Week 25: 950 Grams (April 23rd, 2006)
Well, Ariel has a nicely developed personality.  She is quite stubborn but generally sweet and handleable.  Her weight is increasing again and it is likely that she will reach 1000-1100 grams as an adult.  Our bring home Date is July 15th.  We could bring her home earlier but Jen and I want her introduction to our house to include both of us and I'll be away for the first two weeks in July.  We have decided to keep her flighted as well.  She hates the harness right now but hopefully, with patience, she will accept is as Merlin has.  Once the harness is on her she is quite happy as can be seen by pictures taken of her outside of our aviary.

Week 28: 1020 Grams (May 14th, 2006)
We now have a tentative date of mid July for Ariel's homecoming.  She is also beginning to regain some of her lost weight.  We brought Merlin in today to let the birds meet each other.  They didn't become friends but at least took to ignoring each other after and hour at which point Ariel settled down and became quite calm.  It's  evident that she is going to be an entirely different bird.  Merlin is playful and rambunctious and Ariel seems calm and subdued.  That's fine by me, I couldn't handle two Merlins.

Week 31: 970 Grams (June 4th, 2006)
Today we had the best day with Ariel since she has become an adult and began developing her own personality.  She would get growly whenever we tried to pet her but today we just ignored it and would grab hold of and kiss her beak every time she turned around to nip at us.  This worked wonders and by the visit's end we were scritching her under her wings and on her neck and she became totally calm and placid with us. It is actually the exact same technique we used with Merlin, just show the bird you don't mean it any harm but do not allow it to try to intimidate you with it's beak.  We will visit her one more time on June 25th and then hope to bring her home on July 15th right after I get back from a trip to Peru.  She is now weaning well and should be ready by then.  After seeing how well she can be handled we are really looking forward to the come home date.  She also now says 'Ariel', 'hello', and 'hi'.  We also brought Merlin again so the two birds could get acquainted and they seem to be doing OK with each other.

Week 39 (274 days since birth): 998 Grams (July 22nd, 2006)
After about 9 months of visits, and one year since her parent's nest box was opened Ariel has finally come home.  While she is picky about eating she seems to be settling in just fine.  She is playing with things and allows me to pick her up without any aggression.  She is reluctant to be pet and seems to prefer to watch me rather than interact but  I attribute this to the short period for which she has been in my house.  I'm guessing that she will be a very sweet bird within a few weeks and is going through transition shock right now.  

My greatest concern with bringing her home was how Merlin would react.  Right now I am not concerned.  He is clearly jealous but hasn't changed his behavior towards me in any way other than seeking more attention.  The two of them get along for the most part although Merlin is clearly trying to establish dominance from the get go.  As of now I will not allow them on a perch together or to be together in a room I am not in.  I will be bringing her to our vet next week for bloodwork and microchipping but given his insistence that Avalon has a spotless record I am not overly concerned.  I will post an update in a month or so.

Ariel & Merlin

Ariel & A Walnut

Big Cage

Ariel, Not  Sure About Me Yet

Week 45 (316 days since birth): 990 Grams (September 10th, 2006)
Ariel has now been with us for about 50 days.  She is finally starting to wean and is maintaining her weight on 20 or so grams of formula once a day (she had been getting 80-100 grams).  This whole process has required a good deal of patience but has been very rewarding because of it.  At first Ariel would exhibit no personality if anyone other than myself was present (including Jen, Merlin, Echo, Seth, or Blue).  Now she will talk to us and play with toys and seems to be gaining comfort with the world around her.  She is bright, friendly, and inquisitive and picks up words quite quickly.  I look forward to watching her personality develop with time.  Today was the first day she and Merlin would eat on the same perch.  They are beginning to accept each other. All though Merlin is still quite jealous of her presence he has not changed his behavior towards us and remains our goofy little friend.

We also have had both birds micochipped and they are now in a national register.  

1 Year, 3 Months, 3 weeks: 990 Grams (February 25th, 2007)
Where to begin?  It has been awhile since my last update and I somehow think one more update  after this one will pretty much finish up the saga that has been Ariel's youth.  After our girl had been home for a few months it was clear that she was not weaning and not very interactive.  We called the aviary who said to bring her to our vet Dr. Combs at West Ridge Animal Hospital and have her checked out.  The vet found a minor bacterial infection which he reccomended we treat with antibiotics.  He said it was the first time in decades he had seen an ill bird come from Avalon and it still mysterious how she developed the infection.

 The first night  of dosing went badly ands she reacted very fearfully to me after I dosed her.   I was worried that it would be a real strain on our relationship so I called my aviary.  They said I needed to bring her back to them to prevent harming out relationship and that they would dose her for a few weeks for me.  I was sad to part with my girl but knew it was for the best so off she went, back to Avalon on November 3rd.  Suzanne and everyone else were wonderful and treated her quite well.  She was even able to interact with a flock of 5 Greenwing babies which I think really helped her come out of her shell (Ariel was an only baby).  We visited her weekly and finally picked her up at the end of November.  After we picked her up we took her back to Dr. Combs and had a series of tests run on her (Avalon picked up the bill and was apologetic that we had ever received a sick bird).  The results came back and Ariel was fine.  I can't stress how much having a good aviary helped.  They covered her vet bills and took her back to heal her up.  I'd imagine it would have turned out differently without Suzanne's knowledge, kindness, and support.  At the least Ariel would have forever been fearful of me because of the medication.  I would especially like to thank Ruthie, one of Avalon's people, for coming to visit Ariel at our home and put her at ease as well as spend a great deal of time counseling me over the phone.  I know Ruthie is Ariel's favorite person (she raised our baby for us) and is welcome to visit us at any time.

Once Ariel came home she  was fully weaned.  She also opened up to us a great deal more and is talkative, alert, and friendly.  She and Merlin quickly became great friends and preen each other constantly.  Fortunately their friendship has not affected how they behave to us at all.  It has been a win win situation for everyone.  Merlin does like to bully her pretty much constantly though but that is his nature, he does it to us, the cats, strangers...  Even as I type this I can here him bothering her until she screams loudly after which he say 'You're OK, Good Girl, You're OK' then goes back to mischief.  

One other thing that had gone wrong with Ariel was her wing feathers.  Due to her illness, fearfulness, and clumsiness when we first got her she broke many of the feathers on one wing.  She lost so many that when a new one would come in it would break if she vigorously flapped her wings and hit something (there were no other feathers to buffer the new ones).  After watching our girl be flightless for months we brought her to Dr. Combs and explained the situation.  A month or so before this Dr. Combs had tried to save my cat
Seth who died much too young  from a mysterious illness.  After watching Dr. Combs work and being on the receiving end of his skill and kindness I'd pretty much trust him with anything so I figured I would take his advice.  He said that in rare cases birds with multiple missing feathers can not become flighted because a cycle of breakage ensues and that we should really sedate her and have the broken ones pulled.  I had already figured this would be necessary because as long as they were coming in individually the would keep breaking.  

We brought Ariel in and had the procedure done.  It went quite smoothly and the pain medication we gave her was easily injected in grapes so we avoided any fear responses.  As I write this, a few weeks have passed and a strong of 10 blood feathers are growing out of Ariel's wing.  We are feeding her a high protein diet supplemented with birdie bread, nuts, fruits, vegetables, beans, and pasta.  In another two months I expect my baby will be fully flighted.  It is a moment I am really looking forward  to.

I've watched this bird since she was an egg.  We have gone through weaning problems, bacterial problems, and flight problems but today she is a happy, healthy, friendly, beautiful bird. She is quiet and completely non-aggressive.  I am blessed to share my home and life with such incredible creatures. I just tell myself these problems balance out how easy Merlin was to introduce in our life.   I look forward to posting pictures of my girl in flight.  Stay Tuned.

Ariel really likes the camera

Sleepy Bird

Good Friends

Merlin The Bully

Merlin The Bully Part 2

Ariel Is safe But Now It Is My Turn

1 Year, 4 Months, 2 weeks: 973 Grams (April 20th, 2007)
VIDEO (64 mb)
After a couple  months Ariel's feather's have all grown back in.  At first she had a hard time flying but with patience and a lot of tossing her about she is now flying quite well.  She enjoys it tremendously but for some reason won't take off on her own.  She doesn't seem to know she can fly without being picked up first and still flaps furiously without taking off when she wants to leave the perch.  I'm guessing this to will pass.  She now makes turns quite nicely and Jen and I are beginning the process of recall training her.  

Without a doubt birds are meant to fly.  She was a quiet, shy character for the first year and 3 months but as soon as she was able to fly she perked right up. She is more confident, talkative, inquisitive, and friendly.  The transformation reminded me of the book 'Leo the late bloomer' which is about a lion cub growing up.  The only sad thing is I can't take her outside now.  She is terrified of the harness and I'm not sure I want to force it on her.  Jen and I are going to try a different one  and see if we can get  her to accept it with time but for now I'm just happy to see her flying.  She really has grown into an absolutely delightful, sweet bird.  This animal doesn't have an ounce of malice in her and she tries to befriend the cats.

Ariel Cruising the House, Jen thinking she might be tasty

Ariel and Blue

I live in a zoo

Ariel learning to come and having fun

Ariel And The New Ktiten, She's A Sweetheart Of A Bird

1 Year, 8 Months, 1 weeks: 990 Grams (July 10th, 2007)
No new picture to post but a quick update.  Ariel's speaking ability is going through the roof.  I'm not sure what motivated it but it seems that after she was a confident flier that her vocabulary shot up.  She also got even friendlier and happier after she could fly again.  She now chatters endlessly and says: almond, thirsty, I love you, Hi, Ouch, aaargh, Hi birdy, Hey there big birdy, hi baby, how you doing, and other things I quite make out yet.  I feel even more strongly that depriving these creatures of flight does more damage than people are aware of.  Watching her transformation from pre-flight to post flight has been quite amazing.

2 Years, 1 week: 1000 Grams (November 14th, 2007)
New Movies of Ariel And Merlin playing and Talking
Ariel has settled in nicely.  She is extremely affectionate and talkative.  She is still afraid of being harnessed so we very rarely take her for a walk which is a shame because she recognizes what the harness means and gets very sad when we leave with Merlin.  Other than that she is very happy and continues to learn new words at an amazing rate.  She has picked up thirsty, hungry, hi big baby, shower, and even more.  She is also very bright and uses them contextually.  I'm going to be sad when she leaves the baby phase because right now I can scritch her for a long time.

2 Years, 10 Months: 1000 Grams (September 29th, 2008)
Patience, that's really what it takes with birds, patience and kindness. (Oh yes, also letting them fly is right up there.) I look back at Ariel's progress and can't believe that she started out as a scared and unfriendly bird.  She now talks all day long, comes over uninvited, initiates playing, and is all in all, one friendly, outgoing, sweet little greenwing.  She'll wrestle just like Merlin now and won't go away when you are sitting on the couch.  

Ariel, Page 1