Saturday, July 11, 2009

Some movement in the right direction

Hey all,

Yesterday I did something silly - in the heat of the day, I went out to the flight barn and cleaned it up. Earlier, I had talked the guys that are fixing up the apartment here to do the coupla things that I couldn't do by myself in the barn. So, when they did that, I now had super motivation to get the rest of the clean up of the flight barn done. I lost my mind, and went out there in the middle of the afternoon. It was 103 yesterday! I'm a complete moron sometimes lol. I got the extra aviary wire moved, and cleared out the boards that are going in the trash this week, and then swept up. By the time I was done, I had overheated myself. Again. I was sick as can be the rest of the day. But, the building is done and ready for action! I am very excited about this - it's a very good space for training flighted stuff, and the birds can have supervised play time in there too.

After I had recovered at least somewhat from my silliness, I decided to play with Peepers and Sparky. I thought I would try and do harness stuff with Peepers first, and finish with flighted stuff, thinking that sequence would give me more enthusiasm and motivation for all of the things we would want to do. So, I got Peepers first, and started right away with the harness. The goal was the same as the previous 2 sessions - get Peepers to do a wing lift while the loop was over his head. He did it! A couple times even. He still is trying to offer wing lifts either before or after his head is in the loop, but he is starting to try and do it while the loop is over his head. What a good bird :). he also managed to get caught up in the loop again in this session. I'd have to watch again to see exactly how it all happened, but all of a sudden the loop was over and through his left wing. I think his left foot was also involved somehow. I think he ran out of range of the camera while he was working on getting it off, but in the end, instead of holding still for me to help him out, he reached back and gently (!) took the loop in his beak and lifted it off his wing. I would speculate that being able to just remove it like that had to make him feel better about the whole situation. He really stayed calm for this, and continued to use his noggin, which I really like to see. After that, I set up the loop again, and he came running back to where I was. He was a little hesitant about sticking his head in there, but once he did, we got a couple more wing lifts and then I made us stop.

Sparky was a little eager for her turn, and had even tried to fly to the table while Peepers was working (woo hoo!). So when I set up for her, you can see that she was squeaking and croaking, and clearly eager for the target stick to come out. I thought I would see if she would stick her head in the loop if just my hand was there (of course, I was holding a pc of almond, so it should happen, but you never know what they're thinking). She stuck her head in there like a champ! She continued to do it throughout the session, although in the middle there she tried walking around the harness to my hand to get the nut. Nice problem solving! Too bad it didn't work :). I didn't try wing lifts at all, because it looked like she was having an issue with a pc of almond again. I am starting to wonder if I am using exactly the wrong size pieces - too big to just swallow, too small to encourage taking appropriate sized bites. We'll see I spose.

I then brought Peepers back to work on his retrieve. It went ok, I managed to get my hand under his beak before he dropped the die a few times, so I would call the session a success, more or less. Throughout the session, though, Peepers was a little excited, and spent a little too much time bopping around and regurgitating. I'm thinking about putting some kind of end to that behavior, cuz it really distracts from the training. So I will be thinking how best to deal with it and will let everyone know what my plan is when I think of it.

This morning I introduced Peepers to the barn, and videoed it. I'll post about that in a bit, when I have the video converted, split and uploaded :).

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