Some more on my struggle to take care of Dogen. I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m learning as I go along. He’s been quite hostile toward me (Dogen is actually female, but I don’t know that yet), and a lot of this is my trying to get us to be buddies. He’s gradually getting used to me.

There’s a story here about the two blue-crowned conures, Catherine and Connor, getting into a fight with a cherry head. Catherine doesn’t look well afterward. And in fact, this was the beginning of her demise and Connor’s solitariness.

The view from my position on the fire escape. Parrots on the lines and in the trees.

6/13/95 Tuesday

I woke Dogen up a little earlier than usual–6:40. He’s looking real good, walking around like a conure, his feet going plop, plop. He was trembling a little. I turned on the heat lamp, but he went under the newspapers.

Yesterday he seemed to be doing much better at scratching his head with one foot while balancing on the other. This was on the clothes hanger.

7:25 and he’s out climbing and doing acrobatics (out from under the papers).

He’s never hungry in the morning—at least not first thing.

I spray misted him and now he’s trembling. I’m too eager to do all these things I read about. I keep assuming he’s healthier than he is. When I was replacing his food and papers after the bath, he bit me on the arm and finger and I had to scold him. I touched him on the beak once without him biting, praised him and let him be. Now he’s working on his newspapers again. They were hard bites, but still not as hard as his worst. I think it was along the lines of defending the nest. I should add that he didn’t seem to mind the bath. Or the vacuuming I did just before.

It’s 8:30 and he finally ate a bit of the egg that I made for him.

He’s excited when I get home, but I suspect it has to do with the fact that the flock is outside and very noisy. I think he’s hoping I’ll let him out of the cage. I give him eggs and broccoli. Acrobatics and climbing.

An unusual event during the flock feeding. Mandela was sitting on my shoulder when Bo suddenly landed on her back which set off a brief flurry of screaming and fighting and then they both fell off.

He stuck his head deep into his seed dish and like a dog started digging into it throwing the contents all over the cage. Very funny!

I got called down for another feeding. Mozart was clinging to the window of the door, looking in. Mandela sat on my shoulder for the longest time ever I think. He wasn’t eating all that much, mostly regurgitating and looking around.

I gave Dogen some bread with cashew butter on it. Loves it!

5:30 I open the door to let him out. He stops to eat first. Flies to the hanger. The flock is outside screaming. He responds, but not hysterically. Flies into the south window–I had the drapes open a fraction. He finds some I’d left on the sill.

Can they recognize an individual bird’s voice? I thought I saw Jones [Dogen’s sibling] alone out on the fire escape. He let out a few loud ones (whoever it was) and Dogen responded in kind. Did he recognize the individual voice/call, or was he responding simply to flockspeak?

He’s mostly just perching on the hanger. Occasionally I get up and try to touch his beak and go through all the scolding and praising.

“Goodnight” was the usual series–handled better I think. First I held up the cage to him and tried to persuade him to enter it. No dice. Then I held the dowel up to his legs. He would not get on it. So finally it was the gloves and a lot of sweet talk. I didn’t have to chase him a lot (maybe he was tired). He bit the gloves some, but stopped while I talked to him and kissed his head. I set him in the cage, he drank some water and perched without any big to-do.

6/14/95 Wednesday

It rained last night, it’s still cloudy, and the flock flew by at 6:13. Got a 6:30 or so visit from Connor and Catherine.

The room is cool, 66%, but if he’s trembling it’s barely noticeable. I think he might be, but it’s hard to tell. I put the heat lamp on anyway. Coordination is good to very good.

He’s playing with his spool.

He’s in his box, chewing on the insides. It’s 8:00 and once again he has shown no interest in eating yet.

Came home from the store and found that he’d been eating his bread.

Around 10:35 a single conure came flying in and landed on the lines. I guessed it to be Marlon and it was. He came over and ate quite a bit.

I let Dogen out at 11:30. He flew from the hanger to the cage three times to eat. He was on the hanger when I opened the north curtains a bit. He heard one parrot and flew into the window again. He went down into the sill. I was resting with my head against the pane, my hands folded, resting on the back of the armchair right above the sill. He wanted to walk past them, but felt obliged to bite my finger as he walked (or ran) by.

He’s clear on the subject of glass now. He made three runs at the window from the hanger, each time pulling up short just in front. The first time he landed on my chest. I was sitting slumped in the armchair. He only stayed a second or two. I said “yes”, and then he took off, returning to the hanger. I was startled.

He’s exploring more. He climbed the drawstring of the curtains and is walking the curtain rod. He hears the flock and squawks.

More conures in the window. He rarely ignores the sound or the presence of the flock anymore. He’s louder.

I saw Connor and Catherine wage all-out, feathers-puffed-up, over-the-top psychogobbling warfare on a cherry head who was after their pile of seeds. Connor and Catherine won.

1:55. He flew into the cage to eat and drink. I closed the door without event.

I left some toilet paper on top of the cage and he pulled it all inside through the bars.

He ate all of his bread!

Catherine doesn’t look quite right. Her right eye seemed a little blurry. She wasn’t so afraid of me. Seemed a tad lethargic. Maybe it was the fight.

When bending over to hand Connor and Catherine some seeds Mandela landed on my back. He walked over to my shoulder and down my arm.

Had a closeish encounter with Eric. He came near, wouldn’t take any seeds.

I let Dogen out again around 5:00. He went to the window and attracted a lot of birds. Mozart, Mendelssohn, Bo, Scrapper, Jones and others. I showed my face this time. No one was too alarmed. I even went down to feed in the midst of it with no problem. The flock is gone now, but Dogen is still squawking. His breath fogs the glass when he does. I think that they’re nearby and he hears them. He’s antsy right now. He wants to be free. And he will be.

He’s quieter now and perched up on the curtain rod. Doing some acrobatics, too.

Flew onto the cage and crawled in to eat. Door closed. Thanks Dogen.

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