Our feathered friends, birdbrains, and wingnuts

bellbird

Sponsor
your thoughts about how fragile they are had me thinking about how I can transfer that gentleness to myself.
Thank you for sharing, @Self-Determined . Reading your post was further encouragement to me to practice transferring that gentleness to myself also.

Most recently I've been noticing how patient I am with Tweeter, and how that patience is a daily occurrence, not just a one-off event.

Like our routine in the morning when I give him fresh seed, and he jumps up on the side of the cage, which is signal that he's ready for me to hand-feed him any of the remaining pellets (his favourite dry food) left in yesterday's seed. I have a tremor, so getting a little pellet in front of a little beak can be a challenge sometimes, but he is so patient with me and so happy just to spend that time bonding with me, and so I practice turning that inward towards myself.

Another of our routines is when I pick a bunch of chickweed from my garden (his favourite fresh food). As soon as he sees me with it, he gets so excited. I'll tell him to "come down" and he'll fly down to the lowest perch in his cage. Pretty much the moment I get my hand through the cage door, he'll jump onto it. And then I'll help him to find all the seed heads in the chickweed, which are his favourite part. I point out the ones he can't see with my other hand, and he'll eat them.

My favourite moment with Tweeter, in recent times, was about a week ago when I was doing a yoga practice in my bedroom. His cage was at the back end of my yoga mat. At one point in the practice, I turned back over my shoulder to look at him. Only to find that he was sitting on his perch so that his chest was facing away from me, but his head was turned back to look at me too.

As I write this, we're both sitting in the lounge. Me on an arm chair. Tweeter on a perch in his cage. We have the windows open and music on. Tweeter is preening himself, which always soothes me. So lucky to have my little buddy to keep me company through this lockdown.
 

gealach

MyPTSD Pro
After living with me for 2 years, today for the first time Cicero took a sunflower seed from my hand.... then he bit me (not too hard) :banghead:... but first, he actually took the seed! He's been watching me do this with Luna in the afternoon before their birdie naps, and finally got brave enough to do it. Good job Buddy!!!!!
 

Self-Determined

MyPTSD Pro
@bellbird and @gealach that is so neat to read the accomplishments you are making with your bird friends!

That reminds me, I read an article about the human-avian bond, which made me realize how deep it can be. (The comments at the end are the best part.)

Tweeter is preening himself, which always soothes me. So lucky to have my little buddy to keep me company through this lockdown.

I feel the preening is soothing too, now that you mention it! Yes we are so lucky to have these little blue gentlemen by our sides. (Did I guess Tweeter’s color right?)
 

Friday

Moderator
The local crows are Sheparding the juveniles out into the great wild world this week. It’s always fun watching them do this, as the little guys shift from being fed, to winging down to get their own food.

ONE of the juveniles seems to be the despair of all of his minders.

He’s just So. Durn. Proud. Of. Himself. :smug: As he’s realized that if he imitates the sound of a cat fight? Everyone else who MIGHT take. his. food.... POOF! Vanishes!!!... How neat a trick is this? Good bye squirrels, little annoying birds, rabbits, raccoons, everyone in earshot just makes for the hills.

What’s super fun -for me- is that he imitates both cats! :hilarious: Starting out with a low throaty growl, answered by a different yowling challenge, and the BANG! The very descriptive sounds of 2 cats beating the stuffing out of each other, interspersed with insults.

It never fails that the adults wing in, but instead of landing next to him to feed him? Land a few feet away, drop their heads, and seem to heave this HUGE head shaking sigh (that boy just ain’t right) before resignedly hopping in closer to feed him.

I have to try so durn hard not to laugh each and every single time this happens. I figure? The adults have enough to deal with, and the kid has quite a talent, even for a species with phenom mimicry / wouldn’t want to inhibit a budding genius practicing his craft.

But. Oh. My. Fawking. Gawd. It cracks me up so hard.
 

Self-Determined

MyPTSD Pro
@Friday that’s amazing! What a great pastime, to watch them! I got to live near colonies of crows about 20 years ago and memories of their playfulness in the wind and evening congregations in parking lot trees stay with me.

So neat how you heard the sound of the cat fight! Regarding mimicry, my parrotlet has been copying speech, but not like I expected. He mimics speech tones, not words, and my mind fills in the words. It’s sweet how he runs through what sounds he’s heard. Sometimes I copy him with what words it sounds like he’s saying. Then he pauses for me to have my turn, listening, then starts up again. His voice is very soft when he’s rumbling through his repertoire, very soothing.

He was with me on the patio when a mockingbird sang overhead in the tree. The mockingbird mimicked many bird calls and alarms and pet bird calls, and even a human calling their dog, I think, it sounded like, “Come ‘ere! Come ‘ere!” The mocking bird was mostly focused on bird songs; the parrotlet is mostly focused on tones of speech.

I would guess crows can focus on all sounds—bird, animal or human—and mimic them. When they communicate with each other I wonder if it’s mostly body language, or if they use vocal language? When the crows would gather in the trees they would call raucously. Made me think of wolves howling, like a way to feel group connection, rather than individual conversations. I wonder if they have special calls for individuals, that they use intimately? What’s it like for crows in their society? Crow society kind of reminds me of monkeys, how they learn to live in close proximity and raid together. They have friends. So smart and adaptable.

Maybe that’s how language started. With special calls for special individuals. Like a name, or a signal of connection. But that’s personal. How would it jump to the abstract? Crows don’t have something like a bee dance—a way to convey abstract thoughts and images to each other through coded sounds or movements, do they? Can they use sounds to tell other crows important information? Or do they not need to talk about food or danger in abstract ways. Maybe they survive well enough without talking about what is outside of their sphere of influence. They are always “in the room.”

Thinking about the minds of birds is a wonderful distraction.
 

Friday

Moderator
When they communicate with each other I wonder if it’s mostly body language, or if they use vocal language?
I’ve been told it’s both.

My cat hangs out with the local crows most days, talking with them for at least several minutes, and sometimes exchanging food. He caws at them, and they caw back. When he got sick last year? The conversations stopped for several days. Until one of the local crows winged down to him on the deck, and purred at him, until he purred back.

Our Pets
Crows have two dialects. One being general population caww and the second is for family which is a clicking sound. Therefore i think the purrr is somewhere near the family tone.

It took TheCat about a week to recover. The entire time, day and night he had 1-3 different “minders” with him on the deck.

I thought it was pretty durn brave of them to stay overnight. We’re at least 2 collection points away from where the Murder roosts. Only about 500-1,000 crows meet up at dusk half a block away (which is also about half a block away, and uphill, from the Eagle tree. There’s usually 3 or 4 crows taking shifts harassing the eagles :hilarious: Crows reeeeally don’t like eagles!). 15,000 crows meet up 2 points further northqq. The skies around here are always goooooorgeous at dawn and dusk as thousands of crows split the lake to fly to/from their appointed neighborhoods.

They’ve stayed overnight once before, but just for one night... Heard a ruckus and found one of the baby/juvenile crows thrashing about / too tired to fly, being yelled at by 2 adult crows... everything getting louder, and more desperate sounding... in the neighbor’s yard, one of those nights it got dark early from bad weather. So I scooped him up, brought himself and his soaking wet feathers into the house & up/outside onto the roofed deck out of the rain (and away from hunting cats/raccoons). His minders winged in a few minutes later. So they were fine/safe but it must have been a nervous night for them, separated from their people.

When I caught the crows spending the night with the cat (I use that deck to smoke / or read, curled up in sleeping bags) I fetched some food for them... but they just scooted it closer to the cat, until I brought out 2 sets of food. I was just like, seriously??? You think I’m not feeding him??? Silly birds. But they wouldn’t touch what I brought for them, until TheCat had his own in front of him. So they stayed all night. And the next night. And the next. And the next. Until TheCat was better. The cat IN the sleeping bag, the crows on top of it. One of those things I wish I could have gotten a picture of, but also didn’t want to scare them away into the darkness. Crows aren’t particularly good flyers at night. I’ve seen them run into trees, more than once, when they’re winging back north late-late-late for whatever reason.
 
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Self-Determined

MyPTSD Pro
Something that feels so nice is when B.B. lets me kiss and snuggle his face. When in the mood, he likes it when I kiss his beak; he holds real still, and I think it might give him emotional memories of being a baby.
 

Self-Determined

MyPTSD Pro
B65E172A-73FD-4EB9-BE5D-F5BB215D7CDC.jpeg
B.B.
 

Self-Determined

MyPTSD Pro
New nickname for B.B. is Justin Beeper.

He has been getting angry on my shoulder lately and attacking my neck. I have been trying to do more preening and interacting with him rather than just taking him out and putting him on my shoulder or on his play areas. Today was a better day for his behavior because I tried to keep talking to and kissing him when he was on my shoulder. And if he started to get in that mood I told him “step up” on my finger and moved him to another place.

I have a tendency to just use body language and mind reading with my animals and he needs me to say the words out loud—talking is validating and rewarding for him.

I noticed that wild hummingbirds will hover around me longer if I talk out loud to them. It’s like if I’m silent I might be hunting them or preying.

I remember when my younger son took longer to talk I found out that in some native tribes when a baby took a long time to talk they asked for help from the meadowlark, a yellow bird with a beautiful melodious song.

Birds can help humans with talking. This is what is comforting me tonight, a gentle distraction.
 

Self-Determined

MyPTSD Pro
My bird was so kissy today. He wanted to keep kissing for a while. He looked so proud and happy. Sweetness.

Those islands of love in a sea of difficult situations are like vitamins for my heart.
 
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