A One-Person Bird

Believe it or not, you can have a bird that hates you, but when you put it into a different environment, you can have an entirely different bird.

Isabel lived with a couple for 30 years, but they could never touch her. She would bite. As the people aged and they bled more easily, they brought her to us, but the same thing happened to anyone trying to touch her. Ouch.

We’ve learned over the years to respect a bird’s choices, so our engineer Ron Johnson would simply walk by Isabel’s cage and talk to her. Over and over, every time he passed by, for weeks at a time, he just talked to her. Then one day, when he was at dinner and Isabel was out of her cage on the porch, she swooped down onto Ron’s shoulder, crawled into his lap, and started to eat off of Ron’s plate.

He thought, “Now how am I going to get her back in her cage without being torn apart?” But she stepped right up onto his hand and went right back in. Now he can reach in, scruff her all over, play with her and if he opens her cage, she’ll be right back in his lap again.

Evidently, because of Ron’s voice, the talking to, the not screwing with her, Isabel bonded to him. To this day, she’ll bite anyone who sticks a hand into her cage. Except Ron.

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