Monday, February 21, 2011

Parrot Flight Training- Improving Skills

It has been a busy month releasing the new DVD Train Your Parrot to Talk, putting out another issue of Good Bird Magazine, presenting at Parrot Festival and somewhere in all that I came down with a nasty virus! However even though I have been rather busy, every day there has been time made for Blu Lu training. Yay! I just have not had time to blog about it until today.

Blu Lu the Blue Throated Macaw from the Bird Endowment is doing extremely well. One of the behaviors she has really been practicing is her flight training. You may recall I posted a video a while back about training her to fly to different perches in my house. I wanted to share a video clip of her progress since then. She is really mastering her flight skills. She has learned a nice quick response to my cue for recall.

She is sometimes a little slower than I would like flying to a perch when I cue her. But I suspect that part of the problem is that being with people is also a strong reinforcer for her. So going away from a person is tougher than coming to one.

One of the benefits to training your bird to fly to designated perches in your house is that it makes it very reinforcing for your parrot to fly to those spots. So instead of chewing up the back of a chair, or flinging papers off of the table your parrot deliberately opts to go to the perches.

I do have another place in the kitchen loaded with toys that Blu Lu goes to as well. These also work as reinforcers for her to stay in that area and have fun. This really handy strategy of making the behavior you want your parrot to do the most reinforcing option is based on The Matching Law.

You can apply this to so many aspects of living with a parrot. Think of it this way. If your parrot has the choice to do behavior A or behavior B, whichever one he knows will earn the most reinforcers is the one he will do. This means it is your job to make the behavior you want your parrot do more fun than the one you don’t want. For example make it more fun to play on play stand, than chew up the books on the book shelf.

The video clip does not show off her maneuvering skills. She literally can fly through every doorway and turn every corner in my house, which can be quite tight at times. She is a smaller species of macaw, but even so, it is quite impressive. She also does this with impeccable precision. You can literally “see” her making decisions on the wing as she decides where she will turn and where she land. I never get tired of watching a young bird master flight skills.

More videos to come as her training progresses……….

Barbara Heidenreich
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K said...

Wonderful, Barbara. We need some of those perches. Does one of your advertisers have them? Our B&G flew circles in the vet's exam room recently - he was amazed - but she needs more practice.

Barbara Heidenreich said...

Oh I am so glad you like them. They were actually an idea that came to me when showering at a hotel. They are those curved curtain rods. I just wrap them in vet wrap to keep them form being slick.

old vet said...

Nice tips
I will use it for my parrot