Lola’s Social Skills: Meeting New People

November 1, 2011 § Leave a comment

I very, very often get asked about Lola’s personality and Capes in general, so I figured I would just blog about her a little more to answer some of the more common questions I get.  One of the most common is, how is she around other or new people?  It’s actually kind of a tough question for me to answer because, to be honest, she isn’t really around new people all that often, as I try to keep it relatively quiet that I have parrots (for safety and security reasons).  But I have observed her with a few other people and I will comment on how she interacts with them.  I will note that with me, she is a total angel and sweetheart and never bites.  Of course, this isn’t always the case with everybody.

In general, she is very cautious around new people, and when somebody she does not know enters the room, she stops whatever she is doing and watches them very carefully.  This is the case whether she is in or out of the cage.  And this is pretty much the rule with her in most situations: I have never, ever seen her run or fly at somebody to attack them or “defend her territory” — she is the quiet and cautious type, rather than the aggressive type.  That said, if you do invade her space, she does lunge.  For her, an invasion of space is when somebody comes too close (within a foot) and makes a clear sign that he/she is going to try to touch Lola.  If you stand close to her, however, that’s okay.  She is fine with sharing, but she doesn’t necessarily want to be bothered.

There are a few people, aside from myself, that are “regulars” in her life.  She reacts to each of them pretty differently.  She actually loves my S.O., but it depends on how long it’s been since she has seen him.  If it’s been a while, she needs a day or two to warm up to him before he can handle her again.  Once she “remembers,” she’s a melted puddle of scratches and cuddles for him.  She likes one of my sisters, with whom she has spent the most time, but she also has a “lag” with her — she has to remember her and get comfortable with her again before they can make contact.  On the other hand, one of my other sisters, who is a bit more hands on and a bit less patient, is definitely not okay by Lola.  And for some reason — we have never been able to figure this one out — she has never liked my mother.  I’m not sure why, but the only thing I can think of is that it’s my mother’s fingernails.  She has really long and always manicured nails, and Lola’s not used to that at all.  I think she might be intimidated by them because she seems to react especially to her hands.

I have one friend who is my “bird sitter” who comes by to change the food and water if I have to be away– Lola is completely fine with her, even though they only see each other every once in a while.  Lola lets her go in and out of the cage without bothering her in the least, and Lola is fine with her in her space.  Of my other friends, Lola seems interested but I have not yet wanted to take the risk of letting them handle her.  She has quite a formidable beak.

In general, I would say, Lola is cautious but friendly and not aggressive.  I am sure that if she had been raised by more people than just me– a family bird, for instance– she’d love every member of the family.  I have no doubts about that.  She does not strike me as a one person bird; I think it is simply the circumstance since there is only one of me.  I think with her, taking things slowly is the most important factor.  Of course, I can’t really generalize about Cape Parrots.  Lola is first and foremost an individual, but she is also a female and she has yet to come of age– who knows what she will be like when she hits maturity?

My First Taste of Cape Parrot Biting and Aggression

June 8, 2011 § 10 Comments

Or perhaps I should say Lola’s first taste?  Well, regardless, my sweet little Lola bit me for the first time yesterday!  As I’m sure you can imagine… that big beak of hers can do some damage.  She didn’t actually draw blood but bruised my finger pretty badly and I lost feeling in it for a few hours.

Lola has always loved my S.O.  We are long distance, though, so he isn’t here all the time, and hadn’t been around for about two months until he visited this weekend.  Usually, when he’s around, she just goes nuts for him.  She will fly over to him or step up for him over me, beg for scratches, and even regurgitate and spread her wings in that way for him on occasion.

Well, this weekend, things changed.  Suddenly, she hates him and wants nothing to do with him.  She was on my arm yesterday when he walked towards us and she bit my finger quite vigorously, in what I assume was an attempt to get me to get away from the “predator.”

Although I was quite surprised, as she has been so sweet thus far and is still quite young, I’m also somewhat relieved to know that she is indeed a normal parrot.  The S.O. is gone already but for the remainder of his stay, I had him try to curry favor with her– giving her almond slivers or sunflower seeds whenever he walked by the cage, spending quality time with her without me in the room or even at home, etc.  She seemed to be more receptive last night and this morning, or at least not aggressive– she kept her distance rather than lunged.

We are traveling soon to visit my family, whom Lola hasn’t seen for several months now.  She used to adore one of my sisters as well, so I am very interested in seeing how she reacts to her after this incident.  I am observing her behavior around strangers and others very carefully and will be sure to diarize all incidents of aggression in the future.

In the mean time, I’ve been working on creating other things for her to chomp:

A spool of thin paper cord and some home made foot toys!

I received a massive spool of thin paper cord from Things for Wings this week and got straight to work.  The rope is killing my hands after a few hundred foot toys.  What’s photographed is only about half.  I also made an equal amount of colored ones now that I can be home more often to keep an eye on Lola’s water, but most of those are already gone.  It doesn’t even look like I made a dent in the spool though!  I sense that my fingers will be very sore and tender before I finish this one…

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