Dealing with a frightened parrot requires exquisite patience and a calm personality. The human needs to begin with a point of reference where the bird is already comfortable. With the cage-bound bird, this starts with establishing a positive relationship through the cage bars.
Many parrots seem to enjoy the non-confrontational company of a human sitting by the cage and reading aloud. Do not make direct eye contact with the parrot at this time, only look up briefly out of the corner of the eye, then look down again.
After a few days (or weeks) of this non-confrontational approach, the bird might be ready for more contact. Hold up a special treat in your fingers, and drop it in the food cup through the cage bars. Once the bird learns that nice things happen when your fingers approach, the next step is to offer the treat from your fingertips. All this is done through the safety of the cage bars, with lavish verbal rewards as well.
The next goal is to get the bird more comfortable with the bird cage door being open. Once the bird is relaxed with the movement of your fingers to receive a treat, offer the treat at the open doorway. After that, the parrot might gradually allow you to slowly move your hand (with food treat) inside the cage. Once that is achieved without panic, very gradually try to get the bird to allow you to briefly touch its feet. Take your time, and don’t force the issue or you could set things back several weeks.
A parrot that is trained to step courteously onto something other than a hand (such as a hand-held perch) can easily be moved from one place to another whenever its body language indicates the potential for aggression.
The bird seeks the safety of its bird cage above all, so always make the return to the bird cage the ultimate reward. When you finally (weeks later) reach the stage of stepping the bird onto your hand inside the bird cage, only do this for a second before stepping the bird back down to its perch. Once this is accomplished, you can very slowly, very gradually start teaching the bird to stay on your hand as you move the bird out of the bird cage while perched on your hand.
The point is to gradually teach the bird that nothing bad happens when it is with you, despite it leaving the safety of its bird cage. Never force the issue. Always observe the parrot’s body language for clues to your next step. If the bird begins to look frightened, immediately back off, allow the animal to relax; then begin again.
Ever so gently nudge at the envelope but never push the bird too far or too fast. After all, you have years to enjoy together, so a few weeks either way will not matter in the end. What does matter is that the bird learns that you respect its feelings and are willing to take the time to earn its trust.
The Territorial Parrot
A lovely way to step around confrontations with companion parrots is to perch train them. A parrot that is trained to step courteously onto something other than a hand (such as a hand-held perch, basket, baking dish, crock, whatever) can easily be moved from one place to another whenever its body language indicates the potential for aggression. This allows humans to, for example, easily remove a territorially aggressive parrot from its cage and place it safely on a play gym, enabling the human to service the bird’s cage without danger of attack. A lovely way to avoid conflict!
If your parrot decides to up the ante by heading along the perch toward your hand in an aggressive manner, you can easily block its advance. First, make sure the free end of the perch is higher than the hand-held end, as birds tend to go up instead of down. Second, have something in your other hand to block the bird’s approach. This can be anything from a nailbrush to a small stuffed animal, it matters not. It only needs to be something the bird is not used to seeing in your hand, and it is only used as a distraction while you move the bird to step down on a different roost.
An alternative to perch training is training a parrot to politely come out of its bird cage onto a T-stand. Most parrots have certain morsels they adore, which are easily identified as the thing they always eat first when offered their food bowl. As long as owners do not make the mistake of offering these prizes so freely that they lose value, they can be extremely useful when the need arises to offer a special treat as reward for polite behavior.
For example, when dealing with an aggressively territorial parrot, an owner can teach the bird to come out of its bird cage onto a T-stand to receive a luscious treat that can be earned no other way. Place the T-stand next to the open cage door, and let the bird see you drop the treat in the food cup at the far end, then move away. Do this repeatedly over a period of several days, until the parrot is climbing out comfortably.
Then discontinue placing the treat in the food cup, and gradually approach the bird while it is sitting on the T-stand, letting it see that luscious treat in your hand. When the bird remains on the T-stand at your approach, hand it the treat, or drop the treat in the T-stand’s food cup. Once your parrot is comfortable with this, slowly pick up the T-stand with parrot on it, and carry it out of sight of the bird cage.
Want to learn more?
Why Won’t My Parrot Come Out Of The Bird Cage?
Pet Bird Afraid Of Hands
How To Train Your Parrot To Fly To You
Sooner or later, you will be bitten
Even the nicest, most well-behaved bird will bite eventually, Allwein said. While it hurts, she said yelling or reacting in any way will reinforce the bad behavior. The Hyacinth Macaw can exert 12 to 14 pounds per square inch.
DOVER — The Kent County SPCA is asking the public for assistance in taking care of 30 large, exotic parrots that have recently been given to the shelter.
The parrots — a mix of Macaws, African Greys and Amazons — came from a residence in Georgetown.
Beth Butts, KCSPCA public relation coordinator, said this is not a case of hoarding, but a situation where the individual taking care of them could no longer provide the needed care and attention.
Ms. Butts said some of the birds have started plucking their feathers because of stress and some have scissor beaks, which is caused when the beaks are left untrimmed, making it difficult to eat. Officials said some birds were living in small cages, sometimes two to a cage.
The shelter is in a situation where it’s doing the best it can to provide the proper housing, but those resources are limited.
Ms. Butts said right now three or four of the birds are in a spare cat playroom, 15 are in the old dispatch location and the remainder are in one of the garage bays of the organization’s warehouse.
“We’re doing the very best we can to get on top of this,” she said, adding that these birds need a significant amount of space to feel comfortable.
Ms. Butts said Macaws are needy pets that require constant stimulation through toys.
“Imagine a 2 year old. Now imagine a 2 year old with no stimulation and that’s what we have,” she said. “They need that interaction.”
While the shelter is taking its time processing each bird to ensure their health, some of them are up for adoption.
Ms. Butts is looking for people experienced in taking care of birds who are willing to adopt. She warned that adopting a large parrot is a life-long commitment because many of these birds will live to be 80 years old or more.
Individuals interested in adopting a bird can visit the shelter to meet them in person.
If adoption is not an option, the shelter is also asking for monetary donations or large parrot-specific supplies.
Ms. Butts said there are questions about what type of food to buy (the birds eat a pelleted diet, not seeded), employees at area pet food stores will be able to assist in making sure the right kind is purchased.
The KCSPCA is at 32 Shelter Circle in Camden, DE 19934.
Donations are accepted online through Paypal at www.kcspca.org. All donations to the shelter are tax deductible.
For more information call the KCSPCA at 698-3006, using option two on the main menu.
Staff writer Chris Flood can be reached at 741-8230 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Polly may want a cracker, but when a parrot wants a better deal, it will trade a so-so nut for an even better snack, a new study has found.
The discovery, published in the journal Biology Letters, demonstrates that birds can do business in their own way, wheeling and dealing with nuts. It also shows that they can exhibit remarkable self restraint, even performing better than some children.
In studies from the 1970s, kids were presented with a marshmallow and were told that they could either eat it now, or wait and receive a second one if they could hold out for a time delay of some minutes. Kids that were able to wait have been more successful now as adults than the other kids (who gulped down the first marshmallow). The ability to strategically wait therefore is very important in the course of human development. Now we can say that it’s important to bird development too.
For the new study, Alice Auersperg of the University of Vienna’s Department of Cognitive Biology and colleagues presented an Indonesian cockatoo species, the Goffin’s cockatoo, with food snack options. The best of that bunch, from the bird’s perspective, were pecan nuts.
Mirroring the kid-marshmallow experiment, the researchers next offered the birds an even better deal. If the birds did not eat the pecan, they could trade it for a cashew. (Who knew that cockatoos loved cashews so much? Apparently they are the yummiest nut of all, for at least this particular avian species.)
The birds went for the deal (See related video).
“When exchanging for better qualities, the Goffins acted astonishingly like economic agents, flexibly trading-off between immediate and future benefits,” Auersperg said in a press release. “They did so, relative not only to the length of delay, but also to the difference in trade value between the ‘currency’ and the ‘merchandise’: they tended to trade their initial items more often for their most preferred food, than for one of intermediate preference value and did not exchange in a control test in which the value of the initial item was higher than that of the expected one.”
She continued, “While human infants or primates can hold the initial food in their hands, one should also consider that the birds were able to wait, although they had to hold the food in their beaks, directly against their taste organs while waiting. Imagine placing a cookie directly into a toddler’s mouth and telling him/her, he/she will only receive a piece of chocolate if the cookie is not nibbled for over a minute.”
Aside from revealing how intelligent these birds are, the study also shows that researchers can become very popular with birds if they often feed them tasty nuts.
(Image of a cockatoo trading nuts, Credit: Alice Auersperg; Image of researcher Isabelle Laumer with cockatoos, Credit: Philipp Stöger-Haselböck)
by Karen Pickwick
Two parrots worth £4,000 have been stolen from a pet shop.
The birds, known as Rosie and Henry, were taken in a late-night raid on The Pet Shop in Station Road, Shirehampton, website thisisbristol reports.
Owners Tim Florey, 53, and his son, Jonathan, raised the birds by hand.
Rosie, a three-year-old pink gala parrot, often repeats the phrases, “Give us a kiss” and “Kiss, kiss, kiss”. Henry, a four-year-old white triton cockatoo, says “Hello Charlie” and “Good morning”.
Unwanted parrots have found a home with a Calgary woman who considers herself a caretaker, not an owner.
Gloria Fantin has 16 parrots in her house, most of which were rescued from neglectful owners. She cleans, feeds and plays with the birds for six to eight hours a day. But she doesn’t like to refer to them as pets.
“I’m their guardian. Because of the longevity these birds will outlive me,” she said.
- Watch CBC video journalistTerri Trembath’s report. Click on the image above.
Some larger species of parrots can live more than 70 years.
Fantin is a founding director of the Parrot Resource Centre, an educational non-profit organization in Calgary.
She says she was uneducated about parrots when she got one 15 years ago. She now believes these tropical birds shouldn’t be kept as pets.
“In a perfect world we would not have parrots as companion pets and I feel guilty for what they have gone through in the past,” she said.
Judy Foster, another volunteer with the organization, said the group aims to educate people about parrots.
“I think if people know what they’re in for, then they will think twice or at least they will be aware and they’ll go into it knowing what is involved,” said Foster.
Parrots are messy, destructive, noisy, expensive and need regular socialization, according to the organization’s website.
See the outtakes here
It wouldn’t have been a proper Engadget CES stage without a few surprises. During his appearance, the company’s CEO, Henri Seydoux, showed off one of its lesser-known drones, the eBee, a GPS-packing foam beast created in collaboration with Sensefly. The eBee can carry a camera (a Canon Powershot, in this case). Shake it to start the motor and then toss it off like a paper airplane. It’s capable of shooting video and doing 3D mapping, and the removable wings mean you can stick it into a carrying case, as seen in the images below.
Parrot’s eBee drone eyes-on
The parrots are back.
After months of not hearing the pesky birds, Eagle Rock writer Andrew Hindes was recently surprised to see them around his house.
“They have returned en masse in the past few weeks, although the frequency has tapered off in the last few days,” he said. “So far, I’ve noticed them circling and swarming—and making quite a racket—rather than roosting in trees on our property.”
Not far from where Hindes lives on Highland View Avenue, Eagle Rock resident Tim O’Brien reports a similar experience.
“For about the past three weeks, there has been a flock of about 20 parrots that makes two or three ‘passes’ over our house in the mornings between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. and then again at dusk,” O’Brien said.
The birds, he added, engage in “a great deal of squawking and fly in formation, swooping this way and that, alight in a tree for a few minutes and then continue their noisy journey on to points unknown.”
As was the case almost exactly a year ago, parrots are roosting—or flocking together—in relatively large numbers once again in Eagle Rock.
“I saw them this morning for the first time,” wrote Julia Salazar, director of the Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock, in a Wednesday email to Eagle Rock Patch. “Strange sight. They seem to have flown away.”
During the fall and winter months, parrots tend to roost more than at any other time of the year, said Kimball Garrett, a birder who founded the California Parrot Project in 1994 and runs the ornithology collection at the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History.
“During the warmer breeding season, the birds are a little more scattered, so you’d expect large roosts at this time,” explained Garrett. Although large numbers of parrots can gather into roosts year around, “the numbers involved tend to be a little higher in late fall and winter, and a little bit lower in spring and summer when they scatter around a bit more for nesting season.”
The traditional roosting areas for wild parrots are Temple City, South Pasadena and Altadena. “I don’t know of any big roosts closer to Eagle Rock,” Garrett said.
But why do parrots appear to be so extravagantly visible, not to mention voluble, for a few minutes, days or weeks and then suddenly all but vanish?
“That’s what parrots do,” said Garrett. “They’re really good and finding and exploiting food resources that are kind of ephemeral—they might have fruit or some kind of seeds for just a few weeks and they find ’em and eat ’em all and then move on to somewhere else.”
Added Garrett: “It’s hard to predict exactly where that will take them—and when—but they certainly are good at moving around a lot.”
World Parrot Count
The constant movement can be challenge for ornithologists interested in knowing how many wild parrots there are in a particular urban area. And that’s why the winter months are usually a good time to count parrots—as a Europe-based group called City Parrots is doing right now for conservation purposes, with help from volunteers.
Click here to read instructions fro City Parrots on how to count wild parrots in your neighborhood and submit the results to the organization online.
Affiliated with the International Ornithologists Union, City Parrots is especially devoted to monitoring parrots that have been introduced to urban areas and are not native to them, especially in the Northern Hemisphere.
None of the three major species of parrots found in and around Eagle Rock, including Mount Washington, are native to Southern California, according to Garrett. (They include Red-Crowned Parrots native to Eastern Mexico; Yellow-Chevroned Parakeets native to South America; and Mitred Parakeets, also native to South America.)
There are currently no large-scale local attempts to conduct parrot counts in Southern California, according to Garrett. “Some years we try to do that, but nothing’s been really organized for this year,” he says.
Christmas Bird Count
The closest thing to a local parrot count is the Christmas Bird Count conducted annually for the past 65 years by the Pasadena Audubon Society.
The exercise occurs within a 15-mile diameter centered at the intersection of San Gabriel Boulevard and Duarte Road in Pasadena, which lies roughly five miles east of the Eagle Rock border. The latest Christmas Bird Count was on Dec. 15 last year.
“I haven’t totaled the results yet, but we typically record hundreds of Red-crowned Parrots, fair numbers of Mitred and Red-masked Parakeets and Yellow-chevroned Parakeets as well as smaller numbers of at least a half dozen other species of parrots and parakeets,” said Jon Fisher, head of the Pasadena Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count.
Although the Christmas Bird Count circle extends southwest to Scholl Canyon and Occidental College, those areas were not covered in 2012, Fisher said.
Don’t have a green thumb? Parrot, perhaps best known for its AR.Drone quadricopter, has a new product on the way called Flower Power that could help you keep yours plants happy and helping by means of your iPhone or other iOS device.
Announced at CES, the stake-style sensor gets inserted into the soil next to a plant and monitors things like moisture, sunlight, temperature and fertilizer content. This information is sent over Bluetooth Smart to a cloud-based server, then piped to your device so you’re informed when the plant needs water, food or moving so as to achieve the appropriate lighting conditions. The recommendations are pulled from a database after you tell the app what type of plant you have it monitoring. The app is capable of tracking multiple plants and sensors in the same environment, indoors or out.
Parrot hasn’t said how much the Flower Power sensors will cost, but intends to ship the horticulture hardware sometime in 2013.
by Karen Pickwick
Northern Pet Trade is distributing a range of foraging toys for parrots. Creative Foraging Solutions provides parrots with interesting and mentally stimulating toys.
Once filled with treats or the bird’s daily intake of seeds, nuts or pelleted diet, the parrot has to work out how to retrieve the goodies.
A spokesman said this helps the parrot to replicate their natural forging behaviour, fulfils their time, which reduces boredom and the associated problems.
Toys include the Mastermind Foraging Heart, Tug N Slide and Mastermind Foraging Circle.
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