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Old 11-04-2016, 12:10 AM
lbeckman (Leah)
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Talking Poppy!



Poppy: incredibly lovable and irrepressible. I always wanted a second cockatiel, so that's why he's a planned "foster fail". The only question is how well he and Simon will get along.

I wrote a bit about Poppy in another thread. He was found outside and made his way to a person who kept him during his quarantine period. He spent a few day with the head of the rescue and then came to me. I thought the person who had kept him during his quarantine was unimaginative to name him "Poppy" until one morning when I uncovered his cage and he said "I Poppy, Poppy, Poppy, Poppy." I had already felt sad that he and his family had lost each other and after we exchanged "Poppy, Poppy, Poppy, Poppy" back and forth some, I felt even sadder about it. Even though I had been assured that a thorough search for his former family had been done, postings been made, etc., I went on line and did another search. Nothing.

It's pretty clear that Poppy was the only bird in the family; he is very people oriented. He's the opposite of the other birds in my house in that he's more comfortable with people, and is gradually becoming more comfortable with other birds. Everybody who has met Poppy adores him, including Simon who more or less follows him around. Simon has also learned to do a whistling version of "Poppy, Poppy, Poppy, Poppy".

Then one day... Poppy attacked my son. Twice. William had handled him a lot before--and has since as well. We think we figured out what set him off and have been careful not to duplicate it. (Poppy was sitting with with me, I was stretched out reading, so William was leaning over him when he reached down to offer Poppy a scritch.) The same day, he preened Simon for the first time, but he also stepped on Simon's neck. To Poppy's credit, he has figured out that stepping on Simon is not something he should do and it's a little hysterical watching him stop himself: foot starts to come up, foot goes down, foot starts to come up, foot goes down....

There are a lot of other little, uhm, questionable behaviors. He discovered that yes, he can remove the keys from my keyboard. Fair enough, many parrots have made the same discovery. He throws little fits, however, when I prevent him from removing more. And is very slow to take no for an answer. At the same time, he remains quite lovable. Really, who could resist a cockatiel sitting on your shoulder, gently "preening" you, then beak grinding as he settles in for a nap? We're beginning to develop little games. He flies onto my head (another questionable behavior, but I've decided to accept it), I nod, he takes a lap around the room, lands on my head, I nod, etc.

It has occurred to me that he might have been too much for somebody and that might be why we couldn't find his previous owner, which is also sad. I would know exactly what to do if he were a dog, but he is not! My plan is to start clicker training him this weekend. I also need to be creative about coming up with activities for him to do while near me but not always on me (and trying to remove the computer keys ). I'm also hoping that as he and Simon become buddies it will help him become a bit more balanced--Simon might teach him some manners.

If anybody has suggests for dealing with a somewhat pushy cockatiel, let me know!