We've hit a standstill...


New member
Mar 31, 2015
Pennsylvania, USA
Gcc- Conlan... Sun Conure- Mouse...Jenday- Kellan... RLA- Happy...B&G Macaw- Rhage
So the RLA that I rescued, she was given to me by a friend who got her from an acquaintance, and I have hit a wall.

Happy, is 20 years old and was pretty much left to her own devices for about 5 years. Finally after being left in an apartment with no electricity or heat for 3 days in January my friend took her in and have her to me since she didn't have time to work with her.

While she's becoming comfortable climbing in and out of her cage, and after some fuss will step up (on a towel because I still don't trust her) and loves me to scratch her neck....

BUT, it turns out she has major cataracts in both eyes and had limited sight, relying on light more than anything. This has made working with her hard.

She'll still try to grab me if I ask for step up the first time but then will lift her foot as a signal she's ready to step up. It's been over a month and she hasn't made any more progress and I'm at a loss with her. She seemed to be doing will but won't get any better. Once she's out she'll sit on my lap and fall asleep but it's handling her that's a problem.

I have no clue how to proceed, and she is at my place in a trial basis. If we bond she will stay, if I can get her better she may be placed with an adoption agency, or if not she'll go back to my friends and become a cage display and only have interaction at feeding time. I'd feel bad.

Any tips on how to deal with this? I've never dealt with a blind bird, let alone an aggressive/not humanized well Amazon. I'm lost here:confused::(


New member
Apr 9, 2016
Gracie - CAG | Rookie - BRHP
It's awesome you are trying to help her out & hopefully with time and patience you'll gain her trust. I have zero Amazon experience but I'm sure others will chime in with some great tips. My CAG wasn't/isn't blind but her eyesight was super bad due to no light for a year (no sunlight ever) & a really bad diet I noticed she'd try and feel her way around the cage and areas with her feet before stepping.

What worked for me to stop her instinctively biting out / holding on I think was a soft clucking/clicking sound I would make as I approached and opened the cage.. i would do it when I asked for step up too. She seemed much more relaxed with sounds vs. words then I graduated to a combination of both. The last week she makes that same sound when she wants me to pick her up. I couldn't use a towel since she had been previously toweled a lot to be "tamed" and has a huge fear of them. I did take a couple of nasty bites in the beginning before we figured it all out.

Good luck ..I know you'll get there with her.
Apr 3, 2013
I agree with the above advice. Use sound (ie use the same word or a clicker) every time for your bird to step up. Reward with treats. Relying on sound will help to overcome the visual deficit and positive reinforcement will lead to positive associations with the experience.


New member
Mar 27, 2014
Buddy - Red Crowned Amazon (27 yo)
Venus - Solomon Island Eclectus (4 yo)
Buzz CAG (2 yo)
Sam - Cockatiel 1997 - 2004
Tweety - Budgie 1984 - 1987
Sweety - Budgie 1985 - 1986
I agree with the advise you've received, but I want to point out the fact that if your Amazon falls asleep in your lap, that's serious trust, especially with limited eye sight. Mine loves me to the ends but won't do that (ok maybe he doesn't love me that much, lol). I agree with positive sound respondences.

My Amazon was 24yo when I took him in, he's now 26. I am STILL working with him and learning about what he knows and can do. Be patient with him. Crust me it's an enjoyable ride.c in the last three weeks my Amazon has started "meowing". The adventures never end, lol.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


New member
Mar 31, 2015
Pennsylvania, USA
Gcc- Conlan... Sun Conure- Mouse...Jenday- Kellan... RLA- Happy...B&G Macaw- Rhage
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #5
Ha-ha. Happy hates dogs but is starting to bark one lol. She is also trying to mimic my whistle :)


Supporting Member
Jul 10, 2015
Western, Michigan
DYH Amazon
You are not at a standstill. However, if you continue to believe that you are, you will be! For it is you not her that is standing still.

Start with the understanding that your Amazon is BLIND. Now, base everything around that reality and you will quickly find ways of opening doors that you believe are closed. Also, close your eyes and spend the next two hours moving around your home. Learn what you need to understand and know too safely guide yourself. She will need your help in a like manner. Sight is the foundation of a Bird's understanding of the world around her. If you did in fact follow my request of closing your eyes, you will get a feeling of what her world is like!

You need to work with her based on her world's reality. Whenever you are around, only good things happen and that everything has a light sound or specific word that you use to alert her. You are her eyes!

Web Search Handicapped Parrots and look for those that are blind. There are tons of support out there and here. The time and love you put into this will be returned many times over. Ask a parent of a Special Needs Child if they would be willing give them up. Parents of Special Needs Parrots are no different. The only difference is that choice you now make. I have chosen this road and have been blessed many times over. It really comes down to whether you are self-driven or other-driven.

Contact your Avian Vet and get a recommendation for a vision specialist.
Last edited:


Active member
Jan 28, 2016
Based on my experience the advice to use sound is right on the money. My lilac crowned also has vision problems and it's amazing to see her posture soften up when I speak to her while approaching the cage or put her on my lap.

Actually, your progress sounds a lot like mine. I used a lot of treats to get her to trust my fingers. It only took a few days after she had not been handled for years but I also think I was just lucky. Someone had treated her well at some point, and I think she slowly started to remember that humans could be ok after all.


New member
Oct 28, 2014
BC, Canada
Yellow-naped Amazon "Sammy"
Love birds (4)
Green-cheeked Conure "Skittles" - now, sadly gone from my life
Blue-Crowned Conure "Tequila"
African Grey "Reno" - sadly, now gone from my life
My Lilac-crowned had major cataracts as well, to the point where he was virtually blind. I took him to a world-renowned parrot vision specialist. She examined his eyes with a microscope, and determined that, although the cataracts were very bad, she could repair them surgically. The surgery was planned about 2 months ahead, and she wanted to see him again a week before the surgery.

Strangely, in the few weeks preceding the surgery, they started to clear up. We took Pauli to see the surgeon again, and she was startled - she had never known cataracts to clear up on their own. We asked if it was possible the cause had been bacteriological, or fungal, or something, but she had taken swabs, etc. & discounted these - they were, without doubt, cataracts.

By the time the surgery time had arrived, his eyes were completely clear and his vision had returned to normal. Unfortunately, we lost him a year later due to gout, but he had vision for the last year of his life. Strange things can happen with parrots...

Most Reactions

Latest posts