I'd like to ask your advice regarding my ten or so week old splendid/scarlet chested grass parakeet.
He was the only bird in his clutch and was hand fed and was very, very tame when he came home. He would come out of the cage when we opened the door to get to us, and would step up any time a finger was presented.
Something has frightened him, and within the last two days he has become frightened of nearly everything. Once he is on my hands, he doesn't really want to get off usually. He still seems to enjoy interacting and doesn't seem to want to go back inside his cage. He doesn't jump off and go play with his things when I put him inside the cage. He just sits there and looks at me like he doesn't want to be left in there.
If he gets on the floor, he often runs in terror. If I can get in front of him and get him to watch me and say, "Step up", while slowly approaching him with my finger, he will often stay where he is and step up, but at other times he just runs as if he is totally terrified, and sometimes, for his safety, I have had to just grab him.
If it is safe to do so, I will lay down on the floor and tap my fingers on the ground before moving toward him, and this will work - sometimes.
He still will play on me like he is very happy and relaxed to be there. He will "sing" at the top of his lungs while he is playing around on me. He also "preens" me.
I don't know if he got frightened because he fell behind the couch and we had to get him out, if my nine-year-old did something to frighten him that I didn't see or if she frightened him just by being herself, if something else happened that I don't know about, or if this is just a normal stage for a scarlet chested to go through. I am pretty sure he has had a great fright, I just have no idea what it was.
I try to be very careful now when I want to present my finger to him even when he is playing on me. I say, "Step up", before I even start to bring the finger toward him. He looks for the finger. As soon as he sees it, I stop moving it and say it again. This usually works. He ususally doesn't get scared then.
I have also gone back to the step up practices from hand-to-hand you do when you are first teaching that. As long as he realizes what we are doing, he is not afraid.
Do any of you have other suggestions? He was soooooooooo loving and trusting until two days ago. I am devastated that something has occurred in my home that has scared him.
He is helping me type right now. He is actually on my hands while I am typing, and, of course, that is fast finger movement, but he is just pecking at my fingers and it isn't bothering him at all.
I notice he is especially terrified of any hand-held perch. He is also afraid of the new play gym every time he first arrives there, but once he realizes where he is, he stays there and plays.
He just fell off my hands onto the keyboard, and that scared him silly, I thought he was going to hurt himself, but I was able to get him off.
I would welcome any suggestions. I feel horrible that I let this happen.
It seems like he is afraid of nearly everything.