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Luxie (“LOOX-ee”), F, hatched 9/7/2021
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Discussion Starter · #64 ·
Hi all. I’ve been very busy and tired, so haven’t been around here much. Luxie seems well, though :) She now plays fairly regularly on top of her cage (though in part because I put her up there after breakfast). She has learned how to get back into the cage from the top when she wants to “go home,” both by flying and by rappelling down the side of the cage. She has occasionally climbed up to the cage-top too. She especially loves when I am working next to the cage; I think she likes the company while playing. She can get suddenly very rough when playing, which means I step away to let her know it was “too rough.” She was characterized as the “bossy” one of her clutch, and she’s been a solo budgie with me for three months now, so that might be some of it. But she is sweet and gentle so often, so I think currently she just gets carried away with excitement.

Bird Beak Macaw Parrot Feather

Playing atop her cage together. She loves to throw those little rattan balls, and I pick them up and she just starts happily head-bobbing and dashing around. I don’t mind having been trained to play pick-up so much, it is a delight to see her so happy :)

She takes baths now in the sink! Not every day, but several days a week. Every morning, after breakfast, I do the dishes (while she sits on my shoulder) to make sure the sink is clean and then set a plate in the sink and run a gentle stream of cool water. If she’s interested, she’ll clamber down my arm. Sometimes she just takes a few drinks and heads back up to my shoulder, but other times, she gets off my hand and into the water. I then go get the water spray bottle, and mist her while she moves around in the water. She always seems a bit wary of the water stream, but lately when I put my hand under it to create a more gentle waterfall, she really likes that. Then, when she’s done, she hops back up on my arm and climbs up to my shoulder. …And then I get a little bit of a shower from her, too!

Ingredient Tableware Food Sink Yellow

Needed my hands for the camera, but otherwise my arms and hands are present and further block the drain.

Had a bit of a pleasant surprise over the past few days, as she has gone from “polite occasional pellet nibble” to “frequent trips to the pellet bowl.” I do know I just started a fresh bag of pellets (Harrison’s), and mixed in 1 Tbsp of Red Palm Oil into the bag (1 lb), so it’s easily possible that the fresh pellets are tastier than previous.

I’ve had less luck so far with veggies other than lettuces/spinach (which she can’t have often)/kale. But what with how suddenly she went from ugh-pellets to omg-pellets!!, I’m more at peace with the long haul of getting her to eat more vegetables. Currently, I mix up little dish of sprouts, corn, and broccoli: the corn is diced, and the broccoli bits are cut from the stalks, because she just doesn’t seem interested in food that requires her to dig into or pull hard at it. I put garlic powder and dill on it. I do see her mouthing the sprouts in particular every day, but I genuinely cannot tell how much of it she eats. I know I keep saying I will try some chop, but I’m still working my way there.

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I think this picture was taken before she lost one pair of the five clipped wing feathers. So we continue to inch our way toward the someday of fully flighted again.

I’ve been giving her about 12 hours of covered cage time, but lately I’ve started covering her as soon as I see she has jumped up to her “sleep perch,” which results in 12.5-13 hours of cage cover. I was apprehensive about it, not wanting to make her bored/frustrated, but she seems more cheerful in the morning now. Maybe she’s like me, and needs more sleep, not less!

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Zzzzzz…
 

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Luxie (“LOOX-ee”), F, hatched 9/7/2021
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Discussion Starter · #68 · (Edited)
Luxie says hello, how are you doing, and totally unrelated, do you have any millets?
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…though thanks to a recent post here, I tried bok choy and found that she seems to like it—at least that‘s what I assume those holes in the leaf mean.
Tableware Bird Dishware Ingredient Serveware


Look at those wings! There is a pair of flight feathers that have grown back! Luxie seems to already have figured out that flying takes a little less effort, as she has done more of it since they came in. I’m expecting a second pair soon, as that is the number of pairs of clipped flight feathers she has lost in molt thus far.
Food Bird Ingredient Recipe Beak


Food Ingredient Tableware Blue Recipe


Bird Blue Recipe Yellow Beak


Bath-time with some of the widest wing-spreads yet. She has such opinions about how exactly how strong the spray of water must be—too strong and she’ll avoid it, too weak and she’ll just drink it.
Bird Pet supply Bird supply Beak Feather


…a bit blurry, but photographic proof that she allows me to scritch her. Once in a while.
Bird Eye Food Parrot Beak


Oh to be a well-cared-for bird, contemplating bok choy.
 

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Luxie (“LOOX-ee”), F, hatched 9/7/2021
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Discussion Starter · #71 · (Edited)
Luxie‘s 6-month “hatchday” was a couple weeks ago; since then, her cere has been turning brown.

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I assume it’s hormonal and puberty-type things? I’m trying to limit her daylight and protein, but it doesn’t seem to be affecting the change. I rearranged the cage a few days ago, too. On the other hand, she is exhibiting no nesting behavior and no aggression (without cause, like if I interrupt her when focused on something else). She’s actually been more interested in just sitting and chilling on my arm or shoulder, which has been nice. I do wish she’d let me scritch/preen her a little more, I want to get those feathers on her head that she can‘t reach opened up. Does that ever bother anyone else? It is of course not worth forcing anything upon her, but it is a bit like seeing a loose thread or bit of lint on someone else’s shirt.

On the other hand, her comfortable-ness with me has led to some “oh what’s that you’re eating flock always shares food so gimme” behavior. Today was the first time she came over when I sat down to eat something and tried to bypass me entirely to land on the plate to partake. Needless to say, she did not get what she was after—carrot cake that it was, even I the human eating it knows saying “I’m getting my veggies!” doesn’t negate the other things in the cake coming along with it.

Food Tableware Table Ingredient Recipe


I’m trying chopped fine red pepper + green bean + corn or basil right now in the evenings before she gets the other half of her daily allotment of seeds. She’s still putting in regular munches at the pellet bowl, which is great; the veggies remain generally uninteresting for her. This evening she did nibble some at the little bowl of informal chop, so I hope that might be a good sign. She does seem to like basil enough to take several little bites all over—I bet it tastes more strongly than other vegetables. I forgot to do it today, but I yesterday after we’d spent some time with just the basil leaf, I chopped it up for her dinner‘s seasoning. My general thinking is that if she likes the taste of basil, what with how fragrant it is, it might help make other vegetables more appealing (a la FaeryBee’s use of garlic powder on sweet corn). She looks like she’s really into the veggies in the above photo, but I think it’s more that she’s really into the seeds that are also in there.

Personal computer Computer Netbook Green Peripheral


Another “classic pet bird” thing that has happened: she has finally discovered the computer keyboard. And like so many birds, she loves to be on it (leaving her poops wherever she pleases) when I have typing to do. She will chitter at my fingers all the time like she’s irritated, but never bites or leaves; I think she finds it a form of play and spending time. I’m pleased to report that the “apple”-type keys don’t seem to immediately be pry-able. (Though I am keeping a vigilant eye, as one never knows how birdproof things turn out to be to our smartie birds). Our basil plant is visible in the background, and lives in a pot with some parsley (more for my love of tabbouleh than her nourishment).

She has gradually increased her zone of exploration while she’s out of the cage: she now explores the ledge beneath what I call her “porch perches” (the ones on the cage but the outside of the cage—so like a porch for her cage home!), as well as the computer time work space next to her cage. She really loves the porch perches; I think it might be because of how she can keep an eye on me, the birds outside, and her own home all at once. It also is a place where she gets sun in the afternoon.

Bird Green Recipe Ingredient Bookcase


(this was from a bit ago, as her cere was lighter.)

Luxie has also figured out that “kitchen” = “food/bath/time with flock human,” and so she has started to come flying over especially when I’m in there doing dishes or at the cutting board. The first time she did this while not connected to an approximate seed mealtime, I was focused on something else, and turned around and she was just standing there on top of some chard I was working on rescuing from the back of the fridge. (Narrator: “The chard could not be rescued.”) I admit I got quite a jumpscare! I hadn’t heard her flight approach at all. (Being a grad student in student housing, my kitchen is quite tiny and really more of an extension to the main room, so she’s had time to observe me working in the kitchen for quite a while… but was at the time content to stay in her cage. Looks like it’s time to institute mandatory cage time for when the knives are out or the stove/oven is on.)

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She’s gotten much more comfortable climbing around her cage of late, which makes me happy since all the cage rearrangings cannot guarantee a clear path everywhere every single time. This was a recent morning in anticipating of me opening the door. Daylight saving time was rough on me (it always is), and so her schedule is regrettably a bit all over as my circadian rhythm adjusts. So far she’s quite polite about it all, waiting in the morning for me to uncover the cage without being noisy, and then hopping up on her swing when she’s ready for bed.

Also, I found her first molted tail feather this morning, and at least one of another pair of clipped flight feathers has come out recently. The clipped feather discovery was another little surprise, as she had been sitting on my shoulder preening while I was working, and I vaguely register a kind of cronching sound, like she’s cracking seeds. I look over and find she’s got the fallen-out feather in her beak, chewing away at its shaft end. Her flight definitely seems affected, as she has been flying in these sudden change-in-direction zig-zag patterns (probably due to the number and type of feathers present), but this hasn’t seemed to be a deterrent. If anything, she actually seems to be more willing to fly about.

Amidst the arrival of spring and the changes that brings, we do our best, here 💛
 

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Luxie (“LOOX-ee”), F, hatched 9/7/2021
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Discussion Starter · #73 ·
Luxie is looking great, she's becoming a lady, sounds like she has you well trained. 🤣 The pinfeathers bother me too, I just want to scratch them open, I have even tried gently brushing them with a child's soft toothbrush, that did not go over too well and did not achieve the goal o_O
I’ve been trying with the target stick and occasionally a knitting needle… no dice. I do hear you when you say the toothbrush didn’t go over well, but I hadn’t thought of that and I totally want to try it now >.> Luxie loves to use a few toys that are “bristly” to scritch her own head (while I tell her “I could do that for you if you’d just let me!”), so maybe she might be interested in a toothbrush. Of course, imagining and reality are totally different worlds!
 

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Luxie (“LOOX-ee”), F, hatched 9/7/2021
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Discussion Starter · #75 ·
We have successfully acquired a vegetable!! Which I believe is budgie-owner-speak for “my bird finally will eat this vegetable I’ve been chopping up and offering them in all shapes and sizes for the past two months.”
Table Bird Tableware Food Plate


Behold! CORN.

However she finally decided to try it, she now combs through her veggie plate for the bits of corn, and works the kernel “skins” until she’s gotten all the juicy bits out. I am delighted.

I figured out in this process that Luxie does not like garlic—I had offered vegetables with garlic powder on them before, and had chalked up her disinterest to the time it takes for budgies to try veggies. However, after establishing her willingness to eat corn, when I then offered garlic-powder corn, she bit into a kernel and then aggressively spat it out. And then aggressively tossed it off the plate. And then left the plate in a pointed huff. Apparently, this was, as the internet might phrase it, one of the #toptenanimebetrayals.

For Luxie, basil has proven the spice winner. As for #veggiegoals, we‘re still testing mint. Red pepper has yet to make an impact—I might try a yellow pepper next, since it might look more familiar now that she will eat corn. I genuinely can’t tell whether she eats sprouts or not—she definitely plays with them. No interest in green beans, carrots, or sugar snap peas yet, either in full-length or chopped-up form. I’ve also tried peels of carrots, with no luck yet. Luxie tends to be more willing to try leaf-like vegetables, so I try to have some kind of leaf clipped to the side of her cage daily. This week it‘s been butter lettuce or red kale. Sometimes she just rips the leaf up into pieces, but I do see that she usually has a few bites before or after the confetti-making session. She definitely likes spinach, but I believe that’s a once-in-a-while veggie due to something in it that blocks calcium absorption for budgies. I keep meaning to try sweet potato for its vitamin—A, I think? But I think that’s a thing that I would need make a bunch of and then ice-cube-serving-size freeze it to conserve my own low energy stores.
Bird Table Textile Feather Orange


Luxie‘s taken a few flights around the room of late, and this morning she found her way on her own to this perch near my desk. Historically when I’ve placed her on this perch for training, she has “tolerated” it, but left as soon as she decided the session was done. As far as birds go, I’ve just had Luxie long-term thus far, but owning a bird after having owned dogs is an interesting experience. My dog learned a lot growing up, but then settled into a routine that he didn’t deviate from to the point that I could keep time by where he was in the house (Is he on the couch? Mid-morning. Is he in front of me? 2:30-3pm, time for a walk. Is he in front of his foodbowl? 5:30pm, dinner. On the stairs? 9pm, bedime.) It feels like birds, even with their love of routine and their potential fears of things like new toys, simultaneously seem to enjoy “changing it up” without warning. At least, that’s what Luxie seems to like so far.
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We took a walk together a few weeks ago! It was about half an hour, with ten minutes each of walking to and from a shaded bench we sat at for about ten minutes. I couldn’t tell whether she enjoyed it or not. But I was hoping she might feel a little more used to travel if we did it here and there without a vet visit destination. She does seem very interested in looking at the world around her. The vet recommended that I wrap those travel dowel-rod perches with—something. Some kind of veternarian tape? Might I trouble knowledgeable readers to point me in the direction of what she was talking about? 🙏
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In the evening, after dinner, she occasionally spends more time with me if I hold my hand like a perch (held close to eye-level and generally still) and if I blink slowly at her. So sometimes we just sit and blink at each other, and it’s lovely.
Bird Hand Parrot Beak Feather

Bird Beak Parrot Human body Feather
 

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Luxie (“LOOX-ee”), F, hatched 9/7/2021
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Discussion Starter · #78 · (Edited)
A small off-the-topic-of-Luxie post. Yesterday, I came across an injured wild rabbit on my way home from school. Historically, I might not have even noticed, but after watching it not move despite how closely others got to it, I got worried. I walked right up to it and sat down next to it, and it still didn’t move. I went home, fetched gloves, a box, and a towel, and gently transferred the rabbit to the cardboard box. This is when I was able to ascertain the severity of the injuries—for mindfulness of the many readers on this forum, let us just say the injuries were severe (there will be no pictures of the rabbit). I was not optimistic about its chances of recovery, but I felt strongly that I could not just leave it where I had found it.

It was already too late to take it to a wildlife center, but I tracked two locations down and prepared myself for getting up early the next morning to take it in. Following online resources, I closed the lid of the box, placed the rabbit in a dark, quiet spot in my small living space, and added a gentle heat source (a sock with rice, though if I had had a heating pad, setting it on low under the box would have been ideal).

Sadly, the rabbit did not make it through the night. I hope I might have been able to give it even the smallest bit of relief from the suffering it was in.



Last night, after I had carefully brought the rabbit in and made sure it was in a separate room from Luxie (I did NOT want there to be risk of disease transmission!) and having verrrry thoroughly washed my hands and arms, I sat with Luxie quietly. She seemed to know something sad was going on. I actually explained to her a bit of what had happened; whether or not she understood the words, she seemed to understand something was serious and sad.

I also think that my experience owning a bird is part of what got me to be willing to give the rabbit a chance at something more than just dying in the street. Things like having the skills to recognize when a prey animal is in distress, and also having more experience looking for best-practices resources for animals in distress. Perhaps it is a little bit of a stretch, but maybe I could say that Luxie helped me help the rabbit—even if all I could do was give it a warm and safe place from which to cross the rainbow bridge.
Bird Beak Parrot Human body Gesture

Luxie sitting with me as I process everything that happened.
 

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Luxie (“LOOX-ee”), F, hatched 9/7/2021
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Discussion Starter · #80 ·
So I was watching some videos of a certain honking cockatiel beloved by the internet (RIP Alex), and was joined by a VERY interested birb, who stood stock-still and watched in rapt attention:

Bird Cockatiel Netbook Vertebrate Computer


…and then within less than 24 hours began honking herself. It is ADORABLE.

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She looked so offended when I caught her climbing on top of her lettuce leaf for maximum rip-crush-tear technique…

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This quarter with in-person instruction, I’ve had to go to campus a lot more. She HATES me leaving, and when I put her in the cage, she lectures me in high-pitched screms. It does not change the situation, but seems to make her feel better.

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Just a beautiful portrait of her—the sunlight is reflecting off her water/bath bowl, and it created a nice glow.
 
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