Sunday, October 10, 2010

I Always Stay Put...

Of course I always stay in my fort when mom is not looking.....


I am fortunate that over the years, Coco has learned to stay in her fort (for the most part) when I am not in the room.

When I enter the room, that is usually a cue for her to head down the ladder or fly to the corner of the room for play time. However, when I leave the room, she immediately heads back. It was not necessarily something I 'trained' her to do, but something that became part of our routine. Initially, of course, she was well rewarded for returning to her cage-free area. Now it is simply habit for lack of a better word.

I began keeping her in varying degrees of a cage-free environment when she was less than 6 months old depending upon the circumstances of our home. Even during the times when she had a cage large enough for me to stand inside and close the door, her door always remained open - day and night. She did learn to return to the inside of the cage for a treat, a skill that came in quite handy for me.

She has now lived in the fort my husband built her for about 3 years. I wouldn't have it any other way, and I think she would agree. I am so happy we created it for her, and the budgie fort, and even more pleased that these have inspired many of my readers to build similar spaces for their birds.

The unobstructed view is only one of the benefits:
Even when it is not feasible to provide a completely cage-free environment for a bird, every little bit of freedom creates opportunities for enrichment, empowerment, foraging and more.Coco spends a great deal of time foraging for food during the day:
In addition to foraging, other activities include watching and listening to the budgie-boys and observing the mountain wildlife through the sliding glass doors.

Of course, she can also lap the room if she chooses (and does)!

Check this out... one of the remnants of an earlier lap this week. An amazon parrot's secondary flight feathers are a beautiful navy blue with red edging:

Fortunately, these are normally the only souvenirs she leaves me. She is good about returning to the fort to relieve herself.

During the years of fort living, there has been only one instance of unapproved chewing. That was last year when she chewed on the door jamb. As you recall, the fort-maker left the door ajar, and it was simply too much to resist. We have since placed pieces of wood around that area to prevent any further episodes.

She has not (yet) chewed any of the many other items of wood and furniture that she can easily access. Since these items are in her space, it is my bad if there is anything that would cause me upset if she chose to destroy it.

I don't know about where you live, but here it is shaping up to be a beautiful fall! Coco's molt is now complete. Fingers are crossed that the budgie-boys will be finished soon as well.

With the onset of the cooler fall evenings, many begin to turn on the heat. This can trigger hormonal fluctuations in many birds. Naturally, this does not mean we should not provide heat! But it does cause me to consider the variation between day and evening temperatures, and ensure that there is a variation with the emphasis on cooler evenings. My goal is to have bird room temperatures that range 15 to 20 degrees between the daytime and the cooler evenings.

In the fall and winter, the average day temperatures in the bird room
range between 75 and 80 as the room naturally warms when the sun shines through the glass doors. Once the sun sets, the room begins to cool. If needed, I turn on the electric ceiling heater to remove any chill from the room and to ensure a steady temperature as close to 60 degrees farenheit as possible.
This winter, I will certainly rest easier having the generator in place. While we managed exceptionally well during the 3-day power outage last Christmas, I have no desire to repeat that experience! I apparently acclimated the birds to the cooler temperatures better than myself!



louara said...

Such a beautiful room you have Robin. It must be hard to leave it once you are in it! Looks to me like Coco would like to get into the knitting you placed on the table. She would have some fun with that!
I agree that the more outside time a pet bird has, the healthier and happier they are. Gracie-Mae is the first budgie I've owned that spends most of her day outside, if I am home all day, she will only go inside the cage to sleep. She is very healthy and super happy all the time because of it.
The days are getting shorter and my heat has been turned on at night-sigh-summer is over....
No hormonal momemts yet, but I better get ready for it eh?

louara said...

and good job on getting a generator. You'll sleep better just knowing it's there.

Robin Cherkas said...

Gracie-Mae is so beautiful and one lucky budgie girl! You may not see any hormonal changes in her; I do think it varies from year to year and depends upon environment. I know with Coco some years seem like a breeze while others are more challenging. Thanks for your kind comments, and oh yeah... she would love to get her beak on my knitting. Especially those wooden needles! lol!

Arlene said...

Coco is one of the luckiest birds. I think that when you're in the room she just wants to join in on whatever you're doing and spend quality time with you. Then she goes back to her fort for her quiet time until you come back.

I never have a problem with the room temperature but I'm sure it's a different story where you live.

Great pictures too. I love the tell-tale feather just lying there.
You're all set for winter. I hope it's not going to be a bad one in the mountains of NC. But you do live in one of the most beautiful spots in the country.

Robin Cherkas said...

Hey, Arlene - perhaps I should try to teach her to work on my knitting for me while I'm gone! lol! She does like hanging out time, you are right about that. In fact, I had drafted up a blog post about quiet communication... the type of communication (communing) that we do with our birds when no words are spoken and even body language is sparse. Just hanging out time - very good for both us and the birds!

louara said...

Yes it is great therapy for me when Gracie-Mae and I just hang out. We had a full day together this past Monday-just us girls. We sang and played and danced all day long! A real stress buster for both of us.
I'm a great believer in planning "dates" with your pets-I look forward to reading your article.

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