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AfricanGreys.com • View topic - behavioral question

behavioral question

Welcome to the Grey Play Round Table African grey Question and Answer Board. Maggie Wright, author of the Barron's Grey pet manual and creator of the Grey Play Round Table African grey newsletter/magazine, and Lisa Bono, African grey behavior expert, will be the two moderators to answer your questions. Please check out the areas that have already been dealt with... and submit your new questions.


Due to the incredibly high volume of SPAM, the board has been set up so that you cannot submit a question. Instead, please send me your question at merlin@AfricanGreys.com and I will post it for you. Then, both Lisa and I will post responses. Sorry for the inconvenience.

PLEASE send me your questions... we REALLY want to help you!!! merlin@AfricanGreys.com.


Wishing you GREY'T Blessings!
Maggie Wright

Moderator: merlin

behavioral question

Postby merlin » Sun Nov 20, 2011 6:14 am

Hello,
I am trying to find a good website that will show pictures of birds body language, so that I can better understand what my two greys are communicating. I have had an older Grey, male we think, that we rescued ( now 28 years old ) for 9 years. He is bonded with my husband. I purchased a hand raised baby female who is now almost 2 who has bonded with me. I was hopeful that in time they would be buddies and play. I cannot find anyone to discuss my observations of their behavior so that I can better understand the complexity of their interactions. Any suggestions?
Thank you.
Sincerely, Tobi
merlin
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Re: behavioral question

Postby merlin » Sun Nov 20, 2011 6:23 am

Dear Tobi,

I am not aware of a specific website that depicts illustrations of body language. So, you just need to describe the interactions as best as possible... and perhaps we can help you.

That is a BIG difference in age between 28 and two... like humans, it is really the difference between an older adult and a chick. Your little girl is not even a young adult yet, which is usually around 3 years old. So, you may not find them becoming buddies. But you could find a relationship where the older bird acts as a teacher or coach.

But also, since your first grey has been alone in your home for 9 years, you may find that he is jealous of the baby. Please make sure he is treated like the top bird. PLease check out a few articles of mine when introducing my Merlin to Sweetpea. Merle had been with me for 3 years alone and she got so upset with 10 month old Pea moving in that she started pulling her tail feathers. You can read about what I learned in the "Living with Merlin" articles in the article section.

Please write back and describe what the interactions are that you are observing. Meanwhile, hoping this answer helps.
GREY'T Blessings,
Maggie-
merlin
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Re: behavioral question

Postby Lisa A. Bono » Thu Nov 24, 2011 10:44 pm

They must be watched closely. I have 4 and can not trust any to play nice.
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Re: behavioral question

Postby merlin » Fri Nov 25, 2011 4:34 pm

MAggie, oh thank you so much for your response! We took in Julian an African Grey (we were told he is a male but even that we are not sure about) as a favor to a sick friend. I knew nothing about birds, but being a very involved dog owner I dove into books and read up as much as I could. I found a lot about nutrition, and cage/toy ideas...but little to describe the subtle body language I am observing. We have learned a lot over the last 9 years form observation, but still have many questions. I will gladly be willing to make a donation for your assistance. So here goes with all the questions.

Julian the 28 year old "male" is a wild bird. He is much larger than most birds I've seen that are bred in this country. He is exceptionally bold, walks around on the floor through the house, very social verbally, doesn't get fearfull with new situations. He loves to "make houses" . He will get inside boxes and chew up the cardboard, or the paper, He loves to play inside the closet, or climb up inside the linen cabinet and make a house. When I praise him he puffs up and dances. I've received conflicting info that this is nesting behavoir, and he must be a she. However I have also read that males will start the nest to attract the female. What is your take on this?

He has bonded with my husband and when he becomes sexual..which can be quite often he lowers his body, spreads his wings out low and trys to climb up on his hand or head if on the back of the couch. Is there a different behavior for males & females sexually? He also does the gremlin chatter that escalates as he gets more stimulated. We put him back into his cage if he can't be redirected into a calmer situation. This allows him to cool down. Any suggestions with this?

Tullulah, the young girl has learned all the words JUlain uses which is quite extensive. She is now learning what they all mean in context. I would say they enjoy interacting verbally. She is very interested in him, but he the behavior I have seen from him I am judging as aggressive, or not interested /aloof. Initially he would charge her..I would intervene. I had purchased a very large cage that I thought would house both of them . I connected the two cages with a rope so they could "visit". She was very interested in him, but he would lunge and appear aggressive with her. So I nixed that idea. The cage I purchased had two sides, so I tried to have in on one side for just a little time during the day when I was out there to observe them. They beaked throught the bars, but it still felt rough to me. She would go over to him, but it did not appear to be a sweet interaction. I would ask him to be gentle..eventually he just sat in there hunched down, head down with his eyes squinty...I felt like he was just annoyed. So I gave up on that.
Over this past year, they have been both up on top and sitting about 2 feet from each other...but no interactions. If she is on the floor, he will charge her. There have been no playfull interactions at his point.

I have been trying to get Tullulah use to the idea of showering, and since Julain loves to get in the shower with me, I thought I'd try and bring them both into the bathroom and put them on their travel perches on the counter. They were spaced far enough apart that they didn't reach other. Usually he would be excited about showering, but he sat on his perch hunkered down, head lowered..What I would interpret as sulking. When I took him intot he shower, he wouldn't play or open his wings..just sat there. I ask him to shake it out..and he would flap & give a shake...wouldn't do any of that. When I put him back onthe stand..he wouldn't flap or groom. just sat here all hunkered dow, head down..eyes soft and squinted. Was he being submissive to her?
Well Sorry this took so long to get to you. This has been a busy with with Thanksgiving. Hope you are enjoying your day with your birds..and the Thanksgiving holiday. I have many things to be gratefull for.

Tobi
merlin
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Re: behavioral question

Postby merlin » Fri Nov 25, 2011 4:39 pm

Dear Tobi,

If Julian is 28 and Tullalah is a young bird, there probably is not a possibility of them mating because of the age difference. Again, she is like a teenager or young adult and he's like an older adult. Julian has chosen your husband and not a female grey, anyway.

It sounds to me like Julian is a little upset about Tullalah being there. You need to continue to treat him like the top bird. He has been in your home alone as the ONLY bird for 9 years. The introduction of Tellulah is like bringing in a bird from another flock. I'm glad you did not house them together because he would have attacked. It MUST be the birds' idea to move in together and not the human. Otherwise, one will get more aggressive and the other passive.

If I were you, I would give up on the "mating" thing and see them as two precious African grey companions. I also suggest that you move Tellulah's cage to another part of the same room, so both birds have their own space. Let them become friends from across the room and with sounds. Having the two cages side by side is forcing each bird onto each other. Julian clearly is not interested in a sexual connection with a young bird that may not even be at sexual maturity. They do not become sexually mature until 5, 6, or 7 years old.

Julian sounds male. Males do build nests, as hens do. A simple DNA blood test will tell you. Just get the vet to send off blood for a DNA test the next time you have them checked. All you need is a drop of blood. I think there are companies that also DNA test thru feathers. Do a Google search on it.

It sounds like Julian was sulking in the shower. In his head, that is HIS special time with you and he was upset that you brought in Tellulah. Please, please read my article on introducing my two birds. It seems to me that you have the same situation.

Again, my advice is to separate the cages to different sides of the room to give both birds their OWN territories. Then, treat Julian as the top bird because he was in the home first. Find special things to do with him and then find special things for Tellulah. http://www.africangreys.com/articles/overview/livingmerl.htm

They sound precious. Please give them both a GREY'T big Thanksgiving hug for me!
Blessings,
Maggie-
merlin
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