Shoulders??

OrrinocosMom

Member
Jul 29, 2021
14
Media
4
Albums
1
45
New England
Parrots
Orrinoco The Pirate
Hello Everyone,
I recently adopted a G&G who is about 20 years old. He belonged to the wife of one of my hospice patients ...she also had around 30 cats and realized that Orinoco (birds name) was not getting enough attention. I've wanted a macaw for a long time, so when she told me I was the only one shed consider giving him to, I accepted!!

We had a 6 day dive from California to our new home in Maine, with my three dogs in the cargo van with us! It turned out to be a great bonding experience - Orinoco, whom I have been calling Pirate (I don't know why, it just comes out and he seems to like I) sat pressed up to the side of his travel cage closest to me, overcame his shyness and grumpiest and was very interactive with me and the dogs. Took food from my hand, wanted head scratches etc.

When we finally got to the house it was chaos of moving truck arriving, unloading, boxes everywhere, repair guys in and out, deliveries, etc. Stress for dogs in a new place so lots of barking etc I was very careful to do my best to keep taking to my Pirate/Orinoco calmly, cover his cage at bedtime, and every day spend time with him. (His cage is about three feet from my desk, so we chat all day when I'm working.

Orinoco had a pretty much cage bound, life in his old home, never bathed, never did much but sit...his cage was often very dirty. At least his owner recognized that he needed more. I'm very grat ful to her for passing him in to me.

Things have finally calmed down and we are all settling it. I learned through the long journey and all the chaos of the move, that my Pirate friend is very adaptable, vet curious, very interested in EVERYTHING! I thought he might be a bit traumatized by the whole adventure...but no! He was fascinated and interactive throughout!! He was a bit shy and territorial once back in his bigger cage, but I've got plenty of patience.

I then learned from his previous owner that one of his wings does not extend (some injury early in his life) so he cannot fly. This made me sad...so I built a perch with rope ladder to a higher perch above his house (cage), so he can sunbathe at my upper window, which he loves to do. He was curious, if a bit nervous, through the process of putting it up, and when he went up to try it out he became very excited. I was outside fixing lawn mower when he started in with screaming at me (this always means he wants something quite badly - like "don't leave me here when you take dogs for a walk!!!") So I came inside to check... I went to him and he climbed down off his perch and basically asked to step up onto my arm.... It was a first and so exciting! We hung out like this for a good 15-20 minutes...he snuggled the side of my face and groomed my hair. He went back into the new perch, came back into me. We walked around a little but he was nervous going too far from cage so we stayed near it. It was magical. I really felt like he was saying THANK YOU THANK YOU. We had two more step up visits the same day.

There IS a wee question in all this: I've read and heard people say you should not let your macaw up in your shoulder as this makes them feel dominant... And others say it's ok. Both Orinoco and I were very comfy with him in my shoulder....but is this OK? That's my Q. I'd love to get to a place where we are both super comfy with this so I could put a safety harness on him and let him come along (on my shoulder) for dog walks.

But other Q is: with a bird who can't fly, how worried should I be about him FALLING?? Either off of my arm or shoulder, or off if his high perch?

One more mething. His prev. Owner said she did not reach him things to say, he just picked them up randomly. He does talk a fair bit (whispers I love you when I cover him at night, imitates my smaller dogs bark when I come home, and randomly rattles on with things lie what the heck you doing/aren't you pretty/got any more of that/how bout a song). So my question here is: can you teach a bird specific things to say, can you ask a bird to speak in command or in response, or do Macaws jus say what they want when they want to?

Anyway, I'm ridiculously in love with this magnificent, regal, silly, intelligent, curious and interactive being. I'm not new to birds - have worked with falcons, hawks and owls - but I'm new to macaws, and just ENCHANTED.

OH, one more Q: best way to introduce water/bathing/showers ??

Special tips for Macaws living in chilly Maine?

Thank you for reading my ramble and any thoughts you wish to share!

Photo shows Orinoco's new perch, before I out up rope ladder to upper perch, and our first step up snuggle!!
 

Attachments

  • PXL_20210915_171031535.jpg
    PXL_20210915_171031535.jpg
    311 KB · Views: 39
  • PXL_20210915_171039168.jpg
    PXL_20210915_171039168.jpg
    177.3 KB · Views: 37
  • PXL_20210915_173104454.jpg
    PXL_20210915_173104454.jpg
    218.9 KB · Views: 37
  • PXL_20210915_173235043.jpg
    PXL_20210915_173235043.jpg
    213.1 KB · Views: 37
OP
O

OrrinocosMom

Member
Jul 29, 2021
14
Media
4
Albums
1
45
New England
Parrots
Orrinoco The Pirate
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #2
Hello Everyone,
I recently adopted a G&G who is about 20 years old. He belonged to the wife of one of my hospice patients ...she also had around 30 cats and realized that Orinoco (birds name) was not getting enough attention. I've wanted a macaw for a long time, so when she told me I was the only one shed consider giving him to, I accepted!!

We had a 6 day dive from California to our new home in Maine, with my three dogs in the cargo van with us! It turned out to be a great bonding experience - Orinoco, whom I have been calling Pirate (I don't know why, it just comes out and he seems to like I) sat pressed up to the side of his travel cage closest to me, overcame his shyness and grumpiest and was very interactive with me and the dogs. Took food from my hand, wanted head scratches etc.

When we finally got to the house it was chaos of moving truck arriving, unloading, boxes everywhere, repair guys in and out, deliveries, etc. Stress for dogs in a new place so lots of barking etc I was very careful to do my best to keep taking to my Pirate/Orinoco calmly, cover his cage at bedtime, and every day spend time with him. (His cage is about three feet from my desk, so we chat all day when I'm working.

Orinoco had a pretty much cage bound, life in his old home, never bathed, never did much but sit...his cage was often very dirty. At least his owner recognized that he needed more. I'm very grat ful to her for passing him in to me.

Things have finally calmed down and we are all settling it. I learned through the long journey and all the chaos of the move, that my Pirate friend is very adaptable, vet curious, very interested in EVERYTHING! I thought he might be a bit traumatized by the whole adventure...but no! He was fascinated and interactive throughout!! He was a bit shy and territorial once back in his bigger cage, but I've got plenty of patience.

I then learned from his previous owner that one of his wings does not extend (some injury early in his life) so he cannot fly. This made me sad...so I built a perch with rope ladder to a higher perch above his house (cage), so he can sunbathe at my upper window, which he loves to do. He was curious, if a bit nervous, through the process of putting it up, and when he went up to try it out he became very excited. I was outside fixing lawn mower when he started in with screaming at me (this always means he wants something quite badly - like "don't leave me here when you take dogs for a walk!!!") So I came inside to check... I went to him and he climbed down off his perch and basically asked to step up onto my arm.... It was a first and so exciting! We hung out like this for a good 15-20 minutes...he snuggled the side of my face and groomed my hair. He went back into the new perch, came back into me. We walked around a little but he was nervous going too far from cage so we stayed near it. It was magical. I really felt like he was saying THANK YOU THANK YOU. We had two more step up visits the same day.

There IS a wee question in all this: I've read and heard people say you should not let your macaw up in your shoulder as this makes them feel dominant... And others say it's ok. Both Orinoco and I were very comfy with him in my shoulder....but is this OK? That's my Q. I'd love to get to a place where we are both super comfy with this so I could put a safety harness on him and let him come along (on my shoulder) for dog walks.

But other Q is: with a bird who can't fly, how worried should I be about him FALLING?? Either off of my arm or shoulder, or off if his high perch?

One more mething. His prev. Owner said she did not reach him things to say, he just picked them up randomly. He does talk a fair bit (whispers I love you when I cover him at night, imitates my smaller dogs bark when I come home, and randomly rattles on with things lie what the heck you doing/aren't you pretty/got any more of that/how bout a song). So my question here is: can you teach a bird specific things to say, can you ask a bird to speak in command or in response, or do Macaws jus say what they want when they want to?

Anyway, I'm ridiculously in love with this magnificent, regal, silly, intelligent, curious and interactive being. I'm not new to birds - have worked with falcons, hawks and owls - but I'm new to macaws, and just ENCHANTED.

OH, one more Q: best way to introduce water/bathing/showers ??

Special tips for Macaws living in chilly Maine?

Thank you for reading my ramble and any thoughts you wish to share!

Photo shows Orinoco's new perch, before I out up rope ladder to upper perch, and our first step up snuggle!!
Also, PS, yes, his beak needs trimming. We have an appointment with the avian vet but I wanted to make sure he is comfy with me before I try to get him to go back in the travel cage....any tips for getting birds into travel cages??
 

saxguy64

Moderator
Staff member
Super Moderator
Apr 24, 2018
8,377
Media
4
Albums
3
4,272
Maine, USA
Parrots
Tucker the Red Sided Eclectus
Baxter the YNA
Patches the Grand Eclectus, my best friend. RIP
Cuckoo the BFA RIP
Oh wow, beautiful boy! Thank you for taking him and working to give him his best life possible. You're making wonderful progress already. I'm not a macaw person, so I just have more general info.

Shoulder time is really about trust between the two of you, and it's personal. If you trust 100% that you won't suffer a bite, I'd say it's okay. However, if you feel there's possibility of biting, just don't do it. That big beak can do serious damage to your ear, face, eye, jugular... No joke. Many folks will say that dominance in birds is a myth. Parrots just don't see things in that way. I tend to agree, but that's me.
My YNA and ekkie have shoulder priveliges with me. The YNA, only with me. She's not fond of most other people up close. My ekkie is the sweetest, gentlest boy ever.

Personally, I wouldn't accept 100% that he can't fly. Not until you know for sure. My first amazon was "unable to fly," and in fact never did until years after I got him. We had family visiting, and something set him off, and he took off flying laps around the house! I had taken him outside many times over the years, and had no idea. Thank goodness he was insecure out there and snuggled close in to my neck.

Speech... Really dependant on the individual. You can try working on specific words or phrases, but no guarantee he'll repeat them. Sounds like he's pretty good at picking up what he wants, and understands context, which is fantastic. I suppose, once you have some sort of training routine, you could work on speech in a similar way, so he understands expectations. Might take a while though.

Showers, oh boy. Some love any type of bathing, while others are very specific in what they'll accept. Might try taking him on a perch in the bathroom while you shower. If he seems comfortable with it, see if he wants to sit on the shower curtain rod. My ekkie started there, and launched himself on to me to get near the spray. He doesn't like direct spray though, only what bounces off my shoulders at him. They have a shower perch on the opposite side from the shower head.

Travel cage, I'd try to get him comfortable going in and out well before taking him to the vet in it. Car rides, walks, whatever to associate it with good things, not "oh geez, every time I go in there, it's a stressful trip to the vet!"

Curious who you use for an avian vet. Choices here in Maine are pretty limited.

Hope some of this helps. Please keep us updated!
 

chris-md

Well-known member
Feb 6, 2010
4,073
597
Maryland - USA
Parrots
Parker - male Eclectus

Aphrodite - red throated conure (RIP)
Fantastic advice above, spot on. Dominance is not a thing in the parrot world. It’s simply down to “will my bird bite me?” My Ekkie does not have shoulder privileges.

play with methods of bathing: shallow trays, spray bottles, showers, hoses on mist setting. See if any methods stimulate your bird. If not, there are YouTube videos on how to train a bird to tolerate bathing.
 

Scott

Moderator
Staff member
Super Moderator
Aug 21, 2010
31,666
4,514
San Diego, California USA, Earth, Milky Way Galaxy
Parrots
Goffins: Gabby, Abby, Squeaky, Peanut, Popcorn / Citron: Alice / Eclectus: Angel /Timneh Grey: ET / Blue Fronted Amazon: Gonzo /

RIP Gandalf and Big Bird, you are missed.
Welcome to you and Orinoco, gorgeous pics!! Deep respect for hospice work and adopting this beautiful boy!!

Superb advice above, as stated shoulder privileges are earned based on mutual trust. My technique for introducing bathing utilizes a new "Dollar Store" spray bottle. Fill with warm water, adjust nozzle for fine mist. Introduce by offsetting bottle and spraying upward, allowing droplets to fall somewhat naturally. If Orinoco tolerates, gradually adjust for course flow with greater volume. Once conditioned, conventional showers an excellent source of water, you'll find portable perches with suction cups for great utility.
 
OP
O

OrrinocosMom

Member
Jul 29, 2021
14
Media
4
Albums
1
45
New England
Parrots
Orrinoco The Pirate
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #6
Wow - thank you everyone for the helpful and thoughtful advice. We have been through some stuff here - a huge flood in the basement and about 1/4 of belongings ruined...still looking for someone with an excavator to build a ditch before next huge downpour... anyway, Orinoco, along with my three dogs and self and partner have been a bit traumatized, exhausted, stressed. Orinoco lost a bunch of feathers and is growing more; he has been bitchy and demanding and kind of pissed off and bitey. I am patient as we are all kind of feeling this way. But it is hard not to take it personally... he does not want to step up, but will do so for banana chips (his fave) or peanuts, then bobs his head, makes his pupils small and gently bites by head or arm but definitley saying "put me TF back on my cage roof you jerk"... which of course I do, slowly and gently. Sometimes when he sees me coming he backs up away from me, so I either back up as well, or gently stay still until he relaxes. (This happens even when I am bringing him his breakfast.)

It makes me sad as I love him so much and wish I could pet him (even when he feels like sitting on my arm, no head scratching or touching allowed.) I am being patient but have a few more Q's. One is this: THough he will sometimes want to step up onto my arm, and will go to my shoulder, he is fearful of HANDS. He has never stepped up onto my hand - he will take yummy stuff from my hand but then wants it to go away. He also wont stand on my forearm unless I hold it up at chest level. Any thoughts on this?

Also, I learned he is not 20 but 31 years old.

I forgot who asked, but the avian vet we are planning to see (next week, actually, assuming I can get Orinoco to go in his travel cage)is at River Road Veterinary Hospital in Orrington, ME. https://riverroadvet.com/service/avian-care/ I have not met them yet - just saw they had an avian vet so can see my dogs AND bird and am giving them a try.

I want my bird to be happy. Hope all of our stress calms down soon.
 

wrench13

Supporting Member
Nov 22, 2015
8,293
Media
12
Albums
2
1,781
Isle of Long, NY
Parrots
Yellow Shoulder Amazon, Salty
SO much good information from our good members! I agree with it all. Spray bottles sometimes have colored tips, which can frighten a given parrot, so if he doesnt like the spray bottle, try covering the tip or switching it to another. Keep him warm or in a warm spot after showers, just like a baby they can get chilled when wet.

Try starting to train with Orinoco, simple things like spinning in place or waving hello, stuff like that. You might be able to progress to speaking on command . One on one training is a great way to build trust and bond with a parrot. The more you train, the more he will become attuned to you and vice versa. I wouldnt use peanuts for anything, they can harbor a mold that is dangerous to parrots. Try alternates until you figure out his very favorite and use that for training only.

Blue and Golds are my favorite macaws, so I will be reading the progress with 'Pirate' closely.
 

AmyMyBlueFront

Supporting Member
Apr 14, 2015
6,203
Media
4
1,047
Connecticut
Parrots
Amy a Blue Front 'Zon
Jonesy a Goffins 'Too who had to be rehomed :-(

And a Normal Grey Cockatiel named BB who came home with me on 5/20/2016.
I don't have any experience with Mac's but love them just the same,I've met a couple at the vet,very intimidating!
My 31 y.o. Amazon doesn't fly either. He was 4 months old when he came home with me and was still wearing his baby clothes (feathers). Since he was going to be my co-driver in my tractor trailer I kept clipping his sleeves (arm/wing feathers) and I'd take him out everywhere I went to socialize him so he got used to me totting him around and didn't care or want to try flying. Now we do flap flap lessons where he perches on his carry-me-around perch and I move it in a manner to make him extend and flap his arms. Hr'll do it for a few minutes then flip upside down and wiggle his arms while looking goofy at me...clearly a game to him. One time I held him over a pillow on my bed and told him at the count of three I was letting go so you better flap! I let go of the perch as he held on tight and went POOF on the pillow,rolling over and getting up with a look of "What just happened??" or "why'd you do that Dad??"

He has shoulder priveledge's when in the car. He loves adventures,is a totally different bird. Gently nibbles my earlobe,preens my beard,pulla my sunglasses off and throws them on the floor,even mumbles in Amazon Speak in my ear...one time he yelled HELLO in my ear! He demanded head scratche's while yelling SCRATCH as I drove. Now these are word I have said over the years but not specifically to him to learn,he just picked up on them and used them in context.

Going to his CAV I bring a small cat/small dog sized carrier. He doesn't get into it until we are at the vet. He hangs upside down from the front grate mumbling his displeasure then I let him out once inside where he either sits atop the carrier or my shoulder greeting clients as they bring in their birdies or kitty's or doggo's

You need to remember "Pirate" has just been taken from a home he has been used to for so long. Granted it wasn't the BEST of situation but it WAS home. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking him in. It is clear to me that he is now in a much better place with people who actually care about his well being. With your love and patients and interacting with him on a daily basis I bet in no time he'll show you his appreciation by being the coolest B&G around.

Please keep us informed..and BTW PICTURES are a requirement here!!! (hint hint)

Jim
 

Most Reactions

Latest posts

Top