Hand Navigation System (HNS)

Atilla can be quite the explorer when she is in the mood. Admittedly she sometimes gets a little helping hand from me, but it is all under her instructions. 

When sat on my hand she indicates where she wants to go & I lower or raise her to her destination. Occasionally she changes her mind or maybe I interpret the instruction wrongly & she wants to return to the starting position but more often than not, she will continue indicating where she wants to go until she reaches the target destination.  Any wrong turns or not acting quick enough result in a nasty nip to my finger tip, otherwise I get little squeezes to encourage me.

She has been the first to explore the inside of the folding cage.  She was also the first to eat seed from that cage resulting in Bezukhov following her in to join her, comfortable in the knowledge that if the leader is eating there, then it must be safe.

Atilla also likes to check the toys I hang from the bottom of the folding cage (a storage place!)

If I leave a favoured toy, perch or swing on the box under the Manor then Atilla soon knows about it & wants to investigate.  If the toy has a mirror, then she likes to visit on a regular basis.  She has been known to sit at the bottom of the Manor (under normal circumstances the Manor floor is a big NO-NO) waiting for my assistance to visit the Undermanor area.

The Three Musketeers

It has been a couple of months since Raspy’s untimely passing. 

Atilla, Cagney & Bezukhov have been coping well in her absence.  I believe the transition from 4 to 3 was made easier by them knowing that Raspy had passed on.  I like to think that soon after she took her last breath, her spirit was released & she flew around the room & gave her sister, her boyfriend & her Manor-mate a kiss before making her way to the Fields of Millet, Wild Grass & Swinging Perches.

Raspy’s presence was quite “challenging”.   She was the only one with the guts to stand up to Atilla.  For Cagney, Raspy was a challenge to woo – a tough cookie who never cracked.  She was, of course, totally committed to chubby chops himself, Bezukhov…

Bezukhov is lucky to have his mate Cagney to run & fly around with.  Their friendship in that respect has not changed at all.  However, there are times when Cagney is busy canoodling with Atilla, & Bezuky can look a bit lost, as if he’s thinking, “I used to have a lovely girl to canoodle with….”  At those times I try to give him some extra attention.  He is always ready to talk to my fingernail & has quite animated conversations.  I also hand feed him pellets. I would hate for him to feel left out. 

He is still fond of Atilla & tries to converse with her but she either ignores him or goes to give him a thump (no change there then).  It is nice that her behaviour towards him has not changed.  Occasionally she allows him to eat from the same seed pot as her, or even sit next to her on the perch.  When this happens it is almost like a signal to Cagney to not chase Bezuky away, but just let him be & I will see all 3 of them sitting comfortably together on the same perch. 🙂

Clinging to the chair

I have had my IKEA Poang chair for some time now.  At the moment, it is the only soft chair in the room as I only moved back the necessaries from when the floor was done.  Just recently, Atilla has decided the chair has good chewing potential.  Raspy was often on the chair with me but she was chewing my clothes.  Atilla likes to chew the back of the chair.  She clings onto the wooden frame & chews the material.  I have hung a tea-towel down the back so she can make holes in that rather than the chair cover.

Unfortunately, because she hangs onto the chair frame, it is not possible for me to sit in the chair at the same time as that would push the cushion back into the frame.  That means I have to sit on a hard chair or a stool whilst she is busy on my IKEA chair. 

You can see from the video above that I normally hide or store my web cam away by hooking it behind the chair. 🙂  I also hooked a seed pot there so she had something else to hold onto.

Watching the workmen

It has been some time since I posted on the building work being done at the back of the flats on what was originally greenbelt land (Red Crane post).  It is still going on but now the buildings are going up just beyond the trees (that have not been cut down yet).  There has definitely been less activity on the wild bird front. 😦 

Because of the close proximity of the buildings, the Toyboys now have a ringside seat, or rather, perch, & often take the opportunity to watch the workmen….

(Click on photos to enlarge)


During their last moult, there were a couple of days when Atilla would squawk very loudly at intervals.  It was like she was in pain & she kept moving her wing around from the shoulder joint.  I wondered if she had landed somewhere a bit funny & caught her wing. 

I was quite relieved a few days after to find one of her wing feathers at the bottom of the cage with dried blood at the end of it.  I am not sure what had happened with the feather, but I was glad she was rid of it.  The squawking was quite upsetting at the time!

Swing refurbishment

The other day I decided to do something about two of the wooden swings.  I was not happy about the exposed metal part so that was the main reason for taking them apart.  

The swings were more or less like the picture below.  The main difference is that they did not have so many wooden blocks so the top arc of the swing had exposed metal.  I did not like the string as it looked a bit dangerous so I replaced that with leather strips before introducing the swings to the puddings (pre-toyboys).

The first thing I did was prise the wire out of the bottom wooden perch so I could remove the wooden blocks.

After giving the swing & all the pieces a wash, I gathered all the possible pieces I could use to refurbish it.

I decided to use plastic straws as the main way to cover the metal.  I threaded on cut up pieces of straw (using the bendy part to go around corners!), beads & the wooden blocks.  In-between pieces, I tied leather strips & strips of colourful shredder.  I used a plastic disc with holes to hang it on a plastic shower curtain ring.  

[I like the shower curtain rings as they hook so easily over the bars yet the hook itself is quite deep so if there is a lot of swinging going on, it still will not fall off the bars.]

Here is the end result.

When I popped the swing back in the Manor, there was a little ripple of “Oooh… something new & scary!” & Bezukhov had to go to the far side of the Manor for safety. However, it did not take long for them to give it a poke in passing & now it seems it is Cagney’s preferred swing to lounge about on.  I often see him messing about with the different textures on either side.  🙂

Morning Poop

Nope, not the morning post, but the morning poop. 😀

Atilla does a particularly large poop first thing in the morning.  You can see an example below.  Shortly after, Cagney did his poop which is what I am pointing to with my finger.  You can get an idea of the size difference.  What look like other smaller poops to the south & west of Atilla’s morning poop are actually satellite poops, i.e., spawned from the main morning poop.

Morning poop with satellites & Cagney poop
The pooping couple


For some time now, I have wanted to get Atilla, Cagney & Bezukhov bathing on film.  

They have not got into baths, so their preferred form of bathing is being sprayed with water whilst they can romp about in some green leaves.  It is a bit awkward holding the misting bottle, keeping up the spraying & also filming at the same time however, I finally managed to get some good footage. 🙂

First up was Atilla.  Here she is, quite frankly, going a bit mental.  Woe betide anyone in Atilla’s way when it is misting time!  

Next up was Bezukhov.  He had a few goes.  His style is less frantic than Atilla’s.  He is more contained but there is a lot of wobbling, shaking & tipping over.

Cagney had been quite keen with mistings recently, but this time he took his time getting into it.  Nevertheless, I managed to get a few seconds of him on his belly, with his wings out, virtually crawling through the celery.  Yet again, another style of bathing.

Then Bezukhov wanted another jiggle in the celery. 🙂

Follow-up vet visit

Last October, I took Atilla to see Mr Avian Vet.  He suggested we have a follow up appointment  two months later to check Atilla’s progress.  Atilla was not well in December, with her infection & also the moult, so I left it until now, today in fact, to visit the vet.

Clinging to Atilla's cage

As per usual procedures, I got Atilla into the nicely spruced up travel cage the night before, to ensure we could leave for the vet in good time the next morning.  It was relatively easy getting her in the travel cage – I waited until she was laying across my hand to chew on the chair & then I cupped my other hand over her & quickly ushered her into the cage.

She was not happy about it.  The toyboys were not happy either.  For the rest of the evening they both clung to the side of the travel cage to be with Atilla.  I wondered if they would go back to the Manor for bed.  They finally went back for bedtime seed & were not impressed when I locked them in.  Cagney, in particular was running around trying to get to his girl.

Bedtime without Atilla

I put Atilla’s cage close to the Manor so overnight toyboys & Atilla could see each other.The next morning I left them both covered up a bit longer than usual to try & minimize stress but when I started bundling Atilla up, the toyboys began to shout.

After scraping ice off the car, myself & Atilla were on our way to the vet.  It is about a 40-45 minute drive to the Avian vet.  Atilla coped well & I think she even munched on a little millet during the journey.

Mr Avian Vet gave Atilla the usual prod & poke.  He said that the hernia has got larger & the undercarriage lump is probably about 50% hernia, 50% fat.  An operation is out of the question as she would not survive it.  Basically, I need to keep a close eye on her & watch out for difficulties in breathing, pooping & perching.  Of course, keeping a “close eye” on Atilla will not be difficult for me as it is part of my routine anyway….

Atilla's not far away

Once again, Atilla was bundled up & we made our way home.  This time Atilla managed a few chirps & it may well have been my imagination but I’m sure she was getting louder & chirpier the closer we got to home!

By the time I got her in through the front door, there were chirps all round, from Atilla & the toyboys.  Needless to say, the first thing I did was get Atilla into the lounge, unbundle her & let Cagney & Bezukhov out.  As soon as I opened the Manor, both boys slammed straight into the side of the travel cage & almost knocked it over in their haste to see Atilla.  Atilla, was also very quick off the mark when I opened up the travel cage & immediately flew to the Manor.  She then did her tour of inspection to make sure everything was how she had left it. Canoodling & smooching could then commence, although in this case it was mainly the two boys trying to kiss her at the same time.  They were overjoyed to have their leader back!  

The Leader

For the rest of the day, they shadowed her every move.  🙂

Remembering Raspy: Backward tilt

Atilla did something yesterday that reminded me of her sister….

Raspy would be sat on my finger, but want to check out something lower down (probably the hem of my jumper).  She would cling tightly with her claws onto my finger & then gradually lean backwards.  Sometimes she would do this until she was actually upside-down. 😀  She was funny that way.

Atilla did it ever so slightly.  I felt her claws tighten around my finger & then she started to go into the backward tilt but then stopped.  Raspy was the master of it really.