I bought Jack at the start of 2010. He was in an overcrowded bird store, I felt sorry for him, and we had a lonely female galah at home. He was terrified of people (especially their hands) when we first got him, and as you can see from the above picture, would hide in the dark corner of his cage.
My family has had a variety of ups and downs with him. He does not like my sister at all, seemingly because she’s a blonde. He’d only let me lightly pat his head through the wires, if my hand was in the actual cage he would viciously bite and scratch. Dad was the one he took to the most; even then, he’d randomly snap and attack his ears/face. He’s dive bombed all of us, bitten a chunk out of my lip and drawn blood countless times. He’d fly onto your shoulder, let you pat him for 10 seconds and then he’d turn on you. He wanted affection but he was still so insecure and defensive.
His mimicking ability is insane - he’s learnt both of our dogs names, whistles to them and calls them whenever we open the backyard door. He imitates my cough spot on (from when I was sick for a month straight), repeats the sound of any compressed air can, produces the sound of water being poured/bubbles, he makes a smooch noise followed by “kiss kiss”, will call out “Mish!”, and regularly waffles on with “What’s wrong?”, “Twit twit tawoo”, “What are you doing?”, “Good boy Jack!”, “HELLO!” etc. The list goes on, and I daresay will grow even longer.
I’m writing about him because, today, we had a breakthrough. At first he let me pat him all over, wings included, and then he sat on my wrist with no attacks, just light exploratory nibbling. I started rough housing him a little, like you would a puppy, and he loved it. He ended up laying flat on his back on my open hand, his feet in the air as I scratched his tummy. Then I brought him closer to me, and I CUDDLED HIM. He snuggled his head into my chest and repeatedly whispered “kiss kiss”. I hugged him like that for a solid 5 minutes. He didn’t want it to end and was so happy to be held.
It took over four years for him to finally let his walls down and just be loved. Galahs can live for 65 years, so knowing that he enjoys my company and can be truly happy, makes a big difference. I’m stoked.
Update: Here’s a video of Jack, no longer afraid.