Saturday, December 11, 2010

Training a New Parrot!

I have a new addition to my flock of parrots. Meet Blu Lu a Blue Throated Macaw. Blu Lu was hatched at the Bird Endowment. The Bird Endowment is dedicated to Blue Throated Macaw conservation. They support conservation efforts in the field by providing nest boxes and sponsoring the work of field researchers who monitor the nest boxes and the tiny wild population that exists. Because there are so few left in the wild, another way the Bird Endowment is helping preserve Blue Throated Macaws is to maintain a genetically diverse flock of them in captivity. These birds live in large flight cages and are encouraged to behave like parrots, not pets. If for any reason the wild population should go extinct these birds may be the last hope for potentially replenishing the wild with Blue Throated Macaws.

Breeding is encouraged so that this flock is robust should that day come. However sometimes parrot parents don’t do their jobs. And unfortunately Blu Lu was a bit neglected by her parents. This meant hand raising her. Because of this her inclination to be around humans would make her a less than ideal candidate for the Bird Endowment flock. I was approached to see if might like to take Blu Lu under my wing and train her to be a spokes bird for her species. I said “yes” under one condition….Wendy Craig of Wendy’s Parrots would have to finish her hand raising. That is because besides being a caring, responsible and knowledgeable breeder; Wendy knows how to train with positive reinforcement. This meant from the time she arrived at Wendy’s she was already learning how to step up, step onto scale, recall, etc voluntarily via positive reinforcement. During that phase of development parrots are sponges and it means there is an important opportunity to shape behaviors that are important for a parrot’s life in a home. Check out my article called “A Good Start to a Good Bird” in the Fall 2010 issue of Good Bird Magazine for more about this.

Blu Lu’s name came from famous blues singer Blu Lu Barker .The Bird Endowment has a tradition of naming the birds after famous blues artists. I felt it fitting to follow suit. As a music fan myself, many of the other animals in my home are named after musicians (Waylon, Delbert, Joe Cockertiel)

Blu Lu has just arrived. In the blogs to follow I will update everyone on her training and progress. So far she is just adjusting to her new environment and getting to know new people. She is already great at stepping up and stepping onto a scale thanks to Wendy. Here is a video clip of the night she arrived. (Please excuse all the boxes in the background. I was temporarily storing some items at my house) It was a long day of driving and we arrived after dark. I gave Blu Lu some time to look around and get some treats from inside the travel cage before she came out. As you will see she adjusted rather quickly thanks to her previous training at Wendy’s. More videos and blogs on her progress to come. Check back soon!
Barbara Heidenreich
http://www.goodbirdinc.com/
Copyright Good Bird Inc 2010

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Really beautiful video Barbara! It's so great to see you so skillfully and easily employ all of your positive reinforcement methods in the mundane things: getting Blu out of the cage, stepping up, offering treats. It's so easy when you have the training you offer on your DVDs.
Thanks so much for video-blogging this process with BluLu. I'm looking forward to it!
-Patricia

Anonymous said...

Beautiful and thank you for sharing your latest with us! I look forward to all your future videos I already distribute your info to educate every parrot person I know because your techniques are scientifically based and really work! So positive and encouraging to our parrots AND us! Thank you for all your help!
Sincerely,
Sue Bendheim
Lily Sanctuary Adoption Coordinator

Caitlin is how You spell it said...

So you have your very own Blue-throat now? Whoopiee! Congrats on the new flock member!

Caitlin is how You spell it said...

So you have your very own Blue-throat now? Whoopiee! Congrats on the new flock member!

Anonymous said...

I am excite to follow your progress with Blu Lu. I am curious as to her hatch date so we know how old she is. Thanks for doing this.
Richard

Barbara Heidenreich said...

Great question! Her hatch date was 5/28/2010.And she is a DNA sexed female.

Anonymous said...

Help. My Catalina Macaw Oscar, now 22 is have a problem with me. When I first got him in 2,000 he was a rescue bird and we had a great time and I fledged him and would re call. We were inmate enough that I could pet his head and we would kiss even and this was after only a month of having him. The prior owner could only handle him with a stick. My problem is that I went into the hospital due to seizures. Now i have slight tremors always happens slightly. I can not be as close to him. He gets close to me and wants to kiss me and he gets up and the his kiss turns out to be a bite. I do not think this is his intention. Any ideas for me?

Barbara Heidenreich said...

I am sorry to hear about the situation with Oscar. I am going to refer you to my book The Parrot Problem Solver. It is all about aggressive behavior and is very comprehensive. Unfortunatley the publisher is no longer producing it in print form. You can get it as an ebook or find a used copy on amazon or half price books.