Window Warrior ----      (narrated by "Mum")

 
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A Typical Day Laka's Adoption 
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Window Warrior Harness Training for Laka  

Our very first day with Laka in our home, we started having trouble.  Maybe I should say she started having trouble.

Laka had not been around windows much, and she had several window collisions the first couple of days in our house.  She would fly up and ram directly into the window, then drop like a sack of potatoes, flapping all the way.  The collision was bad enough, but she'd also hit the window sill on the way down.   It was an awful thing to witness.

She was a pretty good flier when we got her, but because she's so young, she didn't have the muscle tone yet to get up a lot of speed.  She could  lift, turn, and land reasonably well.  We wanted to let her fly and develop the strength and confidence she should have, but my nightmare was that she'd soon be able to cruise from one end of the house to the other.  If she didn't grasp the idea of "windows" before she started doing that, she might cruise straight through the house, bank into a turn and crash hard enough to do some real damage.

She also didn't seem to realize that the ceiling is there.  A couple of times she flew up so high that she grazed the textured ceiling in the family room with her head.  The result was nasty looking scrapes on her nares.  The final straw came when she cracked straight into a window in our dining area.  She dropped and hit the window crank hard, knocking off a couple of feathers above the eye and sustaining cuts and a nasty scrape on her left cheek.
(Feb. 11, 2007)  Pretty awful looking, isn't it?  All this was from hitting the window sills  after crashing into the window.  

I much prefer to leave my birds' feathers alone, but Laka's crash landings were quite alarming.  We have a lot of windows in our house, and although she did seem to be starting to learn the boundaries, I was very concerned that a severe injury was in her future.  

With reluctance, we asked our vet to give her a very light trim - just enough to slow her down.

Well it worked - but a little too well.  The vet trimmed a mere 2 inches from her primary flights - but Laka just went into shock over it and after one attempt to fly once we got home, stopped trying altogether.

Here she is contemplating a small flight of stairs. 

She's perfectly capable of making a little "hop-flight" to get down, but instead she'll walk (a much more laborious and time-consuming way to do it). 

She looks, turns around, then lowers one foot over the edge.  Once she lets the other foot down, she flicks her wings up to maintain balance. 

One more step to go.... 

And off she goes, looking for mischief. 

I have to admit that there was a certain amount of "convenience" to having a parrot who won't fly - but Laka turned into a total perch potato overnight.  Not good.  Now I worried that she wasn't not getting any exercise and her chest muscles would go flabby.  

(Sep.  2007)  Here we are having a "flapflap" session.   
With that in mind, I started her on "flapflap" practice.  This is done by my holding her on my hand or forearm and raising/lowering her just quickly enough that she has to flap her wings a little to maintain balance.  She didn't  care for this much (neither did I) but it helped her to retain and build chest muscle strength so that she could fly again.

 

Eventually, the clipped feathers molted out and she grew replacements.  

One day during "flapflap" practice, she suddenly lifted from my hand and took off.  Much to my dismay, she went straight for the window, and I knew she was going to hit it.  I yelled "WINDOW!" and in that split second before she collided, she changed the angle of her wings and tail - and had a look on her face which said "Oh... #$*&!"


(Jan. 2008)  Nearly all the clipped feathers have molted (it's been almost a year since she was trimmed). 

These days whenever she takes flight, my husband and I automatically yell "WINDOW!", knowing that is right where she's headed.  She's still obstinately going straight for the glass, but on several occasions she's slowed down enough at the end to only thud slightly, and can catch herself and turn around instead of dropping to the floor.  It's not great, but it's an improvement.