Elaine Henley is a Clinical Animal Behaviourist who is going to write regular articles for us about Parrot behaviour.
Here is some more information about Elaine and the work she does.
Can you tell us about yourself?
I am a Clinical Animal Behaviourist who has been working with humans and their pets for well over 20 years. Along with my dogs and my human family, I live with two 2 Grey Parrots & 1 Timneh Parrot.
Milo is a Grey Parrot who has lived with me for 11 years; Roy is a 34-year old rehomed Grey Parrot and Sparky is a 11-year-old rehomed Timneh African Parrot.
I feel privileged to share my home with three of these magnificent creatures, and I am one of very few Clinical Behaviourists to have studied them in the wild. This has given me a much deeper understanding of their behaviour in the domestic context, and I am passionate about educating people in their behaviour and welfare.
I am educated to Post-Graduate Degree level in Companion Animal Behaviour Counselling at the University of Southampton, I attend conferences and seminars worldwide to share ideas and lead on best practice across the industry.
Can you tell us about your work?
I work with the emotional problems that many non-human animals display in captivity. This could be feather picking, to aggression, to PTSD, to anxiety, depression and anorexia.
How did you become involved in animal training?
It went hand in hand with studying animal behaviour, which always fascinated me. I studied Ethology during my first stint at Uni and from there completed a degree level course in Applied Animal Behaviour, before the Post Graduate Diploma in Companion Animal Behaviour Counselling. I then gained my full membership with the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors.
How did you become involved in Parrots?
I love birds and I always have; from my Grandfather’s Budgie to watching them fly outside… Then from there I read about Alex, the Grey Parrot who lived with Dr Pepperberg and the rest is history.
What advice would you give?
Consider if you have enough time to give a parrot before bringing one into your home; if you do not have enough time to give to a young child, or a dog, then you will not have time for a Parrot.
It is better to take a rescue Parrot into your home than a chick; as there are far too many Parrots seeking new homes through no fault of their own.
Birds are meant to fly, it is a defence mechanism, a natural behaviour; allow them this behaviour at home.
I am a Clinical Animal Behaviourist, a huge difference to training.
Although in my behaviour work I may use some training, everything I do is to change emotional response, classical vs operant condition.
Operant conditioning is ineffective for emotional disorders such as aggression, fear, compulsive disorders etc.
What plans do you have for the future?
I should have been in Uganda just now, so I plan to get to Uganda asap….I also plan to go to the Congo to see the Grey Parrots, and Ecuador for the Macaws etc.
I also run a tour company called Shades of Grey Parrots which takes interested people to Uganda to see the Greys and other wildlife.
I also photograph the Parrots that I see in the wild and these can be viewed on my website.
Here are Elaine's contact details
Elaine Henley P.G.Dip CABC
Animal Behaviour Clinic
Full member Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors (APBC)
Registered Clinical Animal Behaviourist (ABTC)
Certified Parrot Behaviour Consultant (IAABC)
Telephone: 01294 833764 or 07789112347
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