Again, this was another trial and error process. Ethel was unable to perch on most perches. However, I did find that she had a better hold on the bottle brush perches. So, I bought different sizes in order to get her to use her feet and work on her strength and dexterity. The all started low because she was weak and unsteady on her feet…but within a month or so they were being moved up little by little. I also found swing perches amazing! She loved it. Oh she would fall! BUT she loved that perch so much she kept trying..which was a godsend! It forced her to use different muscles in her legs and concentrate even more on her balance…and soon…believe it or not…she was swinging on it..not like most birds…not back and forth…but from side to side..another muscle strengthener! Hooray! I know it sounds funny…but I really believe that Ethel challenged herself more than I challenged her! She had a will and determination that I fail to see in most people around me.
It makes me laugh when people tell me that I did something wonderful by bringing her where she is today. I really didn’t do it. Ethel did. She wanted to learn. She wanted to break out of that shell..and she did..in her own time..in her own way. I simply gave her a few tools to do that.
Through the months I found that Ethel also responded to music..whether it was me singing or the widow on..it literally brought her out of the fog that she had been in. She became more responsive…more alert. To this day..Ethel still has a radio playing all day in the bird room.
Today…Ethel is a loving…strong-willed…and yes, slightly spoiled…mature macaw! Unless I told you what to look for – you wouldn’t know she was any different from any other four year old macaw. Yes…sometimes I have to remind her to open her right talon…but she does…and it’s as strong as the other. BUT other than that…she is a macaw who will scream without her bananas on her chop, protest when I put her on her tree (she would rather me carry her around everywhere), and when mad….believe it or not..it starts with toe tapping on her cage…when that’s ignored…it’s a full protest of swinging from the top of her cage while yelling for me.