Saturday, March 5, 2011

Training Parrots to Like New Places

Blu Lu the Blue Throated Macaw from the Bird Endowment has been making more progress. She is quite comfortable wearing a harness and her flight skills are superb. Another important part of her education is training her to be comfortable in new environments and with new people.

This means at this stage it is important for her to get out and about. In this video clip you get to see Blu Lu’s first trip to the Post Office. I chose the Post Office because it is close to my house and it has plenty of room for me to move Blu Lu farther away from new people or objects if she feels uncomfortable. It was also pretty quiet that day since it was a Saturday.

Just like lots of parrot training goals, I broke this down into steps or approximations that Blu Lu can accomplish easily. I have been building upon each successful session. The post office visit was short with few distractions. The next trip was longer with more people. The next visit was to a new location. By keeping each session as positive as possible I can make it more likely Blu Lu will enjoy visiting new places in the future. Since the video she has also visited a hardware store, the bank, the offices of the company that publishes my magazine (Good Bird Magazine) and has traveled frequently in the car. It does take some work to bring her with me, but it is important to my training goals for her.

Blu Lu is an ambassador for her species. If she is comfortable with new places and new people, she can visit lots of folks and help educate them about the plight of Blue Throated Macaws in the wild. The more comfortable she is with changing environments, the easier it will be for her to adapt to a new one she has never seen before. This means if there is a last minute call to visit a group of school children, we don’t need to panic. She will be ready for the visit.

This same type of training can be useful for helping companion parrots be comfortable with travel for a visit to your avian veterinarian or if your bird might need to be boarded sometime. Hope the video gives you some ideas for you and your parrots.

Barbara Heidenreich
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Copyright 2011 Good Bird Inc


Caitlin is how You spell it said...

Lovely as always Barb, I always love videos of you and your parrots. And I want to encourage other people to bring their birds to the post office, bank, and home improvement stores as well. My cockatiel and I have always been welcomed at these business and we continue to go together.

Caitlin N.

Shaunna Gunderson said...

I'm guessing this harness also has a diaper attached? How do you keep from the floors getting pooped on? :))

Barbara Heidenreich said...

No, no diaper.I just carry a small towel with me to clean up after my bird when we are out and about. Also parrots are pretty predictable in their pooping habits. Before they fly, if they are nervous, every 20-30 minutes. Just look for the tell tale body language and you will be able to be ready when the moment comes : )

Unknown said...

Greetings and best wishes for everyone. I desperately need some advice, if I may.My parrot used to always come out of her cage"I don't believe in locking any animal in a cage,hence;why she would come and go as she pleased.However,I got her a new cage and to my painful regret she has not nor will come out any longer.Not even for food.Did I mess up? Please help??

Barbara Heidenreich said...

I would recommend you check out the webinar recordings on this page Probably the one that is most relevant is training your parrot to step up (#2) It has suggestions for working with a bird that doesnt want to leave the cage.