21 September 2010

Sprite Rides Again

Sprite and Lennon enjoyed a cross-town ride this week to theirs and Ms. Flock Advisor's new living quarters. It was a minor change in address, but Sprite was upgraded to a new travel cage for the journey. He made the short hop riding shotgun with me while perched in his new "cage fit for a conure." He now has room to stretch his wings and climb up high where he can supervise passing traffic. Once in his new surroundings, he was slightly hesitant to leave the smaller travel cage, but Ms. Flock Advisor sweetened the deal with some Nutri-berries. Later she visited a local bird store (yes, its an awesome one) and loaded him up with some deliciously destructible toys.

Lennon took to the air immediately in the new place, navigating with daring and precision. He has been testing, and apparently approves, the acoustics. He even took the time to ham it up in some "Lennon Noir" shots. The little guy has shown an unbelievable willingness to adapt to new surroundings through this first two years of his life.

Cher and Coconut are still doing great here on the east coast. Coconut is expanding his skills with the target stick daily. My current goal is to continue working him toward following it out of the cage and toward me. Then I plan to work on his stepping-up on my hand with a cue. I really love seeing his comfort level with me improve with each session. 6 months ago I could not have opened his cage door without him going bananas, forget eating from my hand. It is wonderful to see how much he has progressed. One side-effect of the training sessions that I haven't seen yet is his picking up human sound mimics. My hope is that with the increased one-on-one interaction that we are having, he will start to pick up on phrases that I say often (especially because they are paired with the positivity of the "game" and the treats). He hasn't yet, but loyal followers of this little blog will be the first to know. Budgies (a.k.a. "pet shop parakeets") are one of the best mimicking species of parrot. I have heard them mumble whole sentences with eerie precision.

Cher is spending long hours in the home-office with me these days as I plow through piles of literature, and write a little here and there. She makes a great work companion as she is more than content to do her preening and occasionally mimic the tapping of the keyboard. She also stands excellent watch and alarm calls at any soaring hawk or vulture that might come through the window and snatch us both up. I cannot convince her, however, that Ospreys are fish-eaters.

A book give-away at the library last week yielded me Domestic Rabbit Biology and Production, a title published by The University Presses of Florida, Gainesville ca. 1976. The book has some very interesting information about rabbit health, so Kenobi stands to benefit from that. What the book also provides is proof to Kenobi that he is much better off where he is than as a lagomorph in the hands of mid-seventies UF students. I am yet to try the rabbit hypnosis technique outlined in the book, but again, I'll keep you posted.

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