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Lilah Love - Greenwing Macaw Hen Succumbs to my Avances

Little Lailah has been living with me since January fourth and has remained unchangeably shy during this time. She did take treats from my hand and – and somewhat unwillingly – allowed me to briefly touch her beak. But that was it.

With the approaching spring, however, her life spirits seem to be awakening. A little more than a week ago (March 9th to be precise) all of a sudden Lailah tried to bathe in her tiny – at least as a macaw bath – water bowl, after indignantly avoiding my attempts to shower her for weeks. When I saw that, of course I rushed to get the mister. Lo and behold – all of a sudden Lailah loves to shower! SHe turned and twisted, flapped her wings and kept dunking herself as well as she could into her water bowl. Water from all sides until she was drowned cat soaking wet. 🙂 Her feathers are looking so much better now!

Then, last night, another major step forward. During the exchange of Lailah’s feed bowls I always talk to her gently in order to not frighten her. She usually sits very close to her feed bowls. Because of her handicap it is really difficult for her to quickly crawl away when I am working close to her. But when I talk with her, she remains fairly calm.
Yesterday, all of a suden, she answered to my stream of chatter with a clicking sound (no, I am not clicker training with her, yet. ;-). Now that is a communication offer, if I have ever seen one! I am a big believer in mirroring. Thus, I quickly responded with a tongue-click of my own. Whoa – you should have seen Lilah’s eyes. Her pupils pinned like crazy – she was so excited. Then she clicked again. And I answered her again. In this way we spent the next few minutes click-clicking back and forth. Totally surprising she then lowered her head and offered me her neck. An invitation for scritches? Wow!

Very, veeeerry carefully – I did not want to startle her – with two fingers, I gently scritched the feather brush above her nares. Then I proceeded a little bit upwards to the top of her head. And then – she raised her feathers for me for better access! How exciting! I gently worked my fingers a little bit into her neck feathers. Only very shortly, though, as I wanted to definitely stop before she would start to feel uncomfortable. After a short break and a few more clicks she offered me her sweet little head, again. And I gave a her a few more scritches. Then we stopped for the day, as I did not want to over tax her.

I am so curious what today will bring. We it be all forgotten? Or will Lailah wish to continue?