Shiera has settled back in again after her adventures (Shiera’s Travels), but her behavior has some distinct differences since before the world tour.
Most notable at first was that she does more things independently, like playing with toys, foraging around their gyms, or just hanging out. She wanted to be on someone much of the time before, riding around, preening, singing. She didn’t hang out with Rocco all that much except when eating. Now they are usually together, and if she can’t get up to their usual bed on the rope net (sans wings) he will sleep with her in one of her “handicapped accessible” areas. Rocco also became more outgoing and interactive when she was away, and I’m happy to report that has continued! I guess the kids just needed a little time apart before they were ready to settle down. (No chicks on the horizon though. You’ll have to talk to Carly and Piper about that.)
The other thing is that after being out and around the whole town for a couple days, instead of being afraid of the outdoors she is much more relaxed in new environments in general. (Piper, by contrast, was very reluctant to be outside after his first adventure; his included crow chases.) She was antsy in the office before and now she goes with me when I don’t have the big guys. She is great in the car and in public places. Shiera has always been unafraid of new people or animals, and was bold when she was first learning to fly. She adapts to new things very rapidly. So I guess it should be no surprise that she took this adventure in stride.
Her clip is so severe that she drops right down to the ground, and she can’t take off again. I have tall ladders propped up so she can get around. She will jump off of just about anything in order to travel by the land route. She doesn’t appear to be stressed by the change. She’s unafraid to hop from place to place if it’s a foot or less.
I realized today that we now have a perfect setup for doing some outdoor work to make sure if this happens again, she will be better equipped to handle it. First, I’m taking her out with me often. Conditions: no wind, sheltered locations, no traffic (if she’s outside her carrier). She’s already quite composed outdoors — she goes on alert when she sees something unusual, but relaxes back again fairly quickly.
Second, we’re going to do treecrawls! I hadn’t started them with her before because I hadn’t had time to train her with a harness. For a couple of months, before her flights start to molt in, a harness won’t be necessary under the trees. So we’re going to start doing targeting along the branches (walk over and touch a stick, get a treat), then along branches with obstacles like sticks or leaves in the way, then down from higher to lower branches. We’ll also do very short flying recalls (she can only stay in the air for less than a foot). The goal is to give her some confidence outdoors and in trees, practice coming when called in different environments, and an exit strategy for getting down if needed.
I’m looking forward to it, and I think she’ll enjoy it too. And it’s the perfect enrichment for the totally land-bound bird!