Thursday, May 23, 2013

My Personal Bird, Achilles!

Achilles is my female Lutino Cockateil Nymphicus Hollandicus and is currently about 3.5 years old. I adopted her with no name and knew she was a female before I gave her such a masculine name. I did this because it just fit her story so perfectly, because of her "Achilles's Heel" that put her up for adoption...

Achilles was the last bird to be adopted out of Safe Haven Avian Placement Services (SHAPS). She was about a year of age at the time and is now my personal pet. She flew into a ceiling fan at her previous home -probably when she was just learning to fly- which left her with some disabilities. One of which is her ability to see, it's not much. She can make out some light, shadows and movement and maybe even some color. Regardless of these small vestigial remnants of the sight she once had, if classified as a human she would be regarded in terms as "legally blind". Also, one of the bones in the tip of her left wing was also broken, as well as her right leg bone (hence dubbing her with the name Achilles). Unfortunately that leg bone was set a little crooked, so it sticks out a little funny. And for you guys that own cockatiels you know that funny duck-walk your bird does? Achilles's walk is even more exaggerated with her crooked foot! Always gives me a little chuckle to see her walking around on a table with a big 'ol duck walk.

After the accident she was quite a mess both physically and behaviorally. When I first met her her cast had recently been removed and her muscles atrophied leaving her with just one leg to stand on. No one yet knew she was blind, she was just less active then a cockatiel should be. She had to be picked up by hand and put in your lap because she didn't know how to, or could not step up. These where just her physical difficulties, her behavioral one was a bit more difficult to comprehend.

Achilles had this funny quirk of falling. No not falling but tumbling into a frenzy, backwards and determinedly to the ground just to whack herself on the back of her bald head leaving large welts and bruises quickly, and often.

Fortunately I started some specialized training with her and she now rarely ever tumbles.

Achilles can now step up without tumbling to the ground, open her wings out, show me her broken foot, stand up tall, holds items in her beak until told to drop them and wears her harness. We tried skateboarding too, but she kept crashing into the wall on accident. I guess that'll have to wait. o_0

Other than her accomplishments in training she likes to chill on soft ropes perches while chewing on a large masses of straws, beads, and strings. Tis' the life of a bird!

Copyright 2013 Caitlin Bird
The Sequential Psittacine Blog

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