Flight Training Big Birds

Photo by Dave Location: Orlando, FL Flying: Hyacinth "Hymie"

It has been getting easier and easier to ask Hymie to fly and here's why:

  1. When he was younger, he used to fly around his owner's house with a green wing macaw in tow. So he has had experience flying before and enjoyed it enough to want to experience it again.
  2. I've been spending time training him other behaviors which forms a bond with Hymie to make him want to be with me more so there is a longing to get to me when I'm too far away to step up on.
  3. He sees my other birds fly every day (observational learning) which only encourages him to fly more, too.
  4. He's enjoying the challenge of learning and bettering his skills.

Photo by Dave Location: Orlando, FL Flying: Hyacinth "Hymie"

Sometimes now when I ask him to "stick 'em up" he looks at me with this certain look that says, "I'm gonna fly instead!" and he will fly up to me. 

Just in one day of flights from his perch to me and back to the perch (I began rewarding him back on the perch when he steps on to it) he flew as far as 15 feet!

I think because of his previous flight experience he will progress fairly fast in his abilities.

Because of this flight training, I have been able to alternate in how I catch Hymie, whether it's with my arm or my hand. I'm really trying to make sure he gets used to being on my hand whenever I can. And this day he did his flights he actually stepped up twice onto my hand and let me hold his feet and transfer him into the bird room. I've also been getting better at blocking him from going onto my shoulder with my body language and then once he respects it, I will put him to my shoulder as a reward. I want him to learn he only goes to the shoulder if put there by the person he is on. It's a lot safer for everyone, especially with this size bird!

To see Hymie in action check out the video below: 

For more videos of Hymie, check out you tube.

Article by Jamieleigh Womach. She has been working with parrots and toucans since the age of 17. She isn’t homeless but is home less than she prefers to be. She travels the world with her husband, daughter, and a flockful of parrots whom she shares the stage with.

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