midweek 24 hour visits for the past month or more now.

Overall M seems to have settled in here well. He wanted my husband to hold him for the first time last night. He spends his days in whatever room K or I are in, and he gets put to bed at night. He's a big, noisy goober. He likes me a lot, and even scolded K the other day when I told her to come take him. I believe I am viewed as the goody dispenser, or the fun aunt.

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chris-md

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He really landed in an amazing hone with you and your daughter! (The father...well...)

You should look into a travel carrier for the bird. Honestly it would be everyone’s life much easier for the transit. And much safer for the bird in the case of a car accident. And lest be honest, your right: the bird isn’t free flight trained so the chances of losing him are pretty high, and people aren’t always successful at retrieving a fly away. Better safe than sorry!

If you get one, just be sure to have a slow introduction complete with treats before the cage is used for transport.
 

SailBoat

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Teach your Mac safe flight paths with in each house. This is commonly done by having your Mac on your arm and starting at the cage /perch move away with him headed down the safe flight path to an end point that is a safe landing space. Do this with each pathway. Then from the safe landing place, ask for a step-up and return to the cage /perch. This locks in safe pathways and returns.

Next, teach hard surfaces, Walk with him down a safe flight path and move off the path so that you walk into a Wall, Window, Closed Door, Mirror, Picture, etc. As you bump into it, knock on the surface and say "hard". Quickly your Mac will define those surfaces. When your Mac looks at you like you're crazy or he leans back away from the hard surface, you have been successful.

Teaching 'Recall' requesting your Mac to fly to you and each person handling your Mac will greatly reduce the likelihood of your Mac flying away. It is not 100%, but it is a very important tool to have available.

Having one's arm cupping your Mac will develop into a signal to 'stay-put'. Teaching 'stay-put' from afar is also important.

IMHO, Mac's are a difficult Parrot to clip their wings as the goal of creating a glider is not as simple as it is with smaller flight surfaced Parrots. It takes a talented individual to cut the correct number of Primary Flight Feather, too many, and your Mac drops like a stone, too few and they with effort can fly. On the rare occasion that I recommend clipping, I recommend the Show Clip... But, it requires someone that knows what they are doing!!! A decade ago, there was just enough Parrot Shows that most Avian Medical Professionals knew how to cut properly for a show.

Mac's are most easily transported in a Mini Van or an SUV of like size. Its just the reality of size /space.

Happy to hear that the settling is going well! Take care to assure /verify that you do not proceed faster than your Mac is ready to.
 
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noodles123

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M's doing well. He's loud, messy, and turning into a chatterbox. He can TALK! I finished his play gym 2 days ago, and he just started playing on it a little bit ago today. He hasn't discovered the mirror yet, but he is using his spiral perches and the swing. Finding a large enough shatterproof mirror turned out to be harder than I thought. The gym is sized to fit inside a washer stand/tray, but the tray unfortunately made the stand too wobbly. I even made sure to make it where he had 7 inches of clearance to potty inside the tray on papers (that's how far he messes away from a perch). My plan was that the raised lip would have been great to keep quite a bit of his thrown stuff from flying across the floor, but oh well. I guess we'll just return the tray.

K is getting much better at reading him. He's not been without her since my first posts. I bought her her own broom, dustpan, and small vacuum to pick up after him. She puts him in his cage each night without too much fuss. That's a big step because he used to panic.

There are no avian vets anywhere nearer than 2.5 hours to us I've learned. There is ONE vet near that sees birds on a "limited" emergency basis.

There are safety difficulties (IMO) in transitioning M from home to car, car to dad's car, car to dad's house that we haven't smoothed out yet. M is an incredibly good flyer. He can maneuver and make complicated turns in flight. His flight ability is honestly my biggest fear for him at this point, even though I don't mind him flying in our open-floor-plan house. K's dad refuses to believe there is ANY danger in M getting loose. K is trying to convince him, because I've convinced her; but he just says he climbs trees (he is a professional tree climber) and will get M back that way if he flies off. K told me it happened last summer in their backyard and he climbed up and got M back from a tree. I know she cannot make her dad do anything, but I do not want the heartache of M flying off and the anguish of the unknown in that scenario. He refuses to realize that M could fly away completely just while he's climbing the first tree! I feel that is the biggest danger now, beyond anything else like the way he treats M or M's former depressed state when K started bringing him. Our vehicle is not big enough to hold a large dog pet taxi like M was purchased in. There are changes I've insisted on with K in transitioning M.

Prior to my involvement, M had routinely been taken places to show him off by her dad (people were permitted to "pet" him--I'm shocked he didn't bite). Now I insist K keep him against her with his wings held down by her hand while taking him to the vehicle. I handle the doors so she can keep hold of him. I pull the car as close to the house door as I can, and pull as close as I can to K's dad's vehicle. But I've also wondered if sensing my nervousness will make him want to fly, when he's had tons of opportunities before I even knew about it. Maybe I'm overthinking this. I know there are people that routinely take their birds out, but there are also people that lose them. I've scared K enough about it that she wants M's magnificent wings clipped to slow him down. I have mixed feelings on that but want him safer. K is currently too chicken to try putting a harness on him, but I'm ready to clip a tiny dog leash to his ankle ring if nothing else.

Exposing M to the transitioning danger would not be necessary if he could stay full-time. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that K's dad just decides he prefers life without M at all since he's only been around M on every other weekend and his midweek 24 hour visits for the past month or more now.

Overall M seems to have settled in here well. He wanted my husband to hold him for the first time last night. He spends his days in whatever room K or I are in, and he gets put to bed at night. He's a big, noisy goober. He likes me a lot, and even scolded K the other day when I told her to come take him. I believe I am viewed as the goody dispenser, or the fun aunt.




congrats on all of the progress!



use a travel cage--- I know it's tough to find one that is big enough, but for short periods they can work (plus, leaving a bird in the open in a car is a hazard for the bird and the driver-in the event of an accident or behavioral issue)
 
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I'm looking into a travel cage. 1. They are expensive! (Darn her dad!) 2. The reviews on the best ones by people who own scarlet macaws say they're still too short. M's tail is REALLY long like a scarlet. I'm looking at the idea of saving up for one on eBay where the seller says they can be customized for longer birds. It will be a save up and then try to get him to like it scenario if we go that route.
 

noodles123

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I'm looking into a travel cage. 1. They are expensive! (Darn her dad!) 2. The reviews on the best ones by people who own scarlet macaws say they're still too short. M's tail is REALLY long like a scarlet. I'm looking at the idea of saving up for one on eBay where the seller says they can be customized for longer birds. It will be a save up and then try to get him to like it scenario if we go that route.




I HATE travel cage sizes, but if you can get one for short distances, it's way safer.
 

Scott

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Seems the honeymoon is nearly complete with M feeling essentially at home! I would advise great caution during transfer as a flighted macaw is capable of quick getaway if frightened/surprised or in escapist mood. The sad saga of "Maggie" spans 117 pages, but a quick skim is sufficient to spark action: http://www.parrotforums.com/lost-found/60914-i-lost-maggie-tonight.html
Harness training may be most practical with cage as backup. (not suggesting this will be easy by any means!)
 
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So, funny story regarding M's progress at making his opinions known. Background: K has a love for North American wildlife--she has followed in my footsteps in that love. For my highschool graduation my parents bought me a gorgeous large painting of a mountain lion for a gift. K decided she wanted to inherit it from storage when she chose a bedspread with a mountain lion last year. I got it out while she was at her dad's last time and leaned it against her bed so she could see I'd finally retrieved it as promised when she returned--it was supposed to be a nice surprise. Um, I forgot to take into consideration M's opinions about piercing stares from large predators that are realistically painted in life size..... Let's just say that when she entered her room and was greeted with the painting, Mr. M made his opinion of the artwork known--we now know his full limbo-leaning capabilities. He was ready for that nonsense to be gone YESTERDAY. He perfectly managed to communicate "Get that thing out of here NOW!" even without the words. Lol, K has decided she'll put the painting on hold for a bit. M approves of that decision.

Oh, and M is adding words like crazy right now. Unfortunately, he's picked up a gross, hilarious habit of K's dad: he "hawks up loogies." Lol, he puts his foot over his face, makes terrible snotty noises, then makes a loud spitting sound for great effect. Sometimes he does an exaggerated sneeze. Since we started saying "bless you," he says it now too. When K was sick with a cold recently, he made blowing nose sounds and covered his nose with his foot like he had a tissue. He yells "STEP UP!" at us with increasing crescendo if we ignore him. He says "Awwww" like K does in an adoring tone when he snuggles under her chin. He jabbers the most while on the shower curtain rod--I don't know why. It's nonstop phrases and words--some make sense; others don't. He seems stubborn about learning things we want him to say. He can say his name perfectly. He has a call like nothing I can describe if we walk out of the room when he's feeling clingy. Lol, I mean put-your-hands-over-your-ears loud! We'll take it--at least he's feeling his oats enough to be a bird again!
 
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wrench13

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Harness training. The safest way and least upsetting to move your boy. Sure, it takes time to train him but you will both benefit. He will be safer and you will have worked closely with M in the training.
 

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RIP Gandalf and Big Bird, you are missed.
M is definitely settling in, revealing an endearing personality. I can only imagine the raucous "hawking up loogies" lol. Mimicking sounds with physical gesturing more proof the intellect of these feathered children.

No wonder M had visceral reaction to the majestic mountain lion. Their visual perceptions are remarkable! We're all looking forward to the day he has a single home!
 
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If this is the wrong place to post an additional question about M, I apologize. This seemed the most logical to me because it has all of his former history and information linked in it.

M is doing very well. He and I are getting along better than ever, and he adores my daughter K. We had his wings clipped at a local veterinarian's office because my daughter's bio-dad was planning hiking and camping with him and no amount of explaining would impress on him the dangers to M (fully flighted at that point). My daughter would rather have him flightless for a period of time, then to let him die of exposure in the forest because he got spooked and lost. Bio-dad hasn't even noticed M is flightless, and we haven't pointed it out. M was extremely good at flying, so to see that taken away because bio-dad refused to cooperate with K harness training M was discouraging. However, M will not allow bio-dad to put a harness on him, and bio-dad thinks a harness unnecessary. That is why we decided that clipping his wings was the safest thing for him for the times that he would not be with my daughter and the bio-dad decided to show him off.

All was going well until K got to take him outside as the weather finally started cooperating. She came in after the first time of taking him outside crying her eyes out. M flock-called when he got outside, and his call bounced off of the hills around us, and came back to him. He became highly excited and tried to flap his wings to go to those birds he heard calling him back. :'( My daughter is tortured by this, as am I, because she can't give him what he's calling for. I don't have an easy solution for her--the cold, hard truth is M would not even exist if someone had not bred two different types of macaws together to gain a paycheck. We are not wealthy enough to go live near the rainforest in South America so that he can become acquainted with birds of his kind. K has told me while she loves him to death, it's unfair he can't go screaming to a bunch of other noisy macaws. She asked me if there's any way for us to duplicate a family for him. I don't know what to tell her--I know we don't have the space or money for more macaws. I know zoos have massive atriums that mimic rainforests, but I don't think we have the right connections to ever let him access something like that. Is there any way for us to give him more then just us, without getting more birds? I know this is a hard question, but my daughter has been ill at ease ever since she heard him calling for other birds. We can't approach bio-dad about M calling for buddies, because he will go buy another one with as little thought as he put into buying M for a (then) 11 year old.

For now, M is as happy as we know how to make him. He moves from room to room and tries to match whatever level of talking or yelling is going on in that room. (Sorry, I have children and yes there is yelling in my house at times--sometimes the yelling is even from me.) M gets to go outside and play on the playset with the kids. They swing and he climbs everywhere. He is instinctively terrified of large birds passing overhead and hides in the playhouse if one appears. He gets to destroy toys, take baths, and generally be an annoying and endearing pest. I've made a perch in the garden for him to keep me company. We just want to know if we can give him a little more for the part of him that seeks his own kind.
 
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chris-md

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I’m so glad everything is going well!

Take heart: what you fear isn’t a cry ally what’s happening. You’re projecting your own emotions onto him. He is bonded to you all, legitimately bonded. You ARE his flock, and that’s how he views it. He experienced a new auditory experience and it excited him. He knows what his own call sounds like, he was not fooled into thinking his echoes are other birds.

I promise he’s not pining for “his own kind”. He just experienced something cool that he really liked. Don’t confuse excited behavior for emotional intent.
 
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Chris, I'm going to read your response about M reacting with excitement as opposed to sadness to K. I think it will ease her mind as it does mine. I would much prefer him to be excited than sad.

On a positive note to you any anyone else that has had interest in M's well-being, he and I are becoming better friends--which makes him spending more time here possible. So much so, I've taken care of him multiple times lately when K had stuff going on. I'm not going to say I'm at completely at ease yet, but I can bring M to whatever room I'm in without too much fear now (leaving him alone is not advisable to the well-being of eardrums in the household). He has always reached out to me and shown interest--I'm just scared of him. For the most part, I'm getting better at interaction with him. He and I are definitely not to the ridiculous amount of tomfoolery he allows from K, but no big deal. The one mishap I've had lately was when he got on my shoulder instead of my arm, removed my glasses, then decided to lick me like a dog. When he moved from licking to freckle-picking, I'd had enough. I called K on the phone for bird-removal tips, but she was more interested in laughing than helping. Necessity is the mother of invention when a bratty child won't get the albatross off one's shoulder, so needless to say M isn't still attached to my shoulder. I'll get there eventually.
 

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Perfect choice of venue for update and additional questions!

I applaud your concerns for M's well being and wing clipping as best offense against bio dad's marauding idiocy. Sadly, the origin sins of captive bird breeding are moot now that M is in your life and you didn't orchestrate his birth or purchase. Best you can do is give him a loving, nurturing, and to some degree, independent life. Macaws are fully capable of deep bonding with multiple humans, unlike some of the more neurotic species. I always suggest, though impractical, cockatoos do best in flocks as their dual nature permits closeness with humans and avians.

Totally agree with Chris' comment above. Parrots genuinely feel wide range of emotions, though it would be anthropomorphizing to assume precisely how their brain processes thoughts.
 

chris-md

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Trust takes time, especially with creatures who have buzz saws attached to their face.

It’s interesting too, because dynamics can change over time. I’m the bird person, my partner is not and was rabidly against getting a bird he never envisioned owning it he first place. At first I encouraged my partner to take bites, show no fear. He never had to do that. After a couple years, Parker proved I’m the only one who has anything to worry about. My partner cos the favorite, he can do anything to Parker and he’d still be the apple of Parker’s eye. Me? Sit the wrong way and I get growled at. I can’t manipulate Parker like my partner can, and do call him frequently to deal with a situation where Parker won’t behave or step up for me. Partner just forces Parker’s claw into his hand, and that’s that. If I tried that I’d pull back a stub.

And that’s ok. I have tools in my belt to deal with a difficult bird, my partner doesn’t. I’m glad he’s the favorite so he doesn’t have to deal with aggression. He gets Parker’s good bits.

These dynamics happen, everyone has their own relationship with the bird in the home.

FYI, you need to target train M. That’s one of the key tools to get a bird to do something they otherwise wouldn’t do. Won’t get off the shoulder? Use targeting, M will come off right away, and it was her choice so you aren’t forcing anything. AND by training you are building common communication, which directly and exponentially builds trust.
 

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Just be aware that even clipped, a great many birds who are powerful flyers ( and macaws are in there - they can fly miles in their native ranges) can still fly if they get spooked by something. Happens all the time, I personally have lost a loved parrot many years ago like that.
 
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Update on M for anyone interested: He's fine and dandy; loud; hilarious; pretty stinkin' gentle for all that I read of other birds; hates when we rearrange the furniture; has grown in a lot of his flight feathers from his spring clipping; adores the bathroom shower rod; talks nonstop on said rod; adores the kitchen sink; fluctuates from getting soaked bath moods to "3-drops is enough, thanks"; is an expert "leaner" to show likes and dislikes; can demand to be held with his "piggies"; and is amazingly patient at K's bio-dad's, in spite of the situations he gets put in where her dad lets people "pet the bird," etc.

He adores K, but also finds me fascinating as ever. I'm fairly comfortable with him now, so it has eased the burden on K a bit when she wants a sleepover away at her cousin's. M and I get on fine--K says I spoil him like a grandma. (It's true, but it's because I don't want to be bitten.) He likes me so much that he's even done his lunge thing at K when she offered to take him from me. Lol, but that doesn't work on K; she just lunges back, M quits his nonsense, and they're buddies again.

I don't understand the lunging thing completely, but it's a real thing with macaws from everything I read. There are varying levels to his lunges ranging from half-hearted like above, to legit ones with added hissing and drawing blood on K's bio-dad. K is an expert at knowing which are real; I'm scared of them all. M almost never lunges at me though. Maybe he knows I'm a pansy. He loves K more than me, and lunges at her more, but it seems more of a game with the two of them. Not so with her bio-dad; those lunges are the real deal and sometimes accompanied by a puncture wound. K is also much better at reading him and defending him at her dad's than when he first came.

All in all, I'm impressed with both M and K; they had no choice in being thrown together, but he adores her, and she's amazingly intuitive with him. Watching them whisper secrets to each other is one of the funniest things I've ever seen, as is seeing him try to straighten her hair or clothes--poor bird has been trying to fix that girl's "feathers" for months.

We may do our own wing clipping next time; verdict isn't back on that though--I'm terrified. I've watched a ton of videos, but it's very scary to go from watching to doing. I waver from, "Absolutely not!" to, "It's a possibility." We could probably do it with less stress than the vet's office--let's just say the entire office complex knew he was MAD, everyone's ears were hurting, he would've loved to have bitten the face off the tech, and he was worn out for about 48 hours after. Plus, he looked like he had nubbins when he stretched for a few months. K literally cried when they handed him back to her because he was so upset, ruffled, and begging to come to her. He hid his face under her chin and refused to come out till we were home. However, I'm pretty sure it saved his life from idiocy on her bio-dad's part. Bio-dad never figured out we had him clipped, and we sure never mentioned it! I would love if M would allow me to trim while K holds him, so strangers aren't stressing him out. I don't think it's impossible. He already lets K stretch/hold his wings out with no problem. I just need to get him used to me touching them as well. Y'all wish me luck. Moving him from perch to perch and getting all up in his business are two different things--and I'm not a "bird person."

All in all, he's a darling and he makes us laugh constantly with his ridiculous shenanigans.
 

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Parrots
Sunny the Sun Conure (sept '18, gotcha 3/'19). Mr Jefferson Budgie & Mrs Calliope Budgie (albino) (nov'18 & jan'19). Summer 2021 Baby Budgies: Riker (Green); Patchouli, Keye, & Tiny (blue greywings).
Thank you so much for the update! I was thinking of you & daughter & bird, wondering how he was doing, just yesterday.
 

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