Thursday, March 15, 2012

Parrot Paints to Save Lives!

I am so thrilled to be able to share a new project with you. Blu Lu my blue-throated macaw has learned a new behavior. Painting! In the zoo community we frequently train animals to paint to raise money for conservation. I have seen everything from primates to penguins painting. However there have not been that many parrot artists. Knowing how adept they are at using that beak, it certainly seems like a relatively easy task to master. Blu Lu did learn the behavior rather quickly...once I figured out a strategy to train it. (That part is not always as easy as it sounds.) You can watch a little video of her painting below to see how she does it.

While it is certainly a blast for her, I wanted to make sure her artistry would benefit her wild cousins. I decided to have her paint her version of other parrot species commonly seen in homes as companions. The paintings will be raffled off to raise money for blue-throated macaw conservation. Over the last few months she has made tons of  paintings! Including the following species:

Blue-throated Macaw
Scarlet Macaw
Green Wing Macaw
Moluccan Cockatoo
Sulphur Crested Cockatoo
Rose Breasted Cockatoo
Peach Faced Lovebird
Senegal Parrot
Sun Conure
Quaker Parrot
African Grey Parrot (photo right)
Male Eclectus Parrot
Female Eclectus Parrot
Blue Fronted Amazon Parrot

You can be the proud owner of one of her framed pieces of original artwork. Visit to buy your raffle tickets. We have set it up so you can choose which paintings you would like an opportunity to win. The person who buys the most tickets also gets a special bonus prize. See more information below.

Blu Lu specializes in imagery that features parrot species commonly kept as companion animals. Each piece is unique.  Here are the instructions to enter to win a framed original painting by Blu Lu:

1.    Review the collection of paintings and pick your favorites.
2.    Click on the link(s) to your corresponding favorite pieces to buy your raffle tickets.
3.    Buy as many as you wish for each of your preferred paintings. There is no limit on how many times you can enter.
4.    Winners  will be drawn by Blu Lu on August 1st, 2012. This will be filmed and posted to the site. Winners will also be notified directly. The three paintings that receive the most entries will be drawn live at the American Federation of Aviculture (AFA) conference in San Antonio, TX August 16-18.
5.    Deadline for online entries is 12 midnight CST, July 31st, 2012. In person entries will be accepted for the top three pieces up until the live drawing at the AFA conference.

All funds will be donated to the Bird Endowment, a non-profit organization dedicated to saving blue-throated macaws. Their Nido Adoptivo ™ program funds the building and monitoring of artificial nest boxes for wild blue-throated macaws. Competition with other species for nest sites has contributed to the macaws’ demise. Supplemental nesting has made a difference for these rare parrots. (

Blu Lu is a highly endangered blue-throated macaw. There are less than 300 birds left in the wild. Hatched in captivity, Blu Lu is an avian ambassador for the conservation project The Bird Endowment. ( Her artwork raises money for parrot conservation and other charities. She is named after blues singer Blu Lu Barker. She is trained by Barbara Heidenreich (

Cross posting and sharing is appreciated.
Barbara Heidenreich


Debbie M said...

How very cool!

What a great cause too.

Best wishes in raising thousands for such a worthy cause.

Debbie The Parrot Lady said...

What a great idea and project to have Blu Lu DO! She does a great job! I know I'm going to try to get some raffles for her work! I think I'll be at the AFA in San Antonio, too!

Debbie The Parrot Lady said...

Congratulations, Blu Lu! What Great work you DO! Great job, Training, Barbara, as usual, a great idea! I know I plan on buying Raffle Tickets for one of these pieces. Are they signed by the artist? hehe. Maybe she can also start an art school for birds?

Anonymous said...

I think this project is terrific. I've purchased my raffle tickets! I'm fascinated with the idea of training an animal to paint. I'd love to learn more about how this specific behavior is trained in parrots and other animals too.