Sunday, February 15, 2009

Get Educated. Parrot Info and You

Information on Internet Business Practices
That Target Companion Parrot Owners

Prepared by Barbara Heidenreich of Good Bird Inc

The internet is a highly successful medium for selling products for business owners focused on the companion parrot community. While in most cases these companies are operating in a legal and fair manner, not all sellers adhere to the highest standards of ethical business practices. In some cases the seller is practicing fraud on the consumer by misrepresenting themselves and their materials. These types of trade practices are considered unfair and deceptive and are investigated by the Attorney General and The Federal Trade Commission when reported.

If these practices are not brought to the attention of the buying public, consumers do not have the opportunity to practice discretion and make educated decisions as to where to spend their money. In addition new members of the online parrot community may not be informed enough to adequately evaluate whether use of the materials from these sites may be harmful to their parrots. Unfortunately the highest profile on the internet does not always equal the highest standard in ethical business practices or training information. It is for this reason Good Bird Inc has prepared the following position statements and information.


1. Good Bird Inc believes it is important to respect intellectual copyrights. This extends to and includes any videos, written material and photographs.

2. Good Bird Inc recognizes plagiarism as an unfair and deceptive trade practice.

3. Good Bird Inc believes in disclosure of one’s sources for material. This includes listing references and resources for content that is the result of studying the material of scientists, researchers, and other professionals.

4. Good Bird Inc advocates promoting the use of the least intrusive, most positive methods of parrot training as identified by the science of Behavior Analysis

5. Good Bird Inc supports using the terminology as defined by the science of Behavior Analysis to teach people how to train their parrots.

6. Good Bird Inc believes responsible teaching of animal training information requires that the teacher demonstrates a clear understanding of the science of Behavior Analysis and its appropriate use to influence behavior.

7. Good Bird Inc believes successful marketing does not require the use of “scare tactics” to generate interest in a product.

8. Good Bird Inc believes the use of false testimonials to misrepresent the skills and qualifications of the site owner and/or the efficacy of the product is a deceptive trade practice.

9. Good Bird Inc respects the rights of individuals to privacy including those participating in chat groups.

10. Good Bird Inc advocates transparency of ownership of websites, blogs, and other vehicles used to market materials.

11. Good Bird Inc believes the misrepresentation of oneself on a chat group to attempt to market products is a deceptive and unfair trade practice.

Buyer Beware. Red Flags to Alert Consumers:

Carefully scrutinize sites that make claims similar to the following:

•No one has discovered this before
•Parrot training secrets revealed
•The secrets the professionals don’t want you to know
•Never before revealed training secrets
•Secrets to parrot training (anything claiming to be the “secret” is questionable)
•Revolutionary training techniques
•Stop your parrot biting instantly
•Professionals don’t even have this information
•New methods of training
•Our newly discovered technique
•Never been seen before
•Even the professionals are amazed
•Guaranteed to work in X number of days
•Will work on any parrot
•Guaranteed to fix your parrot behavior problems
•Any line that tries to scare you into buying something
•Parrot trainers are shocked by this product
•Quick fixes for your parrot
•This system is the only one that works
•Drastic results in X hours
•You can easily train your bird to talk in X hours/days or less
•These techniques will make your parrot love you!
•You will be able to hold conversations with your bird


•Sites that use the language described above.

•Sites that emphasize methods that are easy and fast.

•Sites that feature teachers who lack credentials as professionals in the industry and/or include self proclaimed titles of experience. (Look for credentials. These may include affiliations with recognized professional organizations, degrees or certification in the profession, a resume or CV that demonstrates professional hands-on experience in the industry.)
•Sites that misrepresent self-produced ebooks as books published by major publishing houses.

•Sites that lack any references or affiliation to other materials and professionals known in the field. (Established professionals usually work together in a cooperative and/or collaborative way with other recognized professionals. This usually includes references to other sources of information and products on their sites in addition to their own)

What You Can Do:

1. File a Report:

If you suspect an internet marketer is operating in a manner that would be considered unfair trade practices and/or deceptive or if you are a victim of any of the examples listed above you can file a claim with your State Attorney General’s office. Each state has a different office. An internet search should be able to provide a link to the office in your state.

You can also file with the Federal Trade Commission

3. Support Your Recognized Avian Professionals:

Not all business people that use the internet to sell product engage in activities that are questionable. The following represents a short list of sources that are genuine in their effort to provide quality information and sincerely want parrots and people to experience the best relationship possible via a positive reinforcement approach to training. By no means are these the only good sources.

Good Bird Inc supports the following internet information resources. When seeking information about parrot training please visit their sites and buy their products.

Ellen K. Cook, DVM

Susan Friedman, PhD

Barbara Heidenreich

Steve Martin

Jim McKendry

Rebecca O Connor

Sid Price

Karen Pryor

Linda Rasmussen

Chris Shank

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Bizarre Rare Parrot......The Feather Duster

Behold the feather duster. Kind of a controversial topic I have discovered. Apparently they are a rare mutation of the English Budgie. I recently met Munchkin a feather duster hatched at J & M Aviaries in Austin, TX. I remember when Linda and Jerry told me they might have a feather duster baby. They were hand raising a few budgies and one appeared with unusual feathers. At first they thought it might be a disease such as psittacine beak and feather. They had even thought they might need to euthanize the bird to protect the flock. Fortunately they realized what they had on their hands was one of these rare mutations.

The controversy over these parrots is that there is concern that they don’t live long and that the feathers create a hardship in their lives. This can mean challenges seeing and also keeping the feathers clean. The shorter life span has been attributed to the nutrient requirements for feather growth. All of this may be true for some, but what we all wondered is how many people actual have the opportunity to give a feather duster the kind of attention it needs to live a healthy life?

As a small facility J & M is able devote plenty of time to each bird. Larger aviaries that hatch a feather duster may not have that luxury. Munchkin goes home every night with staff and is attended to all day at the aviary.

As a hand raised baby he is extremely engaging and appears to respond enthusiastically to attention. In this video clip, you can see him perk up when he hears his name called and spin circles when Linda comes closer.

In one article I saw comments that it was unkind to allow feather dusters to survive. I found this difficult to agree with after watching Munchkin. He certainly did not seem to be suffering and in fact he was as vital as any bird I had seen. He has a preferred toy that he rests up against (made by the Leather Elves….Robin is quite proud I am sure!) and probably gets more attention than most parrots I know.

Working in bird shows for so many years I often had the privilege to work with and train some unusual cases ….a blind Harris Hawk named Storm; a Barred Owl with brain damage due to a head trauma named Mr. Magoo, and an amazing wing injured Bald Eagle named Hope. One thing that amazed me is how adaptable these animals are. As with any animal the goal was always to use positive reinforcement to help makes their lives as rewarding as possible. And in turn they helped educate and inspire so many people despite their personal individual challenges.

I hope people can look at Munchkin as a special bird who happened to hatch into the hands of some people who care deeply for him. With any luck he will teach us more about this unique condition and how best to care for feather dusters.

Barbara Heidenreich

Copyright 2009 Good Bird Inc

Sunday, February 1, 2009

My Cockatiel Condo

The best thing I did for my cockatiel was buy something made for a ferret. I realize some may scratching their heads at this statement. But it is true. I was looking for more spacious accommodations for my little guy. I wanted as big as I could get and of course a reasonable price.

I wandered into the small mammal aisles when I wasn’t finding what I had in mind in the bird section. It was there I found a ferret cage. One of the features that caught my attention was the “shelves” specially designed for a lounging ferret.

During his “Australian Walkabout” time in my humble abode, my cockatiel likes to spend a great deal of time on the window sill. He seems to prefer the flat surface scattered with toys that he can fling about. He also likes to destroy treat sticks and forage around for the crumbs.

Traditional bird cages don’t seem to fit the bill in regard to parrot species that spend a bunch of time on the ground. The new ferret cage was perfect.

Toys, foraging activities, cuttle bone, treat sticks, etc can all be placed on the shelf. And as Gomer Pyle says “surprise, surprise”…guess where my cockatiel spends most of his time? Yup, on the shelf…..the ferret shelf. Even though perching and the food bowl are above the shelf, my cockatiel seems to rarely leave any deposits there. Mostly I find remnants from time spend foraging or playing with various toys. I do put a few paper towels down, but clean up is pretty much accomplished by a quick pass with the hose from the vacuum. If a scrub down is in order, it is pretty simple as the shelf is plastic……PURPLE plastic. Prince would be proud.

I also love that the cage has three big giant doors, and one is on the top of the cage. I did not use the tubes and slides provided and only kept one shelf in there. I also did have to add perching, feeding stations and toys. But all in all it worked out well for Banana Puddin'.

My ferret find has turned into my new cockatiel condo.

Barbara Heidenreich

Copyright 2009 Good Bird Inc