The Dangers of Aviculture

My hands and arms are covered in scratches. My neck is scabbed over. My legs are bruised and my toenails black. All because of my birds. More or less.

I tried to get a lot done at one time last Friday as I was going out of town for the weekend. I needed a clean dish, so I reached into a plastic tub. I didn’t bother to pull the tub off the shelf and take the lid off all the way. No, I unsnapped one side of the lid and reached in. On the way out, something on the lid scratched me across my forearm. Lovely.

I have bruises on my arms from bumping into cages, and the tight area in the aviary. I get smacked in the face by wings pretty often. Once a terrified cockatiel would not let go of my hair, so I lost a few strands.

Featured image  You go for the face, I’ll get the hair.

When I give my birds time out of their cages, they usually love it. Some days they don’t leave the cage, but at least they have the option. And some days they don’t want to go back in. I really wish I could let them be out all the time, but that doesn’t work. This scar on my palm is from an argument with a cockatiel about returning to the cage. I won, but she made her point.

My sun conure, Sunny, is very good with people most of the time, but aggressive with other birds. She and her mate Zazu have a stainless steel water dish. When I pulled it out of the cage one time, Sunny lunged at the reflection of the strange bird. She nailed my thumb.

Because Maynard would rip Mike’s feet to shreds, we have a metal shelf as a barrier between my desk and Mike’s. We step over it usually without any issues, but one time I brought my naked foot down hard on the top of the shelf. I believe I said a few words that I learned from the parrots. My second toe swelled up and the toe and nail turned black. That one took a long time to heal, and I am still waiting for the last black spot to move off the toenail.

Sometimes I step on something like a sunflower seed shell and it sticks to the bottom of my foot. I then wisely (for certain values of wise) wipe the bottom of one foot on the top of the other. I rip a long scratch on the top of my foot, 9 times out of 10.

Baby birds have sharp tiny claws. Fin loves to sit on my neck and not just dig his claws in but also bite any skin tags he sees. I begin to think he’s a carnivore.

Featured image  Perfecting his innocent look

And Maynard learned a Stupid Parrot Trick. He hates to step up for a hand. He does well with a perch. Sometimes I am sitting in my chair while he has floor time, and then he wants to come join me. So I put my foot on the floor, and he steps up. He likes to then sit on my shin. For hours at a time. I know he doesn’t weigh a whole bunch, but I have the divots to prove that he’s stronger than my skin. Good thing I love him.

Thanks for reading. I’ll be back on Sunday.

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