Thank you Nicki!

March 28, 2008

What a good girl she is!!! For those who don’t know her, Babe was a bit “challenging” while at the Rescue. She did not like most women and would not hesitate to bite one if the opportunity presented itself. And, sometimes, she would make her own opportunity. With the exception of a few of the men, Babe really was not the sort of bird that you would go over and pet, much less pick up. And, truthfully, Babe really never liked ME at all. She would go out of her way to show me that, if I came too close, I would be sorry. But – now? Honestly, Babe is the best-behaved bird in our house!

She never gets off her cage, so she is allowed total freedom to be in or on top as she wishes. She never bites and LOVES to cuddle and play. She steps up willingly and enjoys one-on-one time with me. She regularly spends time on my shoulder, a privilege only granted to birds that I completely trust.

How did this happen? Time and patience. When Babe first came to live with us I really could not get near her. I was the one who fed and watered her everyday but never approached her or tried to touch her, etc. Ever day, in the early evening I would go into the room her cage was in and sit down in a chair. I would stay in there for about 20-30 minutes and just talk to her. At first, she just looked at me, but after a couple of weeks, she began to talk back. She would tell me that she was a good girl… and ask me “what’s the matter?”

After a couple of weeks of that, she began to allow me to come closer to her, and occasionally pet her on the foot. We then progressed to the head… woohoo!! I was ecstatic!! Then – the back. But – I was always very tentative with her, because, well, you know how hard Amazons can bite….

If I would give her my arm for a step up (carefully layered in sweatshirts, of course) she would take a swipe at it, never really bite it, but it was certainly enough to scare me off. One day, after we were both comfortable with me petting her, I got a bit closer to allow her to put her head on my shoulder… she climbed on!! I was both very happy and very scared. I was not sure what she was going to do. She sat on my shoulder and looked at me like “ok, where are we going to go?” So – I began (very carefully, LOL) walking around the house with her, talking to her, looking out windows, etc. After our time together, I would bend down by her cage and she would climb back on.

After about a week of this, she began stepping up willingly, pretty much anytime I asked. She enjoyed spending time with me, sitting on my shoulder as I worked or did household stuff. She extended me a bit of trust, I extended her a bit, she extended a bit more, I extended a bit more. Little by little, we began to trust one another.

One Sunday afternoon I was sitting on the couch, reading the newspaper. Babe was on my shoulder and began biting my neck (no pressure whatsoever exerted on her part, but I was still scared… since she had never done this). She kept doing it, than climbed down the back of the couch, so she was between me and the cushions. I turned around to look at her, she was lying on her back. I was like “Oh my gosh, I’ve killed her!!” I gently nudged her onto her feet, she rolled right back over and began to grab at my fingers and laugh. She wanted to PLAY??? I was really not sure how to play with an Amazon, but…. Turns out, the light bites on the neck mean… “I want to play!”

From that day on, Babe has been a complete doll. Never bites, loves to hang out and play or just sit quietly on her perch in my office while I work. She is a joy to foster and incredibly entertaining.

So – what does Babe need in a permanent home? Firstly, a person who is willing to commit the time that it takes to build trust with her. Because once she bonds, she bonds very strongly and becomes an extremely gentle girl. She is perfectly to content to spend the day quietly either in or on top of her cage, with cartoons for company. So, someone who works full-time would be fine for her. During the evening she loves to spend family time, eating dinner, playing and being petted. She does not mind in the least other birds…. EXCEPT for other Amazons. She does not like them and will get aggressive. Otherwise, she does not mind big or small birds and never exhibits any agression towards them, even if one lands on her cage. She is quiet, so would be fine living in an apartment.

Babe is an excellent companion and has a lot of love to give to a special person. She just needs someone who is willing to commit to their relationship. I promise, once committed, Babe is truly an amazing girl.