Barbara Heidenreich has advice on training a new Parrot.
I have a new addition to my flock of Parrots. Meet Blu Lu, a Blue-throated Macaw. Blu Lu was hatched at the Bird Endowment. The Bird Endowment is dedicated to Blue Throated Macaw conservation. They support conservation efforts in the field by providing nest boxes and sponsoring the work of field researchers who monitor the nest boxes and the tiny wild population that exists.
Because there are so few left in the wild, another way the Bird Endowment is helping preserve Blue Throated Macaws is to maintain a genetically diverse flock of them in captivity. These birds live in large flight cages and are encouraged to behave like Parrots, not pets. If for any reason the wild population should go extinct these birds may be the last hope for potentially replenishing the wild with Blue-throated Macaws.
Breeding is encouraged so that this flock is robust should that day come. However sometimes Parrot parents don’t do their jobs. And unfortunately Blu Lu was a bit neglected by her parents. This meant hand raising her. Because of this her inclination to be around humans would make her a less than ideal candidate for the Bird Endowment flock.
I was approached to see if might like to take Blu Lu under my wing and train her to be a spokes bird for her species. I said “yes” under one condition, Wendy Craig of Wendy’s Parrots would have to finish her hand raising.
That is because besides being a caring, responsible and knowledgeable breeder; Wendy knows how to train with positive reinforcement. This meant from the time she arrived at Wendy’s she was already learning how to step up, step onto scale, recall, etc voluntarily via positive reinforcement.
During that phase of development Parrots are sponges and it means there is an important opportunity to shape behaviours that are important for a Parrot’s life in a home. Check out my article called “A Good Start to a Good Bird” in the Fall 2010 issue of Good Bird Magazine for more about this.
Blu Lu’s name came from famous blues singer Blu Lu Barker. The Bird Endowment has a tradition of naming the birds after famous blues artists. I felt it fitting to follow suit. As a music fan myself, many of the other animals in my home are named after musicians (Waylon, Delbert, Joe Cockertiel)
Blu Lu has just arrived. In the blogs to follow I will update everyone on her training and progress. So far she is just adjusting to her new environment and getting to know new people. She is already great at stepping up and stepping onto a scale thanks to Wendy.
Here is a picture of the night she arrived. (Please excuse all the boxes in the background. I was temporarily storing some items at my house). It was a long day of driving and we arrived after dark. I gave Blu Lu some time to look around and get some treats from inside the travel cage before she came out. As you will see she adjusted rather quickly thanks to her previous training at Wendy’s. More videos and blogs on her progress to come.
Do you have any advice on training a new Parrot?
Copyright Good Bird Inc 2010
This was originally published on Barbara’s blog in 2010.
For more on training and behaviour please click here.