One of the most amazing things about working with birds is the building of trust between birds and their humans. When I took Ruthie home to foster, I thought the bonding process would take quite a long time. Ruthie had been injured by another bird and was feeling pretty bad when we first met. She’d lost feathers and some of the skin on her head, she was puffed and shaky, sticking mostly to the bottom of her cage. If I put my hand in her cage to change her food or water, she’d become very nervous, fluttering away from me, clearly wanting a good amount of space.
Once we got home, Ruthie was very quiet, not moving much, and seemed very worried. Over the next few days, she was kept in a warm, quiet place and received regular Reiki treatments, as well as as much food, water and millet she wanted. She was a slow starter, but once she decided she liked the food here, she began to eat regularly. My family has all spent time sitting quietly with Ruthie, helping her to understand that we were here to take care of her, and that we were willing to take things slowly. I’ve also been slowly working on introducing hands to her, as things that are gentle and that don’t necessarily bother birds every time they appear. The more time we spent sitting beside her cage, the closer she wanted to sit to us, and it wasn’t long before she began to preen and chirp while we spent time with her.
I’ve also begun to take Ruthie’s cage into the living room to spend some time getting used to being around more distractions. To my surprise, she seems to love being in the middle of everything! Yesterday she started to sing whenever a someone would enter the room… even the dogs! She’s also been communicating with my two cockatiels, chirping and calling back and forth with them. Arya and Thorin are thrilled to talk with her, as well. I think they are under the impression that I finally brought them home their very own pet bird!
It’s exciting to see the progress that Ruthie is making as she learns to trust her foster family. I’d never have imagined that she would become so brave, so quickly. She still needs time for her wounds to fully heal, however, I think her heart is healing better than I ever would have expected. She may never have a full head of feathers again, but she’s a beautiful little soul and we’re very lucky to have her with us as she grows stronger and heals inside and out.