Friday, July 17, 2009

Her Needs, Her Needs

Around here, it is all about Coco, Strider, Bucky, and Penske, and always will be! And, I wouldn't have it any other way!

But with the recent move of the computer into the bird room, Barney has been feeling a bit 'left out'.

Actually, he's been pouting. Honestly, he really does pout!
This comes as no surprise to those who recall that his mom's side of the family are basset hounds.
So Coco has been thrilled to see me more of me. She spends a lot of time just watching what I do, and apparently typing, surfing the net and playing computer games can be quite enriching! On the other hand, Barney - not so impressed with the new set up.
To cure what ails him, I put some doggie cheeze whiz in one of the creases of his rawhide. His response?
Mommy who??? Numm-numm.... doggie cheeze whiz....

Yep - pouting was officially over!

Many years ago a relationship book came out entitled, "His Needs, Her Needs". Around Fort Coco, such a book would be titled, "Her Needs, Her Needs"! As the Diva, she holds the title of Most Important Bird in her mind.

"Mom, can you make that little bird stop copying me??!"

When she has needs, especially ones I can fulfill, I view it as my responsibility to fulfill them the best I can. The only question is - how to let me know.

Coco rarely utilizes excessively loud vocalizations. When she does, I have discovered that they serve a specific purpose.
The trick is - me determining what.

When parents bring home a new infant, it can take time before they discern the meaning of various cries. Once they do, they can tell the difference between a fussy-tired cry, a hungry cry, a diaper-dirty cry, etc. That is, the parents can tell. To someone who does not know the baby, it may all seem like - a bunch of crying.

The same has been my experience in living with my birds. While I may not be able to describe the differences between Coco's calls to someone else, when I hear them, I am usually 99% correct on the basis for the call. Even my husband can tell what she needs, most of the time, and is able to fulfill many of them.

Meeting the need means that the call ceases. No sense in continuing to ask for something that has already been provided.

A few typical reasons for Coco's calls are:

1. No food can be found in any of her foraging areas.
2. It is dusk and her curtain has not been closed.
3. There is a hawk or other bird outside within her view (or a squirrel, bear or snake).
Someone is breaking a "Fort Rule" and is somewhere they are "not supposed to be".
5. She has no music, or she has music that she does not care to hear.

She will also call when I first arrive home, and if she does not see me in a reasonable period of time (15 minutes or so), she will call more.

I like that she has the ability to alert me of a need, and also appreciate that once it is fulfilled, Fort life returns to normal.

In the instances of the examples above, her calls usually have a sense of urgency to my ears. Over the years I have learned to distinguish the slight variations in calls.

If possible, I anticipate a need, address it in advance, and avoid her request for assistance. After I discovered that she likes her curtain to be closed at dusk (why - I don't know - but her curtain, her rules)... I close it before dusk if at all possible. On the evenings I arrive home after dark, even her daddy has learned it is best to close the curtain before being asked to close it. Once closed, peace is restored to the kingdom and the world is again in proper order.

In the case of a power failure, the radio will not reset automatically. It plays static... and, well - The Diva does not care for static. Thank you very much! She will loudly alert, incessantly and without taking a breath - until some pion in the kingdom has addressed HRH's need!

Where am I going with what we often call "screaming"?

I may refer to it as excessively loud vocalizations, alerting, or calling, but no matter how you dress it up, it can be a problem if not addressed. It is usually on the list of the top two complaints of those having complaints about companion birds (the other being 'biting').

Since I live in relationship with my birds, and especially Coco (as she tends to be a bit more high maintenance than the others), I need to understand her needs before I can hope to address them. I find that her needs are reasonable and basic.

So, in the near future, I will be doing some posts on this topic - on what this 'calling stuff' looks like, how it works around Fort Coco, and how my relationship with my birds benefits me when it comes to addressing excessively loud vocalizations - the kind that can be heard across the mountain!



Shirley Morgan said...

Robin, I love reading your stories and lessons - I just love how you tell a story - how you teach!
Thank you! :-)

Eriisu-chan said...

My linnie (when the poor thing was still with us, bless his little soul) would only be loud if he was hungry or thirsty (empty bowls didn't happen often, but sometimes he'd finish his food/water at night and wanted more in the morning). He'd chirp and chirp and chirp until I got up to give him fresh water, since water in the bottom of the dish was not acceptable.

Ryan never spoke 'Linnie', but I understood every chirp to a point where I'd open the bedroom door and yell out to Ryan "Could you PLEASE fill his water dish so I can get back to sleep?!". It surprised him every time that I knew exactly what the little birdie was saying. =)

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