Archie’s awesomeness continues to expand, and I’m not ashamed to publicly admit that I am approximately 100,000% head over in heels in love with this bird. Since I last wrote about him, Chuck has been faithfully purveying pistachios to all of the birds while they are in their cages, including Archie. At first, Archie’s approach to taking nuts from Chuck was a sort of snatch and grab affair. Over the course of a few days, however, he became calmer and more gentle when accepting the treats. And finally, for the past few days, he’s been downright eager.
Yesterday, I had Archie on my lap on the sofa, and whenever Chuck would walk in the room I’d give him a pistachio. After about an hour, Chuck picked up the bag of pistachios to give one to the other birds, and Archie flew straight at Chuck. As you might remember, last time Archie flew at Chuck, he attacked his ear, so naturally Chuck immediately dropped into a turtle pose and flipped his hood over his head. Archie landed on Chuck’s back but then slid to the floor. Chuck stood back up, but Archie was looking intently at Chuck without any sign of aggression. So I picked him up and asked Chuck to try giving him a treat. When Chuck reached for the treat bag, Archie flew towards him again. Chuck turtled himself again, and Archie once again landed on his back. But again, no aggression, just calm body language and quiet chatting. I once again asked Archie to stand up, and then Chuck and I stood there in the kitchen while Chuck gave Archie pistachios. Each time Chuck offered a pistachio, I took a step closer to him, until the two of us were almost touching and Archie was standing on my hand touching Chuck’s treat hand. He happily munched away on nuts, without the slightest hint of aggression.
Jealousy issues? What jealousy issues? Archie thinks Chuck is the bee’s knees.
His unpleasant vocalizations are improving, too. He still gets obnoxious from time to time, but he’s been quiet throughout the night for a while now, and he no longer contact calls constantly while I’m gone, either. He’s also quiet during large periods of time during the day. The only time he really gets loud and obnoxious now is when the ambient energy of the house is kind of jacked up. When the TV or Cah’ya gets loud, so does he. When I had a stressful drive home and arrived feeling kind of cross and tense, he got loud. When Chuck had a frustrating conversation with a client and was telling me about it, he got loud. This is all completely normal and to be expected, and is a vast improvement on his seeming indiscriminate loudness when he first arrived. We’re still working to improve it, though. He gets ignored for the loudness and praised for the cute noises. Considering it’s only been two weeks since he came here, I’d say he’s making some damn fine progress.
And also, it turns out, he’s a total cuddlebug. Whozawhat??? Birdy bliss, thy name is Archie. While he was hanging out with me yesterday, I tentatively reached out a finger and lightly touched his wing to see how he’d respond to scritches. He instantly popped up that wing, exposing the underside. I tentatively touched him under his wing, and his face just melted into utter bliss. He sank towards my fingers, lifted his other wing, then let me scritch all underneath his wings (Note to those of you who are thinking to yourselves, “She shouldn’t be doing that! She could be sexually stimulating him!”: Yeah. I know. I am fully aware that touching him under his wings, around the vent, or on his back could indeed induce sexual behaviors. However, he’s in his twenties and so far hasn’t displayed any sexual behaviors towards me whatsoever, so at this point in our relationship I’m more interested in determining what kind of manhandling he is comfortable with than in avoiding touching him for fear of any potential issues down the road. For instance, now that I know he’s comfortable with being touched on and around his wings, I’m going to make harness training a priority because I know it will be much easier to train him than, say, Yodit, who is not a fan of anyone touching her wings, thankyouverymuchyoutouchyfeelyhumansyou). I then tried touching his crest, and he lifted it enough so I could get my fingers between the feathers and then pressed his head into my hand so that my fingers could get all around his neck, beak, and throat. The whole time, he was chatting softly and had the most adorable blissed-out look on his face. I WANT TO SQUEEZE HIM AND SMOTHER HIM IN KISSES. His cuteness far exceeds any reasonable quota that an individual animal should be allowed to have.
As if that wasn’t endearing enough, he also loves to burrow. Here’s a video of his charming, burrowy ways: