March 2022 • Volume 17
A Parrot's Life Newsletter
We are giving away one FREE spot in our upcoming Parrot Training Academy workshops! Valued at $199! Entries close 5pm (AEST) Friday 1st April Giveaway will be drawn 6pm (AEST) on Friday 1st April, the winner will be picked from a hat by one of the feathered Parrot Life Team members
The winner will receive a FREE spot in one of our upcoming Parrot Training Academy workshops worth $199.
T+Cs: • Only one entry per person. • Winner will need to be able to attend a workshop in Perth or Brisbane in 2022. • Winner will need to start at the appropriate workshop for their skill / knowledge level. • The prize is non-transferable and cannot be redeemed for cash. • Open to Australian Residents only.
*If your tagged friend wishes to enter they need to follow the above steps also.
If you have already purchased a ticket / wish to purchase a ticket to secure your spot you can still enter! If you win you will be refunded the cost of the prize!
Recent LIVE event - 'one person birds'
Did you catch our recent LIVE event with Belinda Young of 'Treat. Play. Love.'?
Lee caught up with Belinda to talk about all things 'One Person Birds' including management, training, body language and more! Belinda included her insights into living with 'One Person Birds' and was able to share with us from both sides of the coin!
You can watch the full replay, plus many of our previous LIVE events on our Youtube channel! Don't forget to subscribe so you don't miss out on future events! Find it here: Parrot Life Youtube
Foraging isn't just about keeping our birds busy or providing mental enrichment. Although these are GREAT reasons to incorporate foraging into our parrots day to day routine!
It is also a wonderful way to get our parrots to engage in physical activity that replicates how they would need to access food in the wild! Providing an excellent outlet for physical energy and building strength, coordination and confidence.
Through the placement of our bird's enrichment items we can simulate behaviours they would need to use in the wild to access food.
As an example in the video below, a party ball stuffed with fresh foods has been secured to a vertical hanging rope so that Maya the Greenwing Macaw needs to use both feet to hang from the rope to access her foraging toy.
In the wild a large portion of a Macaws diet comes from the fruits of palm trees. To access these fruits they need to hang from the fronds or the fruit bunch while picking off the fruit.
Every species of parrot forages differently depending on their primary food source!
Another good example would be to utilise a tray on the floor with a variety of substrates and the opportunity to dig around for ground foraging species such as Galah's and Corellas! What species-specific foraging do you incorporate into your parrot's foraging routine? Tell us in the comments section!
Training Tip! - management
A critical component to successful behaviour change is proper environmental management. Environmental management helps to prevent the bird from practising the behaviour and therefore reduces opportunities for reinforcement.
Environmental management can be considered as 2 primary components:
1 - Changing the environment to make it harder for your parrot to engage in undesirable behaviour. 2 - Increasing opportunities / making it easier for your parrot to engage in desirable behaviour.
An example of this might be for a Cockatiel who likes to chew at the baseboards of the home. Instead of thinking only in terms of what we DON'T want the bird to do, which leads often to punishment-based training, we want to think instead what we WANT them to do instead! An ideal alternative / desirable behaviour would be one that provides the same or similar reinforcement feedback for the animal. So we want to consider what desirable behaviour we would like the bird to engage in instead and then implement our management to make undesirable behaviour harder and desirable behaviour easier. For a Cockatiel who likes to walk on the floor and chew timber, I might decide that an ideal desirable replacement is to play in a foraging tray on the floor that incorporates soft timber for the bird to chew on, as well as other toys and interactive objects. I would then make it harder for my bird to engage in the undesirable behaviour (baseboard chewing) by either removing access to the area temporarily or covering the baseboards with something else (plastic PVC pipe or plexiglass for instance). And easier for them to engage in the desired behaviour by placing the foraging tray in an easy to reach position and encouraging my bird to play there, by adding favoured food items and engaging with my bird when they are playing there.
FUN FACTS - BIRD EDITION!
Did you know that the 'blue' coloured feathers of birds are an example of what is called a 'structural' colour rather than a pigmented colour like their reds and yellows? Inside each cell, stringy keratin molecules separate from water, like oil from vinegar. When the cell dies, the water dries away and is replaced by air, leaving a structure of keratin protein interspersed with air pockets, like a sponge or a box of spaghetti. When white light strikes a blue feather, the keratin pattern causes red and yellow wavelengths to cancel each other out, while blue wavelengths of light reinforce and amplify one another and reflect back to the beholder’s eye. The result: blue, an example of what scientists call a structural colour because it’s generated by light interacting with a feather’s 3-D arrangement. And different shapes and sizes of these air pockets and keratin make different shades of blue.