Sunday, January 23, 2011

Best Talking Parrot Contest Winners!

The contest is over and the winners have been selected. It was indeed a difficult decision. There were over 175 videos entered and yes I watched every single one…several times : ) I have to admit this contest turned out to be more fun than I could have imagined. I was laughing to the point of tears on several occasions, but the most rewarding part was watching so many people enjoying their parrots. The good news is we plan to keep the site up. Although we will change the text about the contest, people can continue to share their special parrots at One viewer pointed out that they enjoyed being able to view so many talking parrot clips at one location. I agree.

Onto the winners! This contest included an amateur and professional parrot category. Our professional parrot category only had one entry. Therefore Clover the Congo African Grey parrot from Turkey takes the prize in this category. The amateur category had lots of competition. We let your votes decide and the front runner when it came to votes was Mishka the Congo African Grey parrot. Mishka resides in South Africa and carries a lovely accent as he announces “He would like to go to the bathroom.” Congratulations to our top prize winners. They will receive a gift certificate to Good Bird Inc products, prizes provided by KAYTEE and five free signed copies of the soon to be released “Train Your Parrot To Talk” DVD/CDROM.

In addition to Mishka and Clover, there were a number of other notable entries. The following parrots and their families will receive three signed copies of the “Train Your Parrot To Talk” DVD/CDROM.

Ariel the Panama Amazon Parrot

Bibi the Congo African Grey Parrot

Bongo the Congo African Grey Parrot

Bowie the Indian Ring Necked Parakeet

Casey the Yellow Naped Amazon Parrot

Disco the Budgerigar

Einstein the Talking Texan African Grey Parrot

Emma the African Grey Parrot

Freddie the Yellow Naped Amazon Parrot

Kona the Green Winged Macaw

Koolaid the Parrotlet

Ozzy the African Grey Parrot

Pluto the Quaker Parrot

Ray the Blue and Gold Macaw

Sunny the Cockatiel

Poly the African Grey Parrot

I hope you enjoyed our talking parrot contest. The new DVD/CDROM “Train Your Parrot to Talk” should be in stock mid February 2011. Just sign up for our mailing list on the top right hand side of this page to be notified or visit this link to purchase it shortly.

Barbara Heidenreich
Copyright 2011 Good Bird Inc

Friday, January 14, 2011

Scale Training Parrots. A Life Saving Behavior

What simple behavior could save your parrot’s life? Scale training! Sounds silly but getting and recording regular weights on your parrot can be a life saver. One of the things we know about parrots is that they have a tendency to mask signs of illness. The theory behind this is that in the wild standing out as a sick parrot might make you a prime target for a predator. Therefore it is to your advantage to “pretend” to feel good, even when you don’t.

Many times when a parrot is not feeling well, they consume less of their diet and water. Sometimes they don’t process food properly. Such parrots can drop weight very quickly. Because parrots can easily fluff up their feathers and look quite robust, a weight loss may not be visible to the naked eye. However the scale doesn’t lie. A sick bird can drop quite a few grams, even overnight. And this rapid weight loss can be a signal to parrot owners to take their bird to their avian veterinarian or at the very least keep an eye out for more signs of illness.

A scale that can be used to weigh a parrot can be purchased at most office supplies stores. Look in the postage scale section. I was able to find one for around $30. Be sure to pick one that weighs in one gram increments. Five or ten grams increments are too great of a fluctuation for weighing parrots.

Some people prefer to use a scale that has a perch attached to it. Avian specialty stores often carry these. However I found it quite simple to train a parrot to step from my hand onto the flat surface of a scale. Just be sure to place the scale near the edge of the counter so that the tail of the bird can hang freely. If the tail is resting on a surface it will influence the number on the scale. You can get step by step instructions on how to train this and other behaviors helpful to the health and welfare of your parrot from my DVD Training Your Parrot for the Veterinary Exam.

In this clip you get to see Blu Lu the Blue Throated Macaw and Delbert both demonstrating how they step up onto a scale. I weigh them about one time per week just to make sure they are maintaining a healthy weight. Keep in mind each bird is an individual and the perfect weight for your bird may not be perfect for someone else’s. For example, I have two Amazon parrots in my home. One has weighed about 306 grams for over twenty years. The other typically weighs in at 460 grams. Neither is obese nor skinny. They are just right for their body size.

It takes practice and exposure to a number of parrots, but another great way to evaluate your parrot’s condition it to feel the muscle on either side of their keeled sternum. This is called body condition scoring. In the Summer 2010 (Vol 6 issue 2 )of Good Bird Magazine there is a chart provided by the Kaytee Learning Center to help you interpret what you are feeling for when checking a parrot’s condition by touch. This does take some practice and it helps to have an experienced person by your side to help you learn how to do this properly and tell you what to feel for. But if body condition scoring doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, rest assured that scale training is super easy and something most parrots can learn to eagerly do in one to two training sessions. I hope you will give this behavior a try with the parrots in your home. It’s a life saver!

Barbara Heidenreich
Copyright 2011 Good Bird Inc

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Training a Parrot to Bathe

Blu Lu the Blue Throated Macaw from the Bird Endowment took her first bath at my house today! I had just finished eating lunch and was running the water to wash my dishes when guess who launched herself to the sink. In her first few weeks with me I did make a few attempts to spray her, offer a pan of water, etc. However she did not show any interest. To me when a parrot wants to bathe I see some very specific body language, such as some flicking of the head side to side, dunking their head in the water, the wings stretching out, maybe some eye pinning and small vocalizations and most importantly an effort to interact with the water.

Blu Lu had not shown this body language in my earlier attempts. In fact she decidedly moved away from the water. Maybe people advise you must bathe a parrot no matter what. I personally can’t force a bath on a parrot who does not want one. I also think doing so makes it less likely a parrot will voluntarily participate in a bath in the future. Therefore I wait for moment just like the one that happened today. And while I have a bird actively engaging in the water I start to introduce some of props that might be involved with bathing such as a spray bottle.

I gently sprayed Blu Lu from quite a distance, and only a little at a time. This helps introduce the spray bottle at her pace and keeps it paired with the fun she is already having under the water stream. I also used my fingertips to trickle a little water over her back. I tried introducing a pan of water too. The best part is that anytime she wanted she could fly away. This piece of empowerment kept her coming back for more. Remember giving your parrot the choice to not participate is a big part of building trust and confidence. And it is an important part of a positive reinforcement approach to training your parrot.

I anticipate as more of these type of bathing experiences happen Blu Lu will be more inclined to bathe more frequently and bath time will continue to be viewed as fun time. Needless to say after so much fun, a nap was order. Her photo shows her resting on one of the parrot perches she has been trained to fly to.
Barbara Heidenreich
Copyright Good Bird Inc 2010