Saturday, January 15, 2011

Coco, Meet PigPen!

The sun has been an infrequent visitor to the mountains as of late, instead being overshadowed by Mr. Snow. But this morning was an exception. The sun shone brightly as I entered the bird room, and Coco greeted me with a happy, full body shake. As I gazed across the room toward her, I could clearly see she was encircled in a shroud of bird dust! Oh, my gosh - shades of PigPen from Peanuts came to mind!

Time to see if she was at all interested in a bath! While I would like her to have one, it is still her choice. I prefer not to mist her in the bird room, if I can avoid it. If I were to mist her in the birdroom, before she became sufficiently wet I would have to stop to build an ark to get the budgies to safety!

So I brought the mister into the room just to see if I could pique her interest, if even a little... and then hoping that this would encourage her to desire a regular shower-bath.

Then I reached for the treat cup to see if she was interested in taking a trip to the bathroom. I had previously heated it up, including warming the cold porcelain tub, in hopes of a positive reaction.

As we walked into the bathroom, and I lowered my arm into the tub, I watched her carefully. If she is not interested in taking a bath, she will start walking up my arm toward my shoulder. Otherwise, she will step down off my arm into the tub.

If she starts walking up my arm, I may wait a minute and give her a second chance. But if she doesn't step into the tub the second time, only a fool would try it a third time!

Fortunately (whew!) she stepped down immediately! She was as anxious to take a shower as I was to see the dust cloud in the birdroom settle.

She showered for about 15 minutes, and probably would have stayed for hours if I had let her. It can be tricky knowing the best time to call bathtime complete. I will watch her to see when she is showing less interest, walking away from the water stream more often or maybe starting to preen a little.
Because she knows it is an opportunity to receive a treat, she also looks forward to coming out of the bathtub. As she steps onto my arm, the treat cup is there for her to take a little bite if she wants (and she usually wants!) as we walk back to the bird room. Then she can spend several hours busily zipping her wet feathers... Doesn't she look beautiful all cleaned and dried!

Eventually it will be time to get back to shredding activities! She continues to be so fabulous in behavior. Last night she took food from my husband's hand twice (with me in the room), and this morning he was in the room alone with her and she gently took several sunflower seeds from him! She has a mission and a project (and, taking it quite seriously, I might add!), and is in a wonderful birdie frame of mind. The more relaxed she is, the happier I am. Then she picks up on my happiness and relaxes even further... and so on and so on it goes. It is wonderful to see her project as it progresses....

Time to look for a new cardboard box, already!



Michelle said...

I am so impressed at how you maintain your birds without cages. Coco is indeed a beautiful bird and how proud she looks after her bath!

Robin Cherkas said...

Aww - thanks Michelle! And, Coco says thanks also - she is such a Diva! The budgies do live in their very large fort, but Coco has lived cagefree for the majority of her 15 years. She has had her fort now for awhile - 4 years or so? Seems like forever. It was the best money we ever spent on wood! :)

Arlene said...

I need sunglasses to look at her. :D
Coco you look beautiful.

Would she want a new cardboard box? She knows there is nothing wrong with the old one. ;)

Robin Cherkas said...

So true, Arlene - lol! Actually, I found a box and took it into her this evening. I showed it to her, and she lifted her foot in the way that she lifts her foot when I have food that she wants or when she wants me to approach. That sign language I taught her has come in handy many times! So I took it over to her, she beaked it a little, I put it in her box, and she ran over and began preening it - lol! I'm going to have to remove some of the shreds at some point, as it is getting very thick in there! :D

louara said...

I bet she really appreciated that bath she has been working so hard on her project! She looks so pretty, her colours are so vibrant.
So great that you found this project for her, it really has made all of you very happy!

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