I knew it! No bird can be as perfect as Archie initially seemed! He *does* have a flaw! The rest of us can now breathe easier knowing that we do not, in fact, have to strive to some seemingly impossible standard that Archie had set for perfection in sentient beings. As it turns out, he’s got some obsession and jealousy issues. As I’ve handled him more and become more familiar with his vocalizations and habits, I’ve noticed that he is extremely tuned in to every single thing I am doing, and what initially seemed to me to be random vocalizations, in fact turns out to be direct attempts to communicate with me. If I raise my voice or make high pitched baby talk to the animals, he starts shrieking. If I clear my throat, burp, or play-growl at the dog, he makes the “hocking up a loogie” noise that we filmed a few days ago. If I’m pouring bird food into foraging toys, he makes a swishy noise that actually sounds pretty similar. If I open my bedroom door, which squeaks, he squeaks with impressive mimicry. If I leave the house, Chuck reports that he loudly contact calls the entire time I’m gone. In other words, he has made me his world.
While this might seem flattering, it’s actually not a desirable trait. First of all, he needs to gain a sense of self, and be able to be independent. His happiness should not rely on my presence. Secondly, it isn’t pleasant for Chuck to have to listen to him contact calling any time I’m away from home. But most importantly, he is seriously jealous of Chuck, which is no bueno. A couple of nights ago, we were sitting next to each other on the couch and Archie was hanging out on my chest. He looked over at Chuck and decided that he had no business sitting next to me, so he flew/ran over and attacked his ear. Fortunately, I was able to detach him before he did too much damage, but he did draw blood.
So we do have our work cut out for us after all. First of all, Chuck and I are sharing the feeding duties, and Chuck is the only one who gets to give Archie pistachio through the cage bars. Secondly, I’m going to have Chuck take part in training Archie to perform some basic tasks, like targeting, accepting liquid from a syringe, and perhaps raising his crest on cue. Thirdly, when I have Archie out with me, he’s going to get a treat every time Chuck walks into the room, and when he’s calm about that, he’ll get treats for exhibiting calm behavior as Chuck decreases his distance between us. We’ll go from there.
Unfortunately, I’m not sure how we’ll be able to film any of this, since both Chuck and I will be handling Archie so neither of us will be in a position to film. Perhaps it’s time to buy a real camcorder with a tripod.
In the meantime, here are a couple of somewhat boring videos of Archie and me hanging out together. In the first one, he had been bunny hopping towards me on the floor, which I wanted to film, but then of course he stopped. In the second one, he had flown around the room – including making full turns, without a tail, magically enough – which I again was hoping to film, but when I put him back on the sofa arm where he had initially launched himself, he was only interested in hanging out, as you will see, should you decide to watch them. In summary, both videos are failed attempts at recording something interesting and instead capturing something entirely unimpressive, but if you’re really in the mood to watch a cute little Hawkhead be his delightful self, here ya go: