My friend has the mentality of a perceptive and inventive 3-year-old. He can revisit his wild nature at any time with split-second speed. We are a constant duality working together to achieve a balance.
Small children his age and I don’t usually live comfortably in the same space; so to relate with him as he is, took a lot of trial and error. I know I have errored when I am nursing his bite.
He has taught me a lot about reading body language and feelings; where I have taught him how to live within the human world. I teach him these things for his safety and mine. You know, ground rules and boundaries. Yet, I use what he has taught me every day.
I look upon Joey as my companion and I treat him that way because I don’t want to humanize him. He is from the wild and I have a rare opportunity to live with a species whose ancestors are dinosaurs. If I treat him like a human, I wouldn’t learn anything about his natural state of being. The way he moves his feathers, his vocals, little noises when he is around me, and how he can move his body into different postures according to what he is going through in his head.
He has been teaching me about how to approach him the right way; a look before I leap type thing. I stop and observe him and note how close his feathers are to his body. As I am doing this, he looks at me over as well. I catch him looking in my eyes when he is assessing me. I have learned that if he feels angry or not wanting interaction; I let him be until he is ready to hang around with me.
As a bonding thing, we will eat together (a flock behavior), hang out while he preens his feathers on the couch (and most times I help). He loves my hand under his wing when he sits on the arm of the couch. He will fall asleep like that or perched on my shoulder. I wouldn’t let him do that if his energy felt aggressive. We play fetch with plastic bottles before he destroys them all over the place. He even has a favorite toy.
I realize that I need to write down what I have learned about living with a wild creature. There are many things we don’t do because he isn’t hand raised. Maybe we’ll get there maybe we won’t. I socialize him and he is such a different bird away from home. He has gone camping with me, to company picnics, and hanging out in a friend’s backyard.
He surprises me. He is a clown. He is inventive. He loves to play. He likes to be with me. He gets jealous of phone calls and computers and he gets his full self in the act of making me stop. He watches sunsets with me then screams for 15 minutes afterward. It is in his nature to do this to call the flock home. My neighbors all know Joey.
I will write more about Joey.