Thursday, January 14, 2010

Behavior Predictability

I had an interesting experience this evening....

Upon arriving home from work, I began my usual business of cleaning the budgie fort. However, I was not wearing my glasses.

(It would have been nice to have them on, and I cannot see close up without them, but I didn't feel like going to get them.)

Ok - yes I resent needing glasses. All my life I've been blind as a bat at a distance. The thing about aging is that not only am I still blind as a bat from a distance, but now I am also equally blind close up. Did any of us, before reaching this age, ever think that we would be standing in line to get a pair of bifocals that only "old people" used to wear?

Back to the budgie fort cleaning... sans glasses...

There I was with my entire upper body inside the fort, cleaning, sweeping, moving dishes, and making my share of noise. I assumed the budgies were at the opposite end since no one had flown past my face, landed on my head, or chewed on my shirt.

Suddenly something caught my attention from the corner of my good, blind eye....

As I was leaning over sweeping the floor, it was then that I realized Strider was on his swing - - about 4 inches from my face! It took me quite by surprise, as he sat calmly looking at me (perhaps wondering how long it would take me to....)

There we were, literally eye to eye. Naturally, Strider knows he can move or fly away whenever he chooses. I believe that imparts a great deal of confidence and empowerment, as does the ability to predict my behavior.

While my routine often changes, my behavior is quite predictable. Therein lies a distinction with a difference. When I clean the budgie fort, I carry out the task in the same manner. However, it could be morning, afternoon or evening depending on the day of the week, my schedule, vacations, sick days, etc.

I believe the budgies have learned, through this daily experience, the purpose for my being in their area, what I will be doing, how I will be doing it, how long I will be doing it... and even perhaps more vital - - - what I will not be doing. I will not be grabbing them or demanding interaction, sticking a finger in their belly and sternly telling them to step up, etc. etc.

They do receive treats occasionally or a bathing bowl when I am finished.

Strider's ability to predict my behavior, what he has learned happens (or does not happen) when I am cleaning his cage, and what he has come to experience during these times enabled him to be comfortable remaining on his perch with complete ease despite my being very close to him and making a great deal of noise.

He's such a little sweetie... I'll never regret climbing that tree (although at my age it is probably not recommended)... !!!


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