Northern Parrots Blog http://www.northernparrots.com Fri, 23 Jun 2017 00:00:00 GMT http://www.northernparrots.com en hourly 1 Think Parrots 2017 Review http://www.northernparrots.com/think-parrots-2017-review-blog518/ http://www.northernparrots.com/think-parrots-2017-review-blog518/#comments Mon, 19 Jun 2017 00:00:00 GMT Dot http://www.northernparrots.com/think-parrots-2017-review-blog518/
What’s the secret ingredient of the continued success of this event now in its 6th year? Not the amount of Parrot products sold and for non-commercial exhibitors showing exquisite Cockatiels or magnificent Macaws there must be something else.

I believe that what binds these disparate elements together is a shared affection and fascination for Parrots in every shape and size.
 
This is the best day out imaginable for people who love Parrots, who admire them in the wild but especially like to keep them in their homes and aviaries. There cannot be many venues where you can see a pair of Sun Conures walking around a lecture hall floor, watch 3 free flying Patagonian Conures return to Mike Simmons or chat with a young man with a Military Macaw on his shoulder.
 


This was my 5th attendance out of six Think Parrot Shows and I was particularly interested in finding out what brings other Parrot owners here annually.
 
Talking to participants - praise was universal among everyone with whom I spoke. No one had any complaints.  (Maybe dissatisfied folk left early so I never got a chance to meet them.) Since plenty of people bring birds (numbers are increasing each year) on harnesses or in backpacks, they provide opportunity for socialising. Buy your harness or travel cage here.

When asked what they liked best, the general consensus was the opportunity for them to learn, either from lectures or speaking to the experts who were available, vets, trainers, breeders, bird charities, bird organisations and so on. They bought plenty of Parrot products because the array is so tempting and everyone likes a special offer.
 
I met one lady with a pretty Conure. “Is it a Pineapple Conure?’ I asked. She said she didn’t know but she’d soon find out because Rosemary Low was in the hall. I didn’t meet her again but I am sure Rosemary would have told her. As one of the UK’s leading Parrot experts on breeding husbandry and conservation, she’s always willing to share her knowledge when you meet her.

Her next book will be about conservation. I cannot wait to read it. Rosemary remarked in sombre voice that she regrets that most Parrot owners don’t support conservation as much as she would like them to.


 
She also thinks that young people are less keen to become involved with Parrots. She says that gardens are small., living expenses are high and young people take 2 or 3 holidays so keeping birds becomes a problem. I hope this pessimistic view won’t prevail.
 
When I spoke to participants I met plenty of young families. Typical was the Binder family - Mum and Dad with son and daughter.  This was their first visit and they were eager to repeat it next year certainly come again. Tinkerbelle, the 2-year-old Grey, was left at home. Might she come next year? Who knows?
 
Zoe Gates’s Cookie, is a 24 year- old Umbrella Cockatoo. She showed me a picture of a large and lovely bird.  But he is too shy to come out she said. David Woolcock’s classes in Cornwall have helped her
 
‘I used to share meals with him until he started not only eating from the plate but carrying it away with him. I have to adapt to him,’ she smiled. She showed me snaps of her large atteactive Cockatoo. 
 
The Macaws and their owners that I came across in the halls and walking around the spacious lawns, harnessed on their owners’ shoulders were invariably alert and interested (the Macaws I mean.)


 
I could not help being drawn to speak to participants with birds on their shoulders.

One impressive young man was Lockherz Knight, actor and director. His 5-year-old Umbrella Teddy, normally appears in shows and on film shows unclipped and unharnessed. You can find him on YouTube here, it's worth watching for a giggle as Teddy unlocks his cage and lets himself out. 



Another handsome bird was a Military Macaw. Five years- old Teddy has a companion Millie,. Both perched together at on Ardy, his owner’s shoulders. Terry and Millie are valued family members. They’re not the family’s first Parrots. At home in Iran, Ardy’s father bred Parrots. Ardy told me how valuable meetings like Think Parrots were, so that he could discuss problems and meet like-minded people. Ardy would like to free fly eventually but considers his environment not suitable.



The Brider family enjoying their first visit have a Grey Tinkerbelle at home. She is their first Parrot too. So, they found Dr Matthew Fiddes masterclass extremely valuable for their understanding. They’ll certainly attend next year.
 
I had a chat with Matt Gross attending with his Mum and Archie, a magnificent Green-wing. We both agreed that Parrots should not be taken from the wild but once they are captive bred we have to remember that they are at heart still wild creatures and respect and treat them accordingly.

The commercial stands
Matt and Kayley are a young couple who have the franchise of selling hoodies for Parrots. They both had their own Parrots on their shoulders. Hayley’s young Grey was quiet and clearly a little tired but Matt’s Amazon wearing a smart hoody with the Think Parrots logo emblazoned on his chest was fully socialised to people.


 
He stepped up for me and listened to my sweet talk, although he must have heard it all before. The young couple started buying the hoodies for their own birds because the wind was too strong on the beach where they live. Now they have a franchise from Maggie who has the HQ of the firm in Scotland
 
In a future blog, I hope to write about seeds and pellets and the various arguments in favour of the one or the other. At this year’s show, the choice was overwhelming. Play safe and get some of each.

Versele - Laga had introduced a new product and major supplier of pellets Hagen Tropican and Harrison's were there. Two newcomers were Johnston and Jeff and Marriages. Both these family firms boast several generations of the family.


 
Sam Marriage of Marriages proudly informed me that he is the 6th generation to work in the family firm. He kindly pressed samples of his new products on me to try with my birds. I have to say they were so delicious that it was tempting to try them myself.
 
The distance between pellets and seed mixtures appears to me to be narrowing with suppliers offering both foodstuffs and some mixtures containing both.
 
All this is available from Northern Parrots who sponsor the event. They presented the largest stand – a cornucopia of delights.  I was tempted by a table laden with coiled sisal ropes since I advocate ropes as one of the best enrichments for Parrots.
 
John Catchpole Founder/ Editor of Parrot’s Magazine is the principal organiser of Think Parrots. He was elated at the success of the 6th event. For him the mix of commercial stands veterinary, associated activities like eco - tourism or genetic testing and the presence of several avian charities comprise a winning formula.


In profit terms, the show yields the magazine some new subscriptions or renewals of existing ones and a sale of past issues and DVDS. He feels strongly that owners are becoming aware of the benefits of enrichment. He remarked with evident pleasure that more a more attendees were bringing their birds along.



He told me, ‘Over the 30- odd years I have been involved with Parrots, I have witnessed the changes – wild-caught to hand-reared and now to parent-reared, but with companion Parrot owners there is definitely much more interest in reaching out to learn more about what makes Parrots tick and how to reinforce our relationships with them.
 
This, of course, is very encouraging and in conjunction with the many conservation efforts now around the world, I am hoping we are looking down a much brighter path.
 
Other interesting things to discover
Charites and societies are represented at Think Parrots. On the Parrot Society stand, Secretary Les Rance and David Dickinson, a council member, sold a good selection of new and second-hand Parrot books, (including my own pamphlets for beginners on Amazons and Greys.)
 


I asked David what was the benefit for the society of this yearly presence.  ‘It makes for good public relations,’ David said. ‘Telling people about us.’ Les joined in and told me that a woman had just joined who wished that she’d known of the society years ago because the free advice given between 10 am and 3 pm on weekdays would have helped her enormously.
 
The Mason-Browns drive up from Suffolk to represent the Indonesian Parrot Project. They also run a rescue sanctuary for Cockatoos and brought two of their birds to the show. They will advise anyone NOT to get a Cockatoo until they are aware of all the responsibilities entailed in trying to keep a bird of that intelligence happy in a caged environment. Find lots of Cockatoo products here.
 
Masterclasses and Mini Classes
Mini classes, popular last year, were increased in number this year. A smaller audience about 20-40 participants could ask the trainer questions and hear his or her views on training.
 
The masterclasses maintained the high standard of previous events being given by speakers who are acknowledged experts in their field.
 
The first speaker was Dr Matthew Fiddes - head vet at C J Hall Clinic in South East London.  Matthew covered extensive ground in 60 minutes with great clarity and good photographs. If we were experienced carers our knowledge was refreshed and renewed, if newcomers to the hobby we were given valuable information.


 
Tony Pittman's knowledge about Blue Macaws in the wild and in captivity is unrivalled. His website at www.bluemacaws.org is fascinating for explaining the history and present status of the three Anodorhynchus species and Spix’s Macaw. He has been involved with this magnificent but somewhat tragic species for many decades.
 
He kept a large audience enthralled. With the historical backgrounds of the three Anodorhynchus Macaws – Hyacinthine, Lear’s and Glaucous – their life and status in the wild and conservation measures taken and being taken. He described in depth his research and expeditions to search for the Glaucous Macaw in the 1990s. He believes it to be extinct but keeps a tiny hope that some may be alive in captivity in great secrecy somewhere. The species has been designated “Possibly extinct” by Birdlife International and the IUCN.
 
He told us of the dedicated work of Neiva Guedes in the Pantanal in central Brazil.   She and her team set up nest boxes for the Macaws and continue to monitor the results. She also spent considerable effort in educating the local people and enlisting their support for her work in protecting the Hyacinthine Macaws in the wild. Other Parrots and bird species such as raptors, ducks, vultures and toucans also benefit from this. She has received international awards for this important work.
 
Although the Glaucous is probably extinct and the Spix no longer in the wild, Pittman had somewhat encouraging news of the Lears. Down to 200 in the wild 20 years ago, there are now estimates of 1200. For captive bred Lears the studbook in 2016 listed 152.
 
They normally feed off the nuts of the licuri palm, but because local farmers had depleted the trees and allowed their goats to feed on saplings, the Macaws had taken to foraging in the maize plantations of the farmers causing considerable crop damage. The farmers shot them; numbers plummeted. However, a project was set up in 2005 to compensate the farmers with vouchers to replace the corn crop damaged by the Macaws.

A small team travels around the area and estimates the damage. To the end of 2015 some 325 tons of corn has been issued to the local farmers. This project is supported by a number of organisations including the Parrot Society UK.


 
Greg Glendell, one of UK’s most noted behaviourists, gave the final well-attended talk.  Greg concentrated on the need for a careful objective approach regarding behaviour and training.  He, like David Woolcock uses the principles of learning theory.  Greg is (and has always been) against any wing-clipping, as safe daily flight is vital exercise for a healthy bird.  Greg also emphasised the need to keep your bird’s beak and brain busy to avoid boredom. 
 
He encourages the use of foraging toys, both commercially available ones and ‘home made’ types made from paper, cardboard, wood or pine cones etc. Find lots of foraging toys here.  His books are essential reading for the novice trainer.
 
I met Barrett Watson coming out of Greg’s talk. Barrett has been one of the UK’s most successful breeder of the large species for over 30 years.  ‘What were you doing in a lecture on training?’ I asked.

Barret grinned. ‘A Parrot owner has always something new to learn.’
I nodded - that sums up the experience of Think Parrots for me.



For details of other shows and events please click here.


 
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Understanding Parrots Webinars http://www.northernparrots.com/understanding-parrots-webinars-blog511/ http://www.northernparrots.com/understanding-parrots-webinars-blog511/#comments Mon, 19 Jun 2017 00:00:00 GMT Northern Parrots http://www.northernparrots.com/understanding-parrots-webinars-blog511/
We’ve started working with professional animal trainer Stephanie Edlund to bring you exclusive access to fantastic Parrot training material.

About Stephanie

Stephanie has worked with animals all her life. She has degrees in Biology and Zookeeping from the University of Stockholm, and worked as a zookeeper for 4 years, before starting up her animal training business.

She runs workshops, animal training consultations and private training sessions in her native Sweden. She is a certified animal behaviour consultant, chairperson of the Parrot
Division of the International Association of Animal Behaviour Consultants and is a member of the International Association of Avian Trainers and Education.



Stephanie has been a Parrot owner since she was 8 years old. Her work is mostly around Parrots but does occasional work with other animals too. Her company is named Understanding Parrots

 
Online Courses

Understanding Parrots have put together a series of online video courses to help you better understand their methods and training techniques to improve your bird’s behaviour.

The first course looks at teaching your Parrot to fly on cue, and more courses will be added in the future. The course cost $19 (£14) and with that you receive a step by step video and commentary guide to teaching your Parrot to fly on cue. More courses will be added in the future.

There are also some useful blogs teaching you positive reinforcement, reducing biting and more.

 
Other Services

If you have a specific question about your Parrot’s behaviour you’d like answering, Stephanie runs consultations via Skype. For more information on this visit Stephanie’s website, www.understandingparrots.com.

Leave a comment below if you have any questions about training your Parrot. 

For more information on training your Parrot please click here



 
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Summer Safety For Bird Owners http://www.northernparrots.com/summer-safety-for-bird-owners-blog517/ http://www.northernparrots.com/summer-safety-for-bird-owners-blog517/#comments Sat, 17 Jun 2017 00:00:00 GMT Northern Parrots http://www.northernparrots.com/summer-safety-for-bird-owners-blog517/

Summer wouldn’t be summer without backyard barbecues or time at the pool. But before you fire up your backyard grill or unroll the pool or spa cover, take a moment to see what steps you need to make to ensure your bird’s safety and well-being all summer long.
 


AC, Fans, And Bird Safety

Temperatures can soar in July and August, which means finding ways to keep cool. If you turn on your home’s air conditioner, make sure that it is not blowing cold air directly on your bird.  Likewise, if you turn on a fan, aim it slightly off-center of your bird’s area. Some birds become spooked or just plain annoyed when a fan’s breeze hits them straight on. If you run a fan, see how your bird reacts, and adjust accordingly.

Ceiling fans are a great way to cool down a room, but pet bird owners need to be especially careful when they are in use. Pet birds have been seriously injured and/or killed after colliding with the blades of a ceiling fan.

Diligence is especially due if your bird is free-flighted or able to gain enough lift off to reach ceiling fan level. (Cockatiels are especially adept fliers and can often fly within a couple weeks of having a wing feather trim.) Play it safe, and keep your bird in his or her cage or in another room while a ceiling fan is in use.

Birds And Windows


During warm-weather months, many people open the windows of their homes for fresh air and to allow air to circulate. Bird owners need to make sure their window screens are secured (not unhinged) and free of holes and tears. Extra supervision is in order if there is any possibility that your bird has access to window screens.

Years ago, my Cockatiel’s cage was situated on a countertop. He loved spending time outside the cage, foraging for his treats and toys strewn along the countertop. What I failed to notice was that he was also making headway on a hole he started in the window screen located behind his cage. It grew large enough for him to stick out his head and part of his body.

 
Summer months also tend to be a bit busier for most households, and doors are likely to be left open. Whether its going in and out of the house loading (or unloading) the car for a road trip or having guests over for a backyard gathering, be door aware amid the hustle and bustle. An open door creates an accidental escape hazard if your bird’s cage is left open or if the bird is left on his playgym.

It can also lead to the unexpected. I once heard from a bird owner whose sliding door was left open while she and her guests had a nighttime barbecue. When she went inside with some dishes, she encountered a raccoon pawing at her terrified cockatoo through the bars of his cage! Another reason to keep doors shut is to keep mosquitoes out, which can carry West Nile virus.


Outside Safety

A lot of companion Parrots enjoy spending time outdoors, and exposure to natural sunlight is great for your pet bird’s health. However, before bringing your feathered friend outside for some time in the sun, take some precautions.

First and foremost, make sure your bird can’t fly away. If your bird is flighted, roll out his cage so he can enjoy the sunshine from there, or place your bird in a travel carrier. Accustoming your bird to wearing a harness is a safe way to allow your pet to spend time with you outdoors without the risk of an accidental flyaway. If your bird has a wing feather trim, again, be absolutely sure that it cannot gain lift off in the event that something startles him.

If your bird is spending an extended time with you outdoors or it is especially hot, make sure your bird has access to shade and water. Cover part of the cage or carrier with a blanket or towel to create shade, or move the cage under an awning. A sunny day is the perfect time to give your bird a spray bath, too! Most Parrots love a post-bath preening session in the sunshine.

Do not let your bird poolside. Parrots can drown, so don’t assume that your bird will be fine perched on a playgym close to the pool or spa. Make sure your bird is thoroughly supervised during a pool party.


Grilling

When backyard grilling, prevent smoke from streaming inside your home through a window and straight toward your bird’s cage. Gas stoves can be deadly to birds, so ensure that your bird’s airspace is free and clear of direct exposure to your barbecue’s smoke.

Wash Those Hands!


Be sure to thoroughly wash your hands after cooking meat on the grill before you handle your bird to prevent Salmonella exposure. Also wash your hands after using lighter fluid, scrubbing the grill, or after handling charcoal before interacting with your bird. Hopefully you follow sun safety tips for yourself, such as applying sunscreen, but keep it off your bird’s feathers. If you use spray-on sunscreen, make sure your bird doesn’t receive spray back. Breathing in sunscreen residue can irritate your bird’s respiratory system, and it doesn’t belong on your bird’s feathers!

This was originally published on Lafeber's blog.


 
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About Parrot Tower http://www.northernparrots.com/about-parrot-tower-blog445/ http://www.northernparrots.com/about-parrot-tower-blog445/#comments Fri, 16 Jun 2017 00:00:00 GMT Northern Parrots http://www.northernparrots.com/about-parrot-tower-blog445/

If you own a Parrot Tower, you’ll be pleased to know there are extra and spare parts for it. Instantly update your Tower, getting your Parrot intrigued and active once again, by adding fresh new parts to the Tower.

Your Parrot can climb all over the Tower, chew on it and forage within it, making it a very versatile toy. Moving the different section around is a fun way of sparking your Parrot’s interest with the Tower once again too. All the parts are easy to install. Most of the parts are suitable for small, medium and large Parrots.

 
Parrot Tower Perches

Many of the Parrot Tower perches have been created for specific species of Parrot.

Ortho perches are either single or double sized. The Single Acrylic Macaw Perch (42cm) is suitable for Cockatoos and Large Macaws. The white or green colour instantly adds another level to your Parrot’s perch.

The smaller Single Ortho Perch (30cm) is another additional acrylic perch for Amazons, Eclectus Parrots and other similar sized birds. This comes in green or white.

The Double Amazon Ortho Perch (57cm) fits on the top of many Parrot Towers. Again it’s either green or white.

A Natural Manzanita Perch for Cockatiels and other similar sized birds (26cm) will attach seamlessly to most Parrot Tower models. It has no fittings so you’ll need to buy perch holders and other accessories separately.

A Sanded Parrot Tower Perch (20cm) helps keep your bird’s beak and nails healthy and trim. The perch holder is sold separately.

Parrot Tower Hardwood Perches for Cockatiels, Lovebirds, Small Conures and Senegals is a natural wood perch with two screws only. Fittings, like perch holders and metal inserts, are sold separately. The length and diameter of these varies depending on how the natural wood is cut.

The slightly longer Hardwood Perch for Amazons, African Greys and other similar sized birds isn’t packaged with fittings either; it only has two screws.



The Hardwood Perch for Large Macaws has two screws and no fittings.

The lengths and diameters of these hardwood perches vary.

 
Parrot Tower Perch Holders

Keep perches in place with a Parrot Tower perch holder. There are Column Spacers with screws that attach onto most sandy perches and Manzanita perches. There are green and white holders available.

The Perch Holder for hardwood perches is only available in white.

 
Parrot Tower Spacers

Column Spacers
help give you different layouts in the Tower. It fits in the space between perches, so the Tower stays new and interesting for your bird. Spacers are white or green.

 
Parrot Tower Caps

There is a Top Cap for hardwood perches. This acrylic cap sits where a hex bolt would usually rest. The cap attaches to the hardwood top perches using perch screws.  
 
Parrot Tower Legs

The Parrot Tower Leg comes in either a white or blue colour. This particular leg is suitable for Parrot Tower Juniors only.
 
Parrot Tower Wheels

A Parrot Tower Wheel can either be green or white. It fits handily into the wheel holders (that we sell separately) so the Tower can be moved, perhaps during cleaning or maintenance. A wheel can be used on the Elevated Tray, Juniors and Low Tray models of Parrot Tower. 

The Wheel Holder comes in a choice of white or green, so it can match a Parrot Tower’s wheels. It slots neatly into Parrot Tower legs and is suitable for all Parrot Tower models.

 

Parrot Tower: All the accessories you need to build up the fun of a Parrot Tower. 

 
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About Montana Cages http://www.northernparrots.com/about-montana-cages-blog442/ http://www.northernparrots.com/about-montana-cages-blog442/#comments Fri, 09 Jun 2017 00:00:00 GMT Northern Parrots http://www.northernparrots.com/about-montana-cages-blog442/

The owners of Montana Cages are from Germany. They realised there wasn’t any Parrot specific products in Europe, but there was in America, where they were working at a Parrot breeding station.
 
They began importing products from the USA, but realised they needed to start making their own, and began manufacturing in 1988.


 
Since then they have become famous across the globe for their high quality, workmanship and attention to detail. All their cages are finished with a special Avilon powder coating that is non-toxic.
  
Montana Open Top Cages
 
 
The Berlin cage has a separate play gym stand, along with the usual feeders, seed catchers and perches.
 
Montana Solid Top Cages

The Terenzo cage is suitable for breeders. When rearing young birds, this low maintenance and hygienic cage is perfect. Plus there are feeder bowls and perches in each of the four compartments that make up the cage.



The very large Los Angeles cage can be used as one or split into two, depending on your needs. It has many good features, including two landing platforms, breeder door and lots of perches and feeders.



Montana: High specification cages for Parrots.

 
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Respecting The Bite http://www.northernparrots.com/respecting-the-bite-blog370/ http://www.northernparrots.com/respecting-the-bite-blog370/#comments Tues, 06 Jun 2017 00:00:00 GMT Barbara http://www.northernparrots.com/respecting-the-bite-blog370/
I am a wuss. I admit it. Oddly enough I think it has worked in my favour when it comes to working with animals. I don’t “take the bite” whether it is from a mosquito, a Parrot or a lion.

In fact I do everything in power to avoid a situation in which I might get bit. With mosquitoes sadly it usually means very little camping for me and when outdoors I am bathed in massive doses of repellent.

With zoo animals such as lions, it usually means training through barriers and offering reinforcers via utensils, and avoiding creating aggressive behaviour. With Parrots……believe it or not I actually take an approach similar to what I do with lions!

Not because I think Parrots pose a particular lethal threat to my person, but because I respect a Parrot as much as I respect a lion. Let me repeat that “I respect a Parrot as much as I respect a lion.” 

 

Respect
To understand this better perhaps I should elaborate on what I mean by “respect”. I interpret this as showing consideration for what an animal is telling me with its body language.

For example if my close proximity to an animal is creating the slightest fear response or hint of aggressive behaviour I recognize it and acknowledge it.

I then do whatever I can, which may include backing away, to put that animal at ease. 
Sometimes humans have an inclination to suggest that whatever activity they are doing is “no big deal” or should not be bothersome to their Parrot and forge ahead, regardless of what their bird’s body language is saying.

There are countless times I have heard someone say “Oh, he doesn’t really mind. Go ahead.” or “He is just being stubborn. Make him step up.” or “It’s just a bluff. He isn’t really aggressive.”  Ouch.

Those are painful words to a positive reinforcement trainers ears. There is an implication in those statements that I should ignore what the bird’s body language is telling me. Even if that body language is saying “No! Stop it. I don’t like what you are doing.”

Why should a Parrot owner care about respecting their bird’s body language? Because it is a critical element in successfully addressing biting behaviour. 

I would surmise that most people do not want to get bit by a parrot. I am certainly one who falls into that category. This is when being a wimp works to my advantage. I am not willing to get too close to a bird until it gives me body language that indicates comfort.

Certainly this is step one in avoiding a bite. My next goal is usually to associate something of value with my presence. This may mean offering food treats from my hand, a spoon or a bowl. It may also include offering toys or enrichment, head scratches or praise. It all depends on what the Parrot shows a preference for.

By pairing a preferred item or experience with my presence, hopefully I will gain some value to the Parrot. If I am successful I usually start to see a Parrot whose body language indicates he is anticipating more “good stuff” coming from me. Woohoo!

At this point not only does the Parrot seem to be engaged, but I am usually also beginning to feel more confident and trusting of the bird. 

The process described above usually happens before a request for the behaviour of “step up” is even considered. This is mainly because I am not comfortable placing my hand in front of a bird with whom I have not had the chance to build up some trust.

(See the article “Training your New Parrot. Where to Begin?” in Good Bird Magazine Vol 2 Issue 4 for more suggestions on interacting with a Parrot for the first time)

Sadly in the companion Parrot community I see so many Parrots that show fear responses or aggressive behaviour towards hands. Because of this when I do bring my hand to a bird for the step up behaviour it is done slowly and carefully.

All the while I am paying close attention to the bird’s body language and looking for a bird who is at ease before proceeding. All these intricacies help me avoid creating a situation in which a Parrot may want to bite. 

 

When Birds Bite
Shoot. I messed up. Either I misread the bird’s body language or I asked for too much, or maybe I simply don’t know what happened just yet. But I got bit. Now what?

This is a question that is often posed to me. “What do you do when the bird bites?” If unfortunately a caregiver does get bit, the first immediate response in my opinion is to detach the bird from the person.

If the bird is holding on, usually a thumb and forefinger can be placed on the top part of the beak to pry the Parrot off of whatever is in their mouth. Other strategies can include redirecting the Parrot’s attention, and simply putting the bird down in the nearest available safe location (perch, cage, couch, table, playstand, etc.)

A bite can be very painful and by all means I do not recommend holding steady while a bird chomps away. This is the erroneous idea that by taking the bite the caregiver will teach the bird that biting has no effect.

In truth there can be other reinforcers that maintain that behaviour over which we have no control. For example grinding away on flesh may provide a stimulating tactile sensation to the bird. The only way to remove that reinforcer is for the bird to not have human flesh in their beak.  

Another question often presented to me is “How do you let the Parrot know what he did was wrong?” I must admit this question makes me cringe a bit.

This is because I see it as a request for approval to use aversives to punish a bird for biting. In reality in most cases aversive punishment would not be the strategy of choice to address biting.

The primary goal would have been to avoid creating the situation in which the Parrot would be inclined to bite in the first place. This may mean teaching the bird what to do instead of what not to do. It may also mean making antecedent changes to facilitate success for the Parrot.

There are many pathways that can lead to a non biting outcome had they been considered. All of which do not involve an unpleasant experience to teach the bird to do something other than bite.

For me if a Parrot bites I do nothing than more than make sure the bird is no longer on me. This gives me time to pause and think about what I could have done differently to avoid the situation. It also forces me to make a mental note of what circumstances created the aggressive response.

It also gives me time to deal with any emotional fall out I may experience from being bit. Sometimes our feelings are hurt when an animal we love responds with aggressive behaviour. 

If I am to focus on building trust with a Parrot, the last thing I want to do is to react in a manner that the bird would find unpleasant. This means I do not try to punish the Parrot by shaking or dropping my hand, yelling “no”, waving a finger in his face, or flicking his beak.

All of these would very likely damage my efforts to build a successful relationship with the Parrot. 

 

Conclusion
At a recent conference I overheard a conversation in which it was whispered “I bet she never gets bit.” In truth I can’t say it never happens, but it is extremely rare.

It is certainly not from a lack of interacting with Parrots. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to meet 100’s of new animals each year.

However with each animal I am careful to read body language and to do my best to build a relationship based on trust. I take advantage of any positive reinforcers the animal likes and use these to help increase my worth to my training subject.

I am happy to report it is not magic, nor does it take any super powers, or “whispering” techniques. Anyone can have a successful bite free relationship with a Parrot when they give their Parrot the same respect they would give a lion.

This article was originally published on Barbara's blog in December 2012.

Get more advice on the causes of biting and how to prevent it in our blogs here




Barbara Heidenreich has been a professional animal trainer since 1990. Her company Barbara’s Force Free Animal Training (www.BarbarasFFAT.com) provides animal training DVDs, books, webinars and workshops. She has been a featured speaker in over twenty countries and has been published in nine languages. Barbara works with the companion animal community and also consults on animal training in zoos.


 
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Celebrate National Conure Day http://www.northernparrots.com/celebrate-national-conure-day-blog279/ http://www.northernparrots.com/celebrate-national-conure-day-blog279/#comments Mon, 05 Jun 2017 00:00:00 GMT Northern Parrots http://www.northernparrots.com/celebrate-national-conure-day-blog279/

It's time to celebrate the wonderful Conure with us on June 15th. See below for all the information you need to know about the day. 
 


Save the date and tell all your friends! Get involved with all our Conure Day celebrations today by using the #ConureDay in all your posts and replies. It's a change of date from last year, so even more people can get involved. 

There will be unmissable offers on Conure toys, food and accessories. 


Save over 20% on Jungle Munchies Conure / African, were £13.99, now £10.99, saving you over 20%. 

You can also save over 20% on the Kaytee Bird Greens and Krunch A Round Kit, was £6.49, now only £5. 

Save over 35% on the Foraging Basket Toy, was £15.99, now £9.99. 

There is over 20% off the Pick N Play Toy, was £12.99 now £9.99. 

Finally save nearly 25% off the Percher, was £16.99, now £12.99. 


All year round though we sell products for both Small and Large Conures.

We have lots of exciting toys for your Conure to play with, including foraging toys, musical toys, foot toys, activity and trick toys and of course chewable toys

At mealtimes, ensure your Conure is tucking into a well balanced diet with our delicious Conure food. We have seed mixes, complete food, treats and breeding and handfeeding food.

 

 

 


At night, your Conure can sleep in one of our spacious cages. We have three kinds of style available, open top, play top and solid top.

Keep your Conure looking and feeling healthy with our great choice of supplements.

Then for everything else you could possibly want for your Small or Large Conure, visit our accessories page. On here there are perches, lights, feeding dishes and lots more.

But how much do you know about Conures? Rosemary Low has written this useful fact sheets on four of the most common Conure species, Nanday Conures, Sun Conures, Patagonian Conures and Green-Cheeked Conures.

These fact sheets explain everything you could wish to know about that particular breed of Conure, including what they eat, their appearance, where they live in the wild and their suitability as pets.


We hope you enjoy celebrating Conure Day with us. 
 





 

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About Good Bird Inc http://www.northernparrots.com/about-good-bird-inc-blog423/ http://www.northernparrots.com/about-good-bird-inc-blog423/#comments Fri, 02 Jun 2017 00:00:00 GMT Northern Parrots http://www.northernparrots.com/about-good-bird-inc-blog423/

Good Bird Inc is the brainchild of professional animal trader Barbara Heidenreich. She started her company to address the growing popularity of positive reinforcement training between animals and owners.

Barbara’s career in the animal industry began in 1982 when she landed her first job working in a veterinary surgery. Eight years later, in 1990, after numerous animal related careers, Barbara began work as an animal trainer and this remains her career to this day.

Since 1990 Barbara has written dozens of magazine articles, recorded a multitude of DVD’s and released her own publication Good Bird Magazine.



Good Bird Inc wants to ensure that every owner has the equipment and knowledge to be kinder and gentler with their bird, can trust their bird, are able to fix any destructive behaviours their bird may be showing and cause the bird the least amount of stress and finally give every owner the tools to have a successful and positive relationship with their feathered friend.

 
Good Bird DVD’s

If you are ever unfortunate enough to have your Parrot stolen or they escapes learn what to do with this DVD, “Get Your Bird Back.” It provides instructions about what to do
if a bird is lost, such as putting up pictures, lists people to get in contact with and showcases a list of common Parrot calls so people recognise them.



Good Bird Inc have released a series of DVD’s covering different aspects of Parrot behaviour and training.

The first DVD is an introduction to training covering reinforcement, tools and much more useful information, perfect if you’re just starting out training. You’ll see Parrots learning new tricks for the first time, and your Parrot can do the same.

The second DVD covers positive reinforcement training. This is essential to use when you are training your Parrot.

The fourth DVD explains how to teach a Parrot to talk. It explains which species of bird talk more than others, what could help  bird to talk and loads more, including an interview with the famous talking Parrot Einstein.

 
Good Bird Magazines

There are back copies of Good Bird Magazine, ideal if you’ve missed an issue and want to complete your collection. Each issue focuses on a topic in depth as well as invaluable information on other avian related topics. It’s a source of information you can trust.

There's the Spring 2008 issue and Summer 2008 issue. 



Good Bird Inc: Fostering the human-animal bond with positive reinforcement. 


 
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About Liberta and Riviera Cages http://www.northernparrots.com/about-liberta-and-riviera-cages-blog434/ http://www.northernparrots.com/about-liberta-and-riviera-cages-blog434/#comments Fri, 26 May 2017 00:00:00 GMT Northern Parrots http://www.northernparrots.com/about-liberta-and-riviera-cages-blog434/

Paul Lawrence founded Liberta in 2006 and since then have grown to become one of the biggest suppliers of Parrot cages in the country.

They produce cages for all size of Parrot, in a range of styles.

Liberta Cages have two editions of cage available, first and second edition. The second edition of cages have been endorsed by The World Parrot Trust, but they all have useful features for you to enjoy, including wheels, high quality fixtures and fittings, seed catchers and more.



It was in 2014 that Liberta’s second edition cages were formally endorsed by The World Parrot Trust. The cages that are endorsed come with a certificate of authenticity so you can be sure they’re genuine.

Second edition cages have stronger locks, thicker bars and frame, a tool kit and instructions so you can quickly assemble the cage, higher quality, non toxic paint finishes, three free Parrot toys and six months membership to The World Parrot Trust.

 
Small Bird Cages

The Lotus Tall Cage is best for smaller birds like Cockatiels and Lovebirds. You can replace the feeders (of which there are four) from outside the cage, plus there is a swing, three perches and a pull out tray. And it’s all finished with a non toxic paint and a secure base.



The Pagoda Cage has a lovely triple arch design. Again best for your smaller feathered friends, it has a pull out tray to collect mess, access to the feeders from the outside, large front door and an easy to clean plastic design.

The Jing Cage has similar features, which include three wooden perches, a large front door that has the option of a smaller door if needed, pull out tray and four feeding bowls, so you can access them from the outside without stressing your Parrot.

The Jintu Cage has a penthouse section at the top, so lots of room for your Parrot. The secure and comfortable cage has three perches, swing, two large doors and four feeding bowls.

The Missouri Cage has two feeding dishes, three perches and a large drop down front door your bird may like to use as a landing platform and perches. Fix a perch across the open top section so your Parrot can perch and survey the world around them.

Stands

For time away from their cage, try the Turret Stand. You can use the castors to move it to wherever your Parrot wants to go. It also comes with a slide out metal tray, seed catchers and space to add lots of hanging toys and food. It’s perfect for birdie acrobats.


 
Open Top Cages

The popular Voyager Cage is ready to buy in an antique or stone colour. The open top section gives your bird plenty of room to move around, play with toys and sleep happily.

Features inside the cage are three wood perches, three swing out feeder doors, slide out tray and rolling castors.

The Stamford 1 Cage is perfect for smaller Parrots, giving them loads of space to climb, perch and play. Simply open the lid and attach toys and materials to it. 

The Cortes Cage has three perches and feeder doors too, along with metal bowls, slide out tray and grille.


Play Top Cages

The Canterbury Cage is in a stunning antique colour. Its fantastic features are two wood perches, three swing out feeders, metal bowls, slide out tray and rolling castors.

The delightful Discovery Cage is ready to buy in an antique colour too. Like all the play top cages, the dedicated gym section has lots of space for your Parrot to play and exercise, useful when space is at a premium, plus wood perches, swing out feeder doors, slide out tray and wheels so you can move it wherever you need to go.

The Cambridge Cage is available in a stone or antique colour. This cage boasts three feeders inside the cage and two on the playtop, two perches inside the cage and one on the playtop, sliding out tray and grilles and rolling castors.


 
Solid Top Cages

The Raleigh Corner Cage makes use of the corners in your home, thanks to the efficient corner design.

The wonderful features of this design include two wood perches, four swing out feeders, rolling wheels, slide out trays and metal castors. Available in a stone or antique colour.

The Endeavour Cage is only available in an antique colour. You can divide it in the middle if you want to house two Parrots or give your single Parrot plenty of room. Plus it has rolling castors, two perches, swig out feeder doors and metal bowls.


Riviera Cages

Riviera Travel Cages are part of the Liberta family. Although designed for when you and your Parrot are on the move, they still have plenty of terrific features, such as a handle for carrying them, feeders to give your bird lots of fresh food and water on their journey and pull out tray to collect the mess they make on the trip.

The Riviera Nice is available in a Ice White colour.



Liberta Cages: The finest and high specification Parrot cages with many endorsed by the international Parrot charity.


 
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