Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Tuesday-6:00pm

I am having a problem with Miss Gracie. She will not stay off of the bookcase. She poops all down the front of it and chews on the wood if she sneaks up there. First I removed the runner, thinking she was using that to climb up there--but she still flapped and jumped over. Then I stacked some things to keep her off--she still managed to get over to the bookcase!

I had to turn her cage away from the bookcase for now (she is clipped)--until I can think of something else. I can't leave it like this--makes it difficult to reach her water dish on the one side.

It was uncomfortably hot yesterday--88 degrees and wind gusts to 45 mph. Literally shook the floor of the apartment! I had three hours of sleep again and was just exhausted. Gracie started screeching and wouldn't stop until I got up. She doesn't usually do that, either. I was very fed up with her, to say the least, yesterday.
The story of Miss Gracie may explain a little of my frustration. I purchased a hand-fed baby cockatiel from a pet shop in north Moorhead. That baby was totally neurotic! I had never seen anything like it! (And I worked in pet shops for years.) It did nothing but pace and pace. Wouldn't eat. Screeched if you came near it. Screeched if you moved to get up out of a chair from across the room. Screeched for no reason. This went on for five days--I had called the pet shop twice--and finally took the bird back. I was afraid it would die from not eating hardly anything and stress. I have had a lot of birds--even abused and neglected birds--and had never had one that acted mentally ill like that baby bird. And it was supposed to be a hand-fed baby???
Birds can go kind of insane and pace all day and pluck their own feathers out, etc. I have tamed birds that bit the heck out of me at first. It is not like I don't have some knowledge about emotionally damaged birds--but this baby was beyond connecting with. I spent hours in the same room reading just to get it used to me just being there and not being a threat--nothing changed and the bird just paced and screamed. But--the baby got put back with its nest mates and it was content as could be. ??
I had to wait a couple of months for another batch of hand-fed babies--which the owner of the pet shop assured me was not from the same breeder. That is how I got Miss Gracie. But she has never been "right" either. I honestly have always believed that she probably came from the same breeder. She has never liked people. She has always threatened me and anyone who comes near her. After all these years--the only feriendly thing she will do is if people come up to her with their hands down at their sides and talk to her, she will come up and look at you and likes the attention for a few minutes. But make a move or try to put a hand near her--and she screeches and threatens to bite you and runs for the hills! She has never, ever been a sociable bird to humans. She prefers her mirrors and the company of her mirror "boyfriend". When she gets too nasty to me (biting), my only recourse is to remove her mirrors. That just makes her more insecure and less aggressive (biting) for a while. She gets highly stressed and nervous without her mirrors. But--the poor thing--her only happiness is her mirrors. She only really likes other birds.
And--no--I didn't always let her have a mirror from the beginning. I have never left mirrors with any of my other birds because they can get too attached to them. I didn't even have any around. But, because of the way the other strange little baby had acted--so relieved when it was finally back with other birds--I finally put up a wall mirror behind her cage to see what would happen to the miserable little bird. She was happy--for the first time since I had gotten her. It is her only joy in life.
Recently she has bitten me a couple of times. Usually she tolerates me picking her up to go to bed if she is really tired--gripping my finger in fear as I move her into the cage. Trying to get her into the cage at any other time--80% of the time you have to chase her off the cage and then she will let you pick her up off the floor or wherever she lands--gripping hard with her little feet. Many times she flies off one or two times before you get her to the cage, too. She SO dislikes hands. And you get her inside the cage and she turns with a little screech and a beak jab in the air in your finger's direction. That is my Miss Gracie. I have always felt very sorry for her and tried to make her life as pleasant as it can be--but when she starts the screeching and pacing.......she gets on my last nerve!
I have thought many times of buying another cockatiel for company for her--but I could be doubling my troubles. I sleep crazy hours and at least Gracie has usually been good about waiting till I got up--like all my birds have been--before she started hollering at me. She tends to be screechy all day. Every time I move--get up from a chair--she screeches. I have had cockatiels before--even hand-raised babies myself for a while. I have never had one that screeches in such a distressed manner--all the time--every day--for what is it now--six years? She occasionally chit-chats and sings to her boyfriend in the mirror--and it is such a joy to hear. She is such a basically unhappy little bird.
I am seriously thinking of searching for a place for her. Someplace where she can be with other birds all the time. She'd be in seventh heaven! Someplace where they don't plan on having a friendly bird--a pet, you know? I wish I could find a place that had an avairy -- like they have sometimes in senior buildings. Trouble is, they usually have finches in those (so much quieter--hehe!).
But--knowing the background--I don't think it would be a good idea to breed her...??? I'd be afraid she'd have neurotic little pacing, screeching, anti-social babies. :(
Miss Gracie. She is doing her constant, screechy, eeping behind me. She is confused as to why the cage is turned sideways. I have to keep telling her, "You're okay, Gracie. You're okay."

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