Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Spring is in the Air!

... or so they say...

We awoke to an inch of snow this morning accompanied by a bitter, blustery wind. This past Sunday the temperature was 70 degrees, but last night it was 20! These pictures are from mid-March when we had an unusually heavy snowfall, so I guess I should not complain about one inch. And I wouldn't if it were a balmy 70 degrees!

The appearance of daffodils may signal the end of winter, but the arrival of spring in the bird room is marked by hormones! This year, Coco began displaying seasonal changes during the second week of February, while thankfully, there have been no perceptible differences in Sammy and Strider (or this blog might have been about my trips to the psychiatrist!). Finally, the past two days have brought a welcome relief from what has been a particularly intense season for Coco.

Many of my friends with birds have reported the same phenomenon. While no two seasons (or birds) are alike, and changes are experienced by both male and female avians, those of us in relationship with our birds feel the effects as well!

Seasonal changes can be characterized by a bird that is quicker to react or seemingly less tolerant than other times of year. In the wild, we would see these natural changes assuring the perpetuation of the species through the vigilant protection of mates, territories, nests and chicks.

Accordingly, there is a greater likelihood for nips or strains that have the potential to affect the relationship. This is a time to focus awareness on observation, analysis and quick response to what may seem like highly variable body language. It is our sensitivity, or lack thereof, to our bird's heightened emotions that makes the difference.

Things I find helpful:
A fairly consistent routine. Birds benefit from knowing what to expect. The timing of our routine may be different on weekends, but consistency still exists within variation.
  • Create predictable behaviors (in yourself). As examples:
    • The birds receive a treat when I enter the room.
    • The birds receive a treat as I leave the room.
    • When water dishes are collected, Coco rides on my wrist to the kitchen. She knows that she gets to tag along for this activity if she chooses, and she always does!
  • Ensure ample sleep time (a good plan for me too!)
  • Allow for plenty of "hang out" time. We listen to music, and enjoy one another's presence. If they would like more interaction, their body language (or wings) will let me know.
  • Do not take anything personally. Birds operate from a different set of instincts and emotions than people. As examples: if they choose not to interact with me, it is not because they are mad at me, holding a grudge, angry that I came home late, or trying to manipulate me. By not attributing human emotions to birds, it helps reduce the temptation to take things personally.
Naturally, these things are helpful year round!

And one more thing on my spring list: A renewed appreciation of the beauty that surrounds me.


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