I was feeding yesterday morning, and it hit me how well my birds have conditioned me to do as they like during the morning feeding.
Elisa, linnie, has become quite territorial of the food dish in the back of the cage. From the second she sees my hands outside the cage near that dish, she is making her linnie fussing sound, also known as the linnie giggle, and charging at the dish. She even does this when I'm changing the dish is Daisy's cage, which is next to the cage she and Stanley share. Elisa will come clear out of the cage after my hand if given the opportunity. Her problem in this aggression? She does NOT bite! She doesn't even seem to know HOW to bite. So there she is, on the dish, scolding you, with nothing left to do.
After a while, if you just stare at her, she will start to preen herself as if that is what she intended to have happen all along. (Linnies must be related to cats.) She is the most obedient bird I have ever met. If you give her your hand and tell her to step up, no matter what she wants to do, she steps up.
Therefore, you can also have her step up from the dish and then just put her back in the cage. This seems to be less humiliating for the poor, frustrated little warrior.
Stanley, Bourkes, also has the rare times when she becomes as "aggressive" as Elisa. Then she charges across the cage with her beak open and her wings outspread, making bourkes screams, which, by the way, cannot even be heard in the next room.
If she gets to you, same result. She closes that little beak, climbs up onto your hand, and is very likely to run up your arm and start giving you kisses.
One difference, though, Stanley is NEVER embarrassed by what she does.
Most of the time, Stanley is not in a cage protective mood. On those days, she comes from wherever she was to watch the "battle" between Elisa and the hands.
She must realize her cage mate is all bluff, because when the food comes in, if it is something Stanley really wants first, but Elisa is eating it, Stanley will just go and stare at Elisa until Elisa finally gives up and either takes a bite for the road or goes to the other dish, at which time Stanley plops her entire self into the dish and eats whatever choice morsels she desires. She is not above removing food right out of Elisa's mouth if Elisa took the one piece she covetted the most. Elisa is the most valiant warrior, but Stanley gets the best of the spoils.
Daisy, Maximillian pionus, used to politely move to any part of the cage one asked her to move to. Therefore, it was easy to get her food dishes out and back in. She has now learned that if she plants herself firmly on the dish next to the cage door I will open the door, let her step out onto my hand for a few seconds, and then put her back in the cage. She goes back in without a fuss, so I let her have her little time out and back.
Shira, green cheek, will still follow my hands anywhere, so I can easily entice her away from the dishes when I need to remove them. This is not her issue. Her issue is that she simply LOVES to give me a little pinch.
It doesn't hurt, much, and it seems to make her feel so proud that I let her do it. When I go to retrieve her dishes, she runs over to and sits on her preferred pinching dish while I get the others. Then, when I come to that dish, she reaches out and pinches me once or twice while I am removing it. She is then as happy as a lark and goes about her daily toy attacking routine. Some day I may regret having allowed this, but she is too darn cute about it to stop now.
Roni, senegal, has been so ornery in the past about coming through the food dish door and then not wanting to return to the cage that I have taught her to go to a certain spot in the cage whenever she sees me feeding. If she goes there, she gets a pine nut. This was a long process because I tried many other solutions first, even letting her out of the cage to play while feeding her, before settling on this one. This has become my most common option of choice because she has turned every other one into something that keeps me with her for longer than I can normally spare at this time of day.
Ashlynn, on the other hand, taught ME that she was to be rewarded thusly. One day she started to wrestle with me with her dishes as I tried to remove them. No matter what dish, she would grab it. When I would let go, she would run over to a shelf she has in her cage and make a sweet little baby noise. Of course, I HAD to reward that with a pine nut. Now, if she is there on that shelf, and I don't notice her or realize what she wants, she will make the sound of the clicker.
She was hatched in mid-July. She has been home since Thanksgiving. I have my work cut out for me with this one. She is already clicker training ME!